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Mission work takes students to Belize

By: Jon Brines, Special to The Placer Herald
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More than a dozen students from William Jessup University in Rocklin are using their winter break to share the Bible and educate other students living in poverty overseas. “We’re going to learn from them, as they learn from us,” said group leader Alyssa Gluck who’s taking 10 students to a poor village outside of Belmopan, Belize. “The highest level of education that the teachers have in this village is eighth grade. There is one kindergarten class that has 46 students.” Path Light International charity (www.pathlight.org) helped organize the trip to help three impoverished schools. The group asked the Central American teachers what they needed from their American visitors. “The teachers have told us they have no resources for music in the classroom,” Gluck said. “We’re going to give the teachers some real practical ideas on how to integrate music and art into science.” Gluck was a former teacher from Catheryn Gates Elementary in Roseville and now works with her husband Daniel Gluck, the Director of Campus Ministries at William Jessup University for educational mission trips. “We love exposing college students to a different life, culture and poverty. Their lives are really impacted,” Alyssa Gluck said. “I love interacting with other educators in a different county and learn from them.” Junior Joyann Lee is excited about her first mission trip. “I’m going to find out how they experience life,” Lee said. “I want to honor the Lord by doing this.” Senior Jared Votaw is leading nearly half a dozen students to Amsterdam, The Netherlands to volunteer at a youth hostel. “A lot of people, when they travel, are open to ideas and perspectives on life,” Votaw said. “We find out about their lives and where they’ve been and what they are going through. If the opportunity comes up, we tell them what God has done for them.” It’s Votaw’s third trip to Amsterdam, where he influences European backpackers to avoid the draw of drugs and prostitution that has become notoriously legal. “I’ve seen people doing drugs,” Votaw said. “They’ll freak out and scream in their beds and smash their head against the wall.” Votaw said while seeing that is the hard part, it is easy for him to talk about something he cares about. “It’s really a passion of mine to see people heal and see people change and grow for the better,” said Votaw. At school, he concentrates on Pastoral Ministries and Bible Theology with the hope that he can one day be a pastor. “My job is to tell them who Jesus is, what he has done and what he offers them,” he said. ”In turn, if they choose to follow Jesus, He does the work in their heart.” The students will be back for spring semester Jan. 20.