When Heartland’s Class of 2018 began their final semester of school, one classmate was joining in the studies from another country.
Alexa Siebert, daughter of Matt and Dani, left Henderson on January 2 for a four month stay in Durango, Mexico. She had been invited there by a missionary family who are friends of the Sieberts. Stepping out of familiarity, Alexa decided to seize the opportunity and travel 1,550 miles south.
The Siebert family had connected with the host couple, Edgar and Amber Morales, ten years ago when they had gone on mission trip to Mexico. Staying in touch with them through the years, the Sieberts had most recently been to Mexico last summer to visit them. This is when Amber had mentioned the idea to Alexa about her coming back. Though Alexa didn’t give it much consideration at first, the idea stuck with her until she decided that she did desire the experience.
Working out the logistics, the school agreed to let Alexa complete her work abroad and join in certain classes through video. She would also be getting a full education through being immersed in a different culture!
In Mexico, Alexa’s days included a mix of schoolwork, helping with the Morales’ children ages 5, 2, and 10 months, learning Spanish, and acclimating to the way life in Durango, Mexico. Along with being Youth With a Mission Leaders in Durango, the host couple has several other avenues to connect with the people there. Edgar runs a sushi restaurant and Amber is a doula, teaches baby classes, and has a baby store. Alexa’s experience as a daycare worker was definitely valuable in coming alongside the busy family!
Alexa also had ample opportunities to connect with people there as well as missionaries who came through the area. She specifically enjoyed getting to know one group who came from Hawaii. Although the language barrier was difficult with the natives, it challenged her to grow in her Spanish speaking skills and independence.
Other adjustments for her included a diet of lots of tortillas, a laid-back culture where time isn’t as regulated, and the poor living conditions of many of the people. “It definitely increased my compassion,” Alexa commented as she reflected on the poverty.
The unique experience is sure to serve Alexa well for her future endeavors as she will attend Wayne State College this fall to major in Early Childhood and minor in Spanish. She also looks forward to returning to Durango someday and reconnecting with the people there.
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