Bon Dia (“Good Day” in Portugese) everybody! This is Kelsey Schexnayder. I’m a junior at LSU studying Biology. I have always really enjoyed helping people, so I turned to HIA as a means of doing so. I’m so proud and thankful to be a part of this organization, especially now, being in one of the most humbling places in the world, Amatongas. This is only my second mission trip, but it hasn’t taken many missions for me to realize how unbelievably special the people, students, and Brothers of Amatongas are. I have never felt so welcomed and appreciated in any other place. It’s such an unforgettable feeling!

I could go on and on, but let’s get to what we did today. Breakfast was at 8 this morning. Michael had the brilliant idea to eat the fresh baked rolls with fresh picked bananas and peanut butter in the middle. Exactly like an Elvis sandwich and for some reason we were in awe! After we stuffed our faces, we headed over to the local primary school to paint. We spent the morning until lunchtime finishing up the primer on the building. We then went back to the mission to eat lunch with the all of the borders. I sat with a group of awesome boys! I showed them pictures from back home. It’s a good way to break the language barrier. They were in awe of my house and were so interested to see pictures of my family. We ate couve and masa. Couve is a mix between spinach and mustard greens, at least that’s what Brother Chris says. And masa is similar to our grits, except much thicker. The boys (and Michael) pick it up and eat it with their hands.

After lunch, we relaxed for a little while, and then headed back to the primary school for more painting. We worked from about 1-5pm and managed to start the main coat of paint on the school. All of our hard work for the day was definitely worth it when all the children from the village and the school gathered around us and sang the songs that they welcomed us with on the very first day. Words can’t even describe how amazing seeing this is. The children here are some of the happiest children I’ve ever seen, even when they have absolutely nothing. To them, they have everything. I’m so humbled.

We headed back to the mission to relax before dinner. Michael made us another batch of fresh guacamole made from avocados he, Chip, and Blake picked at the mission. And Brother Angel taught us a new food revelation---cheddar cheese and honey. Try it at home! It’s pretty freaking good! After “snacking”, we went to dinner and ate red beans and rice. Sorry Dadeo, but these beat yours by a long shot!Needless to say, we’re eating pretty well on this trip…that’s a severe understatement. After dinner, we had a “washing clothes party”. (Yes mom, I washed my own clothes!) Then Cristina, Anthony, Michael, and I went to teach some of the boys some English, while Knox, Randy, Chip, Blake, and Trey made a fire. Teaching the boys was by far the most rewarding part of the trip so far. It was shocking to see how willing and anxious these boys were to learn. It’s not every day you see that in the United States. Wow, it made me realize how much we take our education for granted at home. And as always, they were so thankful for us being there, and you can tell that they really and truly look up to us.

I’m heading to bed now. Love you Mom, Dad, and BenJ


p.s. Thank you to everyone who donated to Michael’s KickStarter Project! Thanks to your donations, Michael has caught some awesome footage to put together a great documentary for ya’ll!

Bon Noiche!



Lucy A. Rivero
05/29/2012 9:25am

Thank you all for your daily posting . . . you are a great bunch of young people doing a wonderful job!!! What an experience!!!
Hug & kisses for Cristina and Michael . . .

Rhonda Schwartzenburg
05/29/2012 4:39pm

I love reading all of the daily posts! Thanks to all who have written so far. You all seem to have been touched by the Spirit. So thankful Trey has been able to experience this with all of you! Many thanks to the brothers for taking such good care of all of you! Our prayers are with all!

Arnold Schexnayder
06/06/2012 6:50am

What a great experience! Be safe on your journey. Keep up the good works. Our prayers are with you. You are blessed.
love ya

10/08/2013 2:56pm

Just reading up on some of this lately, was interesting.


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