APRIL 21 - MAY 6
ABOUT THE MISSION TRIP
We have been blessed with immeasurable talent and treasure and each day we work hard to build the infrastructure necessary to improve the communities we serve. There are, however, those around the world who struggle every day for the basic necessities we take for granted – clean water, healthcare, education, communication – the same essentials that we work to deliver every day on every project we build. It is ingrained in Shook’s culture to assist those in need, to have the courage to step outside our comfort zone and do good for others. Our Mission Trips send a group of Shook employees to a part of the globe where people truly lack the infrastructure that we can help provide. Not only do they assist a struggling community, but they also instill a global perspective in our employees, continuing to embolden our core values of Passion, Balance, Courage, Opportunity, Responsibility, and Fun.
This is our second company Mission Trip in an effort to make our Mission global. In 2019, we sent a team to Timusi, Bolivia to improve their water supply system and provide safe drinking water to the remote mountain village.
Shook is partnering with SAM (Strategic Action Missions) Ministries Mozambique, a Canadian-based non-profit organization based in Edmonton Alberta. SAM owns and operates a mission located in the bush near the town of Mucombeze, Mozambique. Their vision is to empower people by addressing their spiritual, educational, emotional, and physical needs, resulting in whole people who are equipped to reach and teach their own people.
One way SAM helps with the development of children is through their Mucombeze-Interior Primary School. This K-7 school serves over 400 children in rural Mozambique. Children range in age from four to upper teens. Most grade 7 students are in their lower teens, but it is not unusual for students to miss a year or two, or to get a late start at school, meaning some grade 7 students are in their upper teens.
Our Shook team is going to support SAM Ministries and their work at the Mucombeze-Interior Primary School by building a new on-campus teacher dormitory to house additional staff that were added when the school recently expanded from K-5 to K-7. This two-room dormitory will be of masonry construction with a cementitious parge coat, wood timber roof support, and metal roofing.
Due to the extremely rural location of SAM Ministries, travel will be multifaceted. Our team will fly into Johannesburg South Africa and will stay the night in a hotel near the airport. The following morning, they will fly from Johannesburg to Kruger Mpumalanga airport. From Kruger, our team will be flying to the Beira airport in Mozambique on two airplanes: a Quest Kodiak 100 which is a ten-seat aircraft, and a Cessna 310-R which has six seats. Our crew will then fly directly to the landing strip on-site at SAM Ministries. While at SAM Ministries, our team will be staying in a combination of a four bedroom house, single room bungalows, and safari tents. There is a borehole (well) on-site to provide clean drinking water to our team.
April 21 - Depart for Mozambique
April 23 - Arrive in Mozambique
April 25 - Begin work on the teacher apartments
April 30 - Wrap up all work on the apartments
May 6 - Arrive Back in the United States
Our team has been home for just over a week. As we hear their stories and reflect on the trip, we would be remiss not to acknowledge our partners for their involvement and the ultimate success of our Mission in Mozambique. On behalf of our entire crew and all of us at Shook, thank you to SAM Ministries (Dwight & Lynn Lagore and our Missionary friends), In His Name Ministries (Dr. Roger & Katy Pacholka), and Mercy Air for introducing us to this community, being phenomenal hosts, loving the Mozambican people, and dedicating your lives to making a difference. You are true inspirations, and it was a pleasure to serve together.
Additionally, we want to thank ManaVision, our video production team, for their dedication to capturing as much content as possible. They journeyed with our crew and experienced the reality of life in Mucombeze with them. Stay tuned for a documentary on the trip coming this fall!
Lastly, we want to thank the families of our team for allowing them to go on this trip and spend extensive time away from home. We appreciate your great sacrifice!
After a long journey, our team is officially stateside and reconnecting with their families. We know they come home changed people; the experiences they had and bonds formed with the community of Mozambique will stick with them forever. We cannot wait to welcome them back on Monday, learn from their experiences, and hear their stories. Welcome home!
On Sunday, our crew began saying their goodbyes to the missionaries and others in the community. They visited a new church where they made their debut as a choir, singing a bit of Amazing Grace. That evening, the team came together for a braai (similar to a barbeque) in celebration of a successful mission! It was a wonderful way to end the trip, celebrating all they accomplished and the relationships they built throughout the week. We cannot wait to celebrate with them again once they arrive back home!
On Monday, our team departed Mucombeze. Though it was a bittersweet goodbye, they are ready to be back stateside and see their families. After sharing in a farewell dance and send-off from the mission staff, the team boarded their respective 8-seater and 4-seater planes and began their journey back home. The team made it to Kruger safely where they will spend a few days exploring South Africa and reflecting on the mission trip as a group before their long journey home and arrival on U.S. soil on Friday, May 6.
After many hours in the heat and sprinting toward the finish line, our team successfully moved both buildings to structural completion on Friday. They poured an outstanding level of effort into the dormitories over the past week and completed so much more than what was originally planned when they left – an entire second project! Their teamwork, heart and passion for the community of Mucombeze is truly special and we commend their great efforts. Moving forward, the ASAM workers will finish the painting and get the dorms prepped for the teachers. At the end of the final day of work, the Shook and ASAM crews thanked each other and celebrated their great feat. Starting as two separate crews from different areas of the world, they shared their talents and trades with one another, quickly became partners, and were one crew by the end of the week. MISSION COMPLETE!
With the work complete, the team enjoyed a well-deserved day off on Saturday. After finding some goodies to take home, the team hiked up to Hyena Rock to catch the views and the sunset. That evening, they went back to the airstrip to stargaze from the Southern Hemisphere, catching the Big Dipper, Ursa Major and Southern Cross.
Our crew has made incredible construction progress on the teacher dormitories, with both buildings nearing completion! After finishing the first building’s roof, our team moved on to the second building while the ASAM crew finished parge coating the walls. All the blockwork was completed at the second building addition, and they tied-in / toothed-in the new block into the existing structure. Additionally, ASAM carpenters were able to get all the windows, door and door frames installed. Together, the two teams came up with a plan for the roof wood framing. Different brick/block sizes and wood framing sizes were needed than the original/existing structure as a result of the Mozambican market. In Mucombeze, you cannot simply buy the same product from the store as we are accustomed to in America; you must build with the materials available. One more day of work and our crew will likely be complete with their mission!
While our team has spent the majority of their days building the dormitories, no day has been complete without playing with the kids. They have enjoyed exchanging words in English, Portuguese and Shona (one of the most popular local languages); playing homemade games with rocks and toys; sharing a game of hockey with the Mucombeze hockey team; dancing and singing; gifting the children balloons, which were a big hit; teaching them to play American football; and of course, competing in a few more games of soccer.
Over the past few days, our team members paired off in twos and were able to experience the local culture through a tour from SAM Ministries. While they had comparable experiences, each pair had a slightly unique journey. Highlights included:
Between all their hard work, the team has thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the school children. There is an incredible number of students, and they are all so excited that our team is there to visit and build the dorms. They gifted them soccer balls and goal gloves, shared a few intense soccer games, and unveiled some gymnastics tricks to the crowd of students. Our team shared that they feel a bit like celebrities in the village with the children flocking around them. We know they’ll be celebrities back home too, as we all seek to hear their stories and share in their experience.
While two members from our team shadowed SAM Ministries, the rest of the team returned to the site to continue block masonry work and set door frames. They were far enough ahead of their original schedule that the ASAM masonry crew was able to start building the room extension on another teacher dormitory! Our team was not expecting to touch the other dorm, much less assist in getting four rows of CMU block installed on their second day of work. To wrap up the day, the ASAM carpenters helped our team install the roof framing. Ultimately, it was a solid second day of work and the dorm is taking shape!
While the majority of our crew continued construction on the dormitories, Jeff and John spent the day seeing the full range of work that SAM Ministries extends. They began the day in prayer and exchanged personal stories with the 40+ staff that work at SAM Ministries. A guide toured them around the SAM property where they saw the vastness of their agricultural work. SAM grows numerous types of produce, including pineapple, mangos, eucalyptus, tangerines, oranges, litchi, etc. Jeff and John were also able to see the livestock operations where they raise cows and sheep as well as the mechanic shop and woodshop.
Moving on to the clinic, they witnessed our partners care for a young girl who nearly lost her leg due to a bone infection. Shortly after, they visited an orphan home that SAM built in the community and had the pleasure to meet some of the orphans who lived there.
The day continued with traveling five minutes to the village of Mucombeze to visit the local clinic and meet the doctor. Outside the clinic, men were trying to fix a water well but were not successful. Mucombeze has three wells; unfortunately, this was the last well that was operational. People are now getting their water out of the river. Note: SAM still has a functional well within its gates.
Jeff and John then traveled about a half-hour away to a bigger city where SAM has a dormitory for the high school kids. Mucombeze has no high school, so the kids need a place to stay in that town if they choose to attend. Many new friends were made at the school, as the kids extended a warm welcome to our team members.
To wrap up the afternoon, they spent a few hours with Palo, a SAM staff member, and his family to see how the average person in Mucombeze lives. Together, they shelled peas and peanuts and taught our team how to crush corn. They even sent back a stick of sugar cane for dessert. Of course, our crew had something for them as well – balloons for the kids, which were a huge hit.
Moving forward, Jeff and John will get back to construction and two more from our team will join SAM Ministries for a cultural lesson they will never forget.
While our team is excited to build the teacher dormitory, there are two things that everyone seemed to be looking forward to the most on this trip: playing with the kids and being exposed to the culture. It has been incredible to watch this become a reality for our team and we know it has been a rewarding experience for both our employees and the Mozambican community. The team has shared meals, played soccer, visited the school, and watched the kids prepare a dance for the governor’s visit next week.
On Monday, our crew completed their first day of work building the teacher apartments. They moved quickly and accomplished more than expected, nearly topping out. With the help of our Shook team and a crew from ASAM: Sam Ministries, they anticipate that they will get to parge coat-finish the walls, paint, and possibly even extend another dorm by one room (or at least help the ASAM crew get started) before they leave. What an incredible feat for their first day! We are so proud of them, and yet not surprised by the amount of work they accomplished – this is a rock-solid crew.
The team shared that it has been a very rewarding experience to come together from two different worlds, work together to accomplish the same task, and learn from each other’s methods. This experience and perspective are key to our mission trips and broadening our employees’ worldviews, as we know those could not be replicated back home. We cannot wait for them to share their learnings when they return.
After a full day of work in the blazing heat, only one word came to mind for the crew: exhausted. We send well wishes on their continued progress in the upcoming days and that they can find some much-deserved rest!
On Sunday, our crew had the opportunity to begin meeting the Mozambican community and immersing themselves in their culture by attending the local church. While the building was modest on the outside, it was incredibly powerful on the inside. Filled with dancing and singing, the community was alive and greatly impacted our team.
After church, the crew met John, Roger and Katy at the airstrip to welcome them to SAM Ministries. With the whole team back together, they gathered at the site of the future teacher dormitories. A pre-construction site visit and in-depth pre-construction meeting were held to prepare for the upcoming day’s work.
After an intense few days of travel, our crew made it safely to SAM Ministries Mucombeze! Highlights from the past few days included:
Stay tuned for our next update about meeting the local community and starting work on the teacher apartments!
After nearly two full days of travel, our crew has touched down in Johannesburg, South Africa, where they will be staying for the evening. Tomorrow morning, they will depart for Kruger and begin the most awaited part of their travel: flying on 6-seat or 10-seat aircraft from Kruger to Beira and then directly to the landing strip on-site at SAM Ministries. Our partners, Dr. Roger and Katy Pacholka, met our team at the airport. Having folks who have “been there and done that” for decades serving as our guide is invaluable. In addition, Dr. Pacholka will serve as Shook’s official medical expert on the trip. We are truly grateful for our wonderful partners!
Today’s the day! Our crew of eight brave associates are currently en route to Mozambique, East Africa, to serve on our second Shook Mission Trip! A few members of the team shared insights on what they are most looking forward to and what they hope to experience throughout the next two weeks. We couldn’t be more excited for their journey and are so proud of each of them for their commitment to serve. From all of us at Shook, we are sending them well wishes as they follow their hearts to help others and to complete this mission. NEXT STOP: MOZAMBIQUE!
It’s hard to believe that we are just one week out from the start of our second Shook Mission Trip! Our Global Mission Trip program is the truest reflection of our Mission, Vision and Core Values. We define community broadly, and by extending our service to those in developing nations we create the mutual benefit of better appreciating the impact of the work that we do here at home, while dramatically improving the lives of our fellow citizens in our global community.
We are so thankful to our crew and their families for their sacrifice and dedication to making a difference in our world. They have spent months preparing for this journey and are incredibly excited to embark on this adventure. One week until departure!