If you believe in Christianity, you must have heard about or actually experienced the activity called the mission trip: the trip organized by the religious group to spread its ideology. In Asia Pacific International School, the community service club for teaching blind elementary students called “Theia” is currently preparing for the eleven day Christian mission and community service trip to Quezon City, Philippines.
In Philippines, Theia will concentrate on various community services: helping English-teaching camp for children in slum, teaching and socializing with people with disabilities. It is also arranging simple eco-friendly activities: cleaning the environment and local house buildings. Moreover, Theia hopes to evangelize local citizens effectively through worships and chapels. Grace Park, one of the founders of Theia, said, “We will spread Christian beliefs, but our main goal is to serve non-religious people in difficult conditions.” No wonder majority of planned activities—teaching children and cleaning an environment—are non-religious.
Last year, in order to build the special school in Philippines, Theia had raised 1,000,000 won through the program called “Build the Brick.” “Brick” meant that every bit of money you donate will become a part of the brick of the school. Although the money was not big enough to build the school, the non-profit organization built by Koreans called “The House of Joy,” used it meaningfully by serving people with disabilities.
This trip is the sequel of the program, “Build the Brick.” Grace and Sophia—another founder and twin sister of Grace—explained the purpose of the trip, speaking, “Many organizations fundraise and donate money to somewhere. Yet we wanted more; we wanted to provide more direct help than to send money overseas.” Furthermore, they emphasized that such overseas trip and the experience of helping others are truly meaningful and can significantly widen students’ perspective.
The mission trip starts on June 10th, but Theia has already made some progress in preparation. First, it is constantly contacting with the House of Joy in Philippines to enhance the quality of the trip. Also, it recruited two teachers who can serve as guardians. Most importantly, it started fundraising by writing donation requests to parents and teachers of the school and starting selling foods; the goal is to raise 5 million won.
Difficulties and obstacles other than raising money exist, Grace said. To ease the burden and responsibility or individual participant of the trip, Theia has to recruit as many students as it can. “Still, greatest difficulty is to actually make our members to show efforts on this grand project of our club,” said Grace.