Community helps fund trip to Chile

Courtesy Photo
Carrollton sophomore Natalia Gutierrez and Lockhart sophomore Mark Tate (right) ventured to Chile over this past spring break and reconnected with members of a Chilean church, visiting the homes of members they worked with on a previous trip in December 2010.

By Stori Long

The words spring break bring to mind different things for different people. For two Baylor students, this spring break meant a return visit to the earthquake- and tsunami-ravaged areas of Chile.

Carrollton sophomore Natalia Gutierrez and Lockhart sophomore Mark Tate first went to Chile on a mission trip with their church, First Baptist Church of Woodway, over the 2010 Christmas break.

The students’ small group leader Taylor junior Sydney Savage accompanied them on their first trip to Chile.

“I was really able to see their heart for the people and for missions grow,” Savage said.

Not long after returning to school, Gutierrez and Tate resolved to return to Chile over spring break and immediately began searching for ways to make it happen.

“When Mark and I decided to commit to the trip we started calling God Jehovah–jireh, God provides, so that we would remember that the Lord would come through for us and provide,” Gutierrez said.

The two students began raising money, and through their work and the support of their church and friends, they were able to raise enough money to send them back to Chile by spring break. To raise money, the students partnered with Chick-Fil-A, which agreed to donate a percentage of each sale to Tate and Guttierez. Many friends and fellow church members ate at the fast food chain in support of the two.

“I was so humbled by the amount of people who supported us,” Gutierrez said. “Even those friends who didn’t go to church but helped just because they knew it was a great cause.”

Savage said their home group continued to support the students while in Chile by committing to pray for them on a daily basis.

While in Chile, the students worked with churches that were destroyed by the earthquake and tsunami in 2010.

“This trip was a lot about being proactive in using our blessings in order to help our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Tate said.

Accompanying the students on the trip were pastors, architects and engineers who used their skills and professions to work with the various churches to discuss plans and budgets for how each church could get back on its feet.

“This trip was the beginning of a lot of great things,” Tate said. “We were able to get a lot of information from these churches and bring that information to churches in Waco that are willing to partner with a church in Chile and help them reach those goals.”

Gutierrez and Tate reconnected with the church they had worked with on their first trip to Chile and visited many of the church members in their homes.

While Tate and Gutierrez came to serve and to help, they were also encouraged during their time in Chile.

“It was really humbling to see that despite how rough it’s been they are still so joyful and have such a faith in the Lord,” Tate said.

Gutierrez also said the faith of those she encountered in Chile was inspiring and encouraging.

“Regardless of all their difficulties, they remembered that God is faithful,” Gutierrez said. “I had been reading a lot in John 10 and 11 and was reminded that Christ is the good shepherd and he takes care of his flock. And I have no doubt that these churches will be provided for according to the richness of God.”