Students bake to fund trip to Syria

Baylor students Rachel West, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., (pictured) and Maggie Geiler, a junior from Friendswood, open their house to the public in efforts to raise money to fund a summer mission trip to Syria. Photo credit: Charlene Lee

On Tuesday night, two Baylor students served stacks of pancakes in exchange for stacks of cash. While many students are excited for beach trips and a lack of responsibility, Friendswood junior Maggie Geiler and Nashville, Tenn., sophomore Rachel West will spend their summer in Lesvos, Greece, serving Syrian refugees. Tuesday night’s personal fundraiser served to garner funds for their mission trip.

The trip will take place through Antioch Community Church’s “Engage the Crisis” mission, a project built to assist the Syrian refugee crisis overseas. Missionaries will travel not only to Lesvos, also spelled “Lesbos,” but also to other countries across Europe.

The mission has now sent two groups to Lesvos and to other European locations to assist refugees. The original trip took place last semester, when three women involved at Antioch explored the unique needs of the people in Lesvos. Antioch sent a group of students over Christmas break to Lesvos to serve in ways both practical and spiritual.

The fundraising event, held at Geiler’s house on Seventh Street, took place from 6-9 p.m. West said she originally anticipated around 200 people to show up to the event, praying to raise the full $6,000 needed to fund both their trips. In the end, around 60 people showed up to the event, eating pancakes and spending time talking about the trip.

“We expected more to come,” said West of the turnout. “But honestly, anything helps the cause.”

West said they were willing to make unlimited pancakes for anyone who showed up. The team bought multiple boxes of pancake mix and said they had a runner ready to go to the store if need be.

The team prepared pancakes for friends and supporters all night, accepting donations as they came. Geiler said they got the idea from an event she had held last year while fundraising for a different trip. While West is attending “Greeks to Greece,” a special trip primarily for students in sororities and fraternities, Geiler will be stationed in Lesvos all summer as an intern.

“On the island of Lesvos, there are about 20 interns,” Geiler said. “Every base has interns, but Lesvos is the hub.”

Geiler said all the teams will go through Lesvos. As an intern, she will host short-term teams coming through and will be stationed in Lesvos from May to August. She said this experience will give her insight into what a career in missions would look like.

“It’s such a defining summer, and I could be doing PR internships for my major,” Geiler said, “but I can’t say no, because this is what I want to be doing.”