A Whole New World: Senior volunteers globally


Birds squawking and trees bending in the wind remind her of Guatemala. She was surrounded by beautiful landscapes and a unique, distinct culture, where many would opt to relax and take in the view instead of volunteer.

Senior Bailey Reeves decided to work with her church to make a positive change for the past seven summers, performing different tasks to help improve conditions around the world.

“I’ve gone on mission trips … starting at local ministries around Dallas, to San Antonio in seventh grade, overseas in Baja, Mexico in eighth grade, and I’ve spent the last three summers in Guatemala,” Reeves said. “A few pieces of my heart are still in Guatemala.”

Reeves and 15 other students from her church spent two weeks of the summer at House of Hope (HOH) in Zacapa, Guatemala.

“HOH is an incredible ministry that houses around 25 orphans under the care of several house parents, provides school, food and a whole lot of Jesus,” Reeves said. “HOH also ministers to several mountain village churches in Guatemala as well as local villages.”

Reeves and her team performed a variety of tasks, from construction to Vacation Bible School (VBS).

“At HOH alone, I’ve been a part of completing a whole driveway, a porch, several concrete slabs of a road, painting the same church twice, painting kids’ bedrooms, and pouring the base of a fish hatchery, among many more projects,” Reeves said.

Reeves also taught children about her religion through outlets like games and singing.

“I have the joy of talking one-on-one with the kids we meet, playing games with them, sharing Jesus with them, and worshiping God alongside them,” Reeves said. “Developing friendships with those kids, even though for a really short time, has impacted me in huge ways.”

Reeves’ parents are supportive of her decision to travel abroad and wait to hear about her trips.

“When Bailey returns home from a trip, it is amazing to see her eyes light up as she recounts all the relationships that were built while she was in Guatemala,” Bailey’s mother, Lisa Reeves said.

Reeves finds trusting easier in Guatemala, even through a seemingly simple action like hiking up a mountain.

“This privilege is so rare because so many people, namely those who live like I do, in American affluence, will never go to a secluded, immensely poor mountain village in central Guatemala,” Reeves said. “Through treks to those three mountain villages, interaction with the people there, and the overall experience of real-life poverty, God taught me what true trust in Him is: full dependence no matter the circumstances and genuine worship out of any struggle.”