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‘Bears on a Mission’ travel to Mexico

May 02, 2014 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
At a time when thousands of college students headed to locations of sun and sand, one group of University of Pikeville students spent their spring break in a destination where life-changing adventures awaited.

After a 26-hour ride, UPIKE volunteers arrived in Piedra Negras, Mexico, where they spent the week working on a building project and sharing their faith.

Piedra Negras, which translates to “black rock,” is a reference to the coal deposits in the area. Students partnered with the Church of the Nazarene on the “work and witness” project, spending their days removing damaged materials from a pastor’s home that had been destroyed by a fire. The evenings provided time to host vacation bible school for local families and lead the children in sports and crafts.

“Mexico has forever changed the way I will lead my life,” said Emily Owen, a sophomore from Marion, Ky. “I can’t wait to visit again.”

This was the third international mission trip for “Bears on a Mission,” a name given to the group by a pastor during a domestic mission trip to Detroit, Mich. UPIKE students have also traveled to Port Au Prince, Haiti, twice, and plans to return in 2015.

“We are a group that has the desire to help others,” said Collan McCoy, a sophomore from Inez. “You don’t go on a mission trip to change the world. You go on a mission trip to be changed.”

McCoy was one of 19 mission team members that included UPIKE undergraduate, graduate and high school students accompanied by with Rob Musick, campus chaplain.

“Although much work was done, the key to all UPIKE mission trips are relationships,” said Musick. “In relationships lives are changed and through relationships God is known in deeper ways.”

Members of the University of Pikeville Mexico mission team include Campus Chaplain Rob Musick, students Alex Allen and Alexis Kestner of Paintsville; Jake Bartley of Grundy, Va.; PJ Belcher and Gabriel Penn of Lexington; Lexi Bell of Elkhorn City; Hanna Coleman and Sherre May of Belfry; Maleena Little and Alannah Little of Pikeville; Abby Gibson of Russell; Kaycee Gibson of Horse Cave; Brooke Hall of Betsy Layne; Sierra Kiser of Jenkins; Collan McCoy of Inez; Emily Owen of Marion; Cierra Riddle of Virgie; and Harold Taul of Owingsville.

Caption: Eighteen students from the University of Pikeville joined Campus Chaplain Rob Musick on a mission trip to Piedra Negras, Mexico, in March to work and worship. The team assisted in repairing a pastor’s home and held vacation bible school for the local children.

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