By Laura Yale, Assistant Youth Leader, Laguna Presbyterian Church
A group of 32 Laguna Beach High School students and seven adult chaperones traveled to the island of Molokai, Hawaii, over spring break on Laguna Presbyterian Church’s 12th annual Molokai mission trip.
Most of the island’s residents are unemployed and receive government aid. The trip combines work projects, outings around the island, and nightly Bible study. Students come home with an understanding of the culture of Molokai, a greater appreciation for the community of Laguna Beach, and newly formed friendships with their peers.
Dane Zarinelli, a junior at LBHS and a first-timer on the trip said, “I never believed doing manual labor could make such a big difference in my life and bring me so close to people I’ve never met.” Junior Alcon of Calvary Chapel, Molokai, who has established a strong bond with the students and leaders over the years, greeted the group at the Molokai airport and was eager to outline this year’s work projects.
Students busy building a wheelchair ramp for a Molokai resident, painting a women’s shelter, renovating the Molokai Baptist Church, and transplanting palm trees for the Molokai Agricultural Society. “It’s incredible how when you help people, they are actually helping you,” said sophomore Duncan Lynde.
Students also enjoyed visiting sandy beaches, talking over coffee at the Molokai Coffee Plantation, skateboarding at the local skate park and taking time to get to know some of the locals. For many, the most memorable experience was farming in the ancient taro fields and hiking to the beautiful Halawa Valley Falls.