CA Returns to Bonacca, Honduras


Anastasia Schober, Writer

 On March 12, Collegedale Academy returned to Bonacca, Honduras for their second mission trip to the island. Last year, students and staff went to Bonacca to assist in rebuilding the Adventist church and K-12 school there which had burned down in 2021. The Bonacca Seventh-day Adventist School is now a partner school of Collegedale Academy, and there are plans for the  institutions to collaborate to enrich the experiences of all students through pen pal letters, classroom exchanges, and trips. This year’s group of CA students worked on adding to Bonacca’s new school building and ran ministry programs like VBS with the Bonacca Church. 

In October of 2021, the Bonacca experienced a fire that wiped out nearly one-third of the buildings. The Adventist school burned down, as well as parts of the Adventist English church. The Adventist community there wanted assistance rebuilding their facilities, and Mr. Djernes and Mr. Peel volunteered the CA team. 

During the day, the students would shovel gravel, paint the outside walls of the church, and mainly build the walls on the second floor of the school. All of the students made friends with the kids and construction workers from the island. They worked every day except on their two vacation days. At the end they were grateful that they accomplished building a few walls and closed out with worship at the church.

During their time on the island, the students of CA were able to meet many new people and experience the culture of the Guanaja community. Local church members kindly provided food for them. When the students had free time they could go to local stores, fishing, play with some of the local kids, or hang out on the patio to enjoy the beautiful scenery around them.

For the first week they had VBS, which Mrs. Alvarez was in charge of.  Alvarez says “I thought it was going to be hard doing a VBS in another country, especially since we didn’t have a craft. We were told that around 200 kids could show up at any given night,” However, God blessed their efforts and the VBS was a success. After a three day program, on the last night they performed a skit on the story of Esther.

After a hard week’s work, the students were able to attend church on Sabbath and participated in the service. Senior Class President Thomas Turk gave a beautiful sermon, and after church was over, everyone went on a hike on the big island, making new friends along the way. Once the group got to their destination (a secluded beach), they enjoyed a couple of games together and a short worship. One boat ride later, and the students were back on Bonacca, participating in evening group activities provided by the church members and faculty. 

To end off their trip, the students of CA took a 15 minute boat ride to a private island called Graham’s Place. They spent one day on the island, lounging about and enjoying the warm sun. During their time on the island, the students were able to engage in multiple activities: beach volleyball, soccer, snorkeling, and even sun tanning.

Junior Karina Cross states that: “It was out of our comfort zone, and we got to grow closer to Christ by being flexible with things and having to trust God with the crazy schedules. We had to have a lot of faith in Him, because we had changes going on constantly.”

Overall, the trip was a huge success. Hard work was put in to ensure that the community of Bonacca would soon have a school again. Traveling home, the students took a small charter plane to San Pedro Sula and soon after, boarded a flight for Atlanta. Picking up souvenirs on the way home, CA students knew that they would always remember their time in the Caribbean.

Since returning from the trip, CA leadership has found ways to continue the relationship

between CA and the church, school and community of Bonacca. Mr. Peel notes, “Bonacca is a blessing to CA and our students will continue to be blessed by the friendships.”

Students enjoy a beautiful sunset

Students fill sandbags at the construction site.

Several students build the concrete walls that will form the walls of the school.