Mexico Mission Trip
"I had looked forward to the Grade 9 Mexico trip for as long as I could remember. The graduating seniors would travel to Tijuana, Mexico to enjoy beaches, Pina Coladas, tanning, and some casual house building. Or so I thought. Pina Coladas were traded out for bottled waters, beaches were traded out for a worksite, and the only tan lines I got were from my farmer's tan. Though surprisingly, the week of grueling construction work trumped all vacations I’ve ever been on. When we pulled up to the worksite on day one, my heart sank to my stomach. Four people walked out of a house smaller than my bedroom, with the two children hiding behind their parents' legs. Seeing this impoverished environment, I expected the family to bear worn and hopeless expressions. Yet, they wore the brightest smiles I’d ever seen. From this moment on, I swore to not only change the life of this much deserving family but also my own. I promised myself to start truly recognizing everything I have to be grateful for and to take full advantage of the edge life has given me so that I can later help others in need. Over the next few days, our team worked from morning till evening, pouring concrete and nailing planks. Building a house from scratch was definitely harder than I imagined. I fell asleep each night exhausted, and woke up sore out of my mind. So it was no surprise when some of my classmates became unmotivated and slacked off during the day. While nobody among us was in a leadership role, I took it upon myself to inspire and build confidence within my classmates. By continuously expressing gratitude, reminding both myself and others to be fully present, and fueling deep conversations about our goals and purpose for this journey, I began to see a positive change in attitudes and the overall atmosphere. Slowly but surely, the piles of wood began to actually resemble a house. As we had extra funds left at the end of the week, the team was able to go grocery shopping and stock the family up on necessities. I volunteered to be an accountant of sorts and kept track of expenditures on this shopping trip. On the last day, when we pushed up the four walls, my heart swelled with a sense of purpose. I knew that although this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, I didn’t want it to be. This journey sparked my desperate need to help others, and I promised to embark on more adventures like this. When we handed the house keys to the parents, the father held his wife and children together as he burst out in tears. He repeatedly thanked us for providing a safe home in which his children can happily grow. So, although this experience doesn’t include any award or distinction, I consider it a great achievement to have had the opportunity to change the life of this family." - Elaine Chen, GCA Alumna, Class of 2018
ReV and SEED Week
Both Elementary and Junior High have a designated week to focus on Christ. These weeks include daily chapel, guest pastors from First Alliance Church, and in the past, have included dynamic presentations and teachings from AXIS and from celebrated Canadian musicians, the Hunter Brothers. Every year it is a time to reflect on the teachings in the Bible, but also help our students see that His transformational work can be at work in their lives as well.