Volunteers Spend Spring Vacation at an Orphanage

June 01, 2009 | Joyce Gallentine

For many students and teachers, the words, "spring vacation" translate to going on a mission trip.

This spring break, Elaina Mathisen, Mid-Columbia Adventist Christian School kindergarten teacher, along with her husband Curt, planned their third trip to the Mount of Olives Orphanage in Uruapan, Mexico, near Ensenada. Along with other group members, they have already completed two homes there for orphans and staff.

This year they went to work on a third home. Tools and some materials were hauled in a trailer. Other needed materials were purchased near Ensenada. The volunteer team installed the metal roof, roughed in electrical and plumbing, hung sheet rock, and installed kitchen cabinets. Walla Walla University students arrived to help as well.

The group also took the orphans to church on Sabbath, then to the beach for a picnic lunch and play. On special evenings they ate supper in their home, did crafts and played with them.

They were also able to provide medical care. Curt Mathisen, who is a dentist, treated more than 110 patients in five days. Art Giebel joined the mission group for the first time this year and performed 21 eye surgeries.

The group plans to return this summer to begin work on a fourth home.