A helping hand

Sophomore spends the summer helping in Guatemalan communities


photo courtesy of Riley Hurt

Smiling through the brutal heat sophomore Riley Hurts stops to take a picture with her friends Lilli Rooks and Mali Rose. The three girls spent their summer helping rebuild homes in Guatemala. “It was a really fun way to spend a part of my summer,” Hurts said. “I want to go back or at least do something similar in the future.”

Kaden Roth, Staff Reporter

Vacationing by crystal clear water or snow-covered mountains would be a stereotypical idea of how summers are supposed to be spent, but for one student, that was not the case.

Sophomore Riley Hurt may have been by the ocean, but she was not sitting on the beach relaxing and soaking up the sun. Her time was instead spent helping citizens of Guatemala in several different ways. Hurt went on a mission trip over the summer with her church, City Light Church, to the small town of Panajachel, Guatemala. 

Hurt had gone into the mission trip with the idea that she would help a small group of people and then go back to her life. Hurt was not expecting the ways in which the trip would affect her and her view on how she lives. 

Hurt wasn’t the only Millard West student making a difference in Guatemala, sophomore Lilli Rooks was also a part of the trip. Together Hurt and Rooks took on the needs of less fortunate people.

“I feel this trip was way easier to have Riley around,” sophomore Rooks said. “We have a strong connection through both our friendship and faith.”

One of Hurt’s main goals in Guatemala was to help in one of their orphanages where they served meals and played with the children. The group also helped in a hospital where they worked with some of the patients. While in the hospital the group also helped clean the hospital and surrounding lakes and rivers.

“These kids don’t have a lot so any help down in Guatemala is much appreciated,”  Hurt said. “I would want to go back and help the kids again because you then look back and see how thankful you are for everything you have.”

The church’s main focus was to reach out to the community and help as many people as they could. Along with rebuilding houses, the church group also helped teach children at a local school about math and English. The group shared their beliefs with the children in hopes of sharing their religion.

Although the main point of the mission trip was to help people in need the group was also able sightseeing. Hurt got a better understanding of how people live in different countries that don’t always have the same luxuries that we are used too.

This was an eyeopening experience for Hurt and the other members of her mission trip group. After coming back to the states the group started to see things like basic needs that people were able to easily fulfill. During their time in Guatemala, they learned good life lessons that can be carry throughout their lives.

Although it involved hard work and manual labor Hurt wouldn’t trade that experience for anything. It helped her grow as a person and become stronger in her faith.