BY GUILLERMO MORENO
Franciscan University’s Missionary Outreach Program featured an informational night for next summer’s Ecuador Mission and Spanish Immersion Trip on Nov. 13 in the International Lounge. Over 30 students attended the meeting with interest in participating. Rhett Young, director of Missionary Outreach, provided students with a presentation about the new initiative, as well as handouts that gave detailed information about the trip.
The goal of the mission trip is to provide Franciscan students the opportunity to experience a full mission immersion experience and be able to share the faith with those they serve while also having the opportunity to learn Spanish. Students who participate in the trip will be placed in either a hospital, a special needs school or a parish internship site.
Overall, 20 applicants will be selected to partake in the pilot program, which will occur June 24-July 24 2014. The program’s location will be in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Students will stay at the De La Torre Retreat Center, hosted by the De La Torre family, who are native to Ecuador. A devoutly Catholic family, the De La Torres wish to help Catholicism grow in Ecuador. Bringing Franciscan students for missionary work is one way of achieving this goal.
Faculty and staff members will also partake in the mission trip, including Rhett Young, Spanish professor Descalzo de Blas and the Rev. Gregory Plow, TOR.
Participating students will earn six credit hours in Spanish. Students also may have the option of receiving credit for their internship work in Ecuador if they discuss this with their advisors. According to their major, students will gain experience at the various internship sites for future work. Biology majors can work at the hospital, education majors can work in schools, theology majors can work in parishes and so on. The internship involves a total of 150 hours of service.
The weekly schedule for the mission trip will include Spanish classes from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m., followed by internship work from 1:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Monday through Thursday. Friday and Saturday involve full days of internship work from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Sundays will be days of rest and partaking in Ecuadorian culture.
The fee for the new mission is $5,500, which includes roundtrip airfare, six to nine credit hours, insurance, ground transportation and room and board.
Members of the De La Torre family are alumni from Franciscan University and are passionate about putting the Catholic faith into practice. There are no special requirements to participate in the Ecuador program. All that is needed is a simple “yes” to God if students feel that they are being called to serve in this missionary trip.
This opportunity will also allow students to grow in familiarity with the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures. More than that, the new Ecuador mission is an opportunity to serve God and our brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world, especially those who lack resources and the Christian faith.
For more information, contact Rhett Young at the Missionary Outreach Office in room 107 in the JC Williams Center.