Students travel to Honduras, Utah and stay local for spring break missions

Students spend spring break embarking on short-term missions trips.

Anne Marie Larson, Writer

Traditionally, college students spend their vacations balancing work and recreation. Biola adds another option: mission trips. This spring break, several student groups are embarking on short-term mission trips.

“It’s exciting to see where students get a chance to engage,” said Ralonda Dittmar, assistant director of Christian Formation and Ministry.


The Honduras Water Project leaves this Thursday night and returns the Sunday before school starts. They will build a pipeline system to give access to clean water and develop relationships as they share the gospel with the 192 people living in the village of El Potrero in Honduras. Each year the team goes to a different village as it partners with an organization called Diaconia Nacional.

“It doesn’t matter how big or small of a change you make, if I could change one person’s life it would be worth it,” said Kristian Castellanos, a senior biblical studies major and one of the leaders of the trip.

Jocelynne Florian, junior political science major, sees benefits in short-term mission trips as they are focused.

“They’re short term so you have to be direct. You only have this set amount of time so your methods are more concentrated,” Florian said.


California School Project are sending students on trips to high schools in their hometowns as well.

“These trips are a great opportunity for students to have that missional mindset and be intentional in advancing [God’s] kingdom and sharing the truth and love of Jesus Christ to anyone we come alongside,” Dittmar said.


Nathan Smith, freshman business major, and Rachel Loch, senior psychology major, are co-leading a trip to Utah with Evangelical Mormon Interactions. EMI emphasizes relational evangelism by keeping in touch with the people they meet, Loch said.

The Honduras Water Project and EMI have been around for 25 years. On this trip, EMI is speaking to Mormons and building connections so they can have a greater impact each time they return, according to Smith. They are also encouraging existing evangelical churches that are there, as approximately three-quarters of Utah’s population belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Smith said.


A pattern seen between the Honduras Water Project and the EMI mission trip is that they are both partnering with existing organizations.

This relates to next year’s Student Missionary Union president Cody Storm’s vision for SMU: continuity. Storm, who said he supports and loves short-term missions, wants the mission to continue after the teams of students leave.

Through training, SMU prepares students to be blessings rather than burdens, and to do short-term mission trips healthily and well, Storm said. Students become leaders as they are prepared culturally and spiritually to support long-term missionaries. Short-term missions give students an understanding of God’s work globally, according to Storm, and the experience expands their view of God and the church.

“We are not sending groups of people to build homes by themselves,” he said.


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