After finishing the bittersweet 2nd place state finish in the 2009 football season our coaching staff decided to seek out ways to help our soon-to-be senior class bond in preparation for our final season as Blue Springs Wildcat football players. The usual ideas of volunteering at a local soup kitchen, taking the seniors on a summer trip, and forcing bonding time upon us at our Pitt State Summer Camp were all solid choices, but our defensive backs coach and former Wildcat football player, Matt Marble, came up with something that blew those ideas out of the water. Coach Marble wanted to do the unthinkable; Coach Marble wanted to take senior football players out of the country to Lima, Peru on a mission trip.
At first there were fifteen seniors that were invited to go on this exciting and life changing trip, but as time went on and the task of fund raising $1,600 to go on a mission trip became a reality, five of the seniors lost interest. In the end, ten Blue Springs football players had committed to go to Peru to build an orphanage. The team raised money by selling baked goods three times a week at school, putting on a Polynesian Luau for the local Samoan community, and by sending out letters to family, friends and local businesses. By the end of the school year, each of the ten players that had committed to the trip raised the necessary funds to go on the trip along with bringing down toiletries and spare cash to give the orphanage to improve the children’s dentistry and overall health.
When we arrived in Lima, we were all stunned by the devastation that occurred in this country. The buildings were run down and the city seemingly went on forever. It was as though instead of building homes and performing up keeping on them, the Peruvians instead built a building and continued by building more with outward expansion. It was almost too much to fathom for most of us.
After a long bus ride to Chilca, a small town outside of Peru where the orphanage was actually located, we were ready to get to work. Our tasks to build the orphanage included mixing, pouring, and setting the concrete, painting, deconstructing a wooden shed that was in the way, and built a deck to stand on while working. ChildReach Ministries expected us to get done with two rooms during our stay but being football players, we overachieved and successfully completed eight rooms during our stay in Peru.
This mission trip affected me in so many ways that I couldn’t begin to describe them in words. The people that we met in Peru were thankful to have a roof over their head, clothes on their back, and love in their heart. Anything more than these bare necessities were just icing on the cake for them. Where Americans complain if they don’t have the latest Xbox, these kids just wanted a snap bracelet to play with for the next six weeks; and sadly, I’m not kidding. This trip expanded my horizons of what life is truly all about: being happy, loving others, and helping those less fortunate than you. The following is my addition to our blog that we continually updated during our stay in Peru.
“This trip has not only affected the way I think, but also the way I see my priorities. These people have next to nothing, but they are content and in general happy with life. I need to be more like these children and appreciate the little things in life instead of stressing over spilled milk. The quote that sums up this trip for me is, “feed a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can eat for the rest of his life.” That is what we’re doing down here in Peru. The orphanage we are building will provide the tools necessary for children to live successful lives and to keep them off the streets. I love you mom and dad for supporting me with this trip and would like to thank everyone who sponsored me.”
According to street children statistics, approximately 10,000 children die every year after being abandoned in Peru. The children are literally left on the sides of roads to tend to themselves because their mother has no money to raise a child. The purpose of the orphanage that we built during our stay in Peru was to house and tend to impregnated women who have nowhere else to go. When the child is born, they will be placed into the orphanage with other children where they will receive schooling and will acquire skills that will prepare them to live on their own when they turn eighteen years of age. This orphanage will touch hundreds of lives within the first year of use. The mothers’ lives will be changed, the kids’ lives will be changed, and eventually, these children will change someone’s lives due to the skills and knowledge they receive while being sheltered in the orphanage.
After returning to the states after my trip to Peru, I came back with a completely different outlook on life. I now understand the value of having a meal in front of me every day, having a beautiful home that my mother has provided for me, and having loving friends and family that take care of me every day of my life. The trip to Peru instilled the elements of love and compassion indo my life and I never expect these characteristics to leave my heart. I am truly thankful that Mr. Marble gave us the opportunity to go to Peru. This mission trip will forever change me into a person that values the little things in life.