Justin Hajicek, a senior at Rock Bridge High School, has been on missions to Paso Real, Honduras, four times in the last seven years. He hopes to become a doctor or other medical professional and is considering becoming a medical missionary.
On his trips to Paso Real, he helped dig and build latrines, worked with kids in schools and conducted home visits. “The combination of my limited Spanish skills and lots of hand gesturing allowed us to communicate well enough to build latrines. What stood out to me was how grateful and hard-working the Hondurans were,” Justin wrote in his essay. “They used a small concrete supply, two shovels, and a machete to make enough mud bricks to build the latrine. However, while I was helping the community of Paso Real, the people of Paso Real were also helping me. Their compassion and humility is something that I try to model myself after.”
In addition to being class president, captain of the basketball team and a Sunday worship leader at his church, Justin puts a high priority on fun. “My personal goals include getting married and raising a family. I hope to be a good father who is fun and sets an example for my kids on what it means to take opportunities to serve others. I hope to continue to be active — playing basketball and golf and spending time outdoors.”
Justin noted the universality of play among children: “The thing that impacted me most about working in the schools was that even though we lived 3,000 miles away and spoke different languages, we could still connect with the kids and have fun doing the same activities. No matter how different we are, we enjoyed playing games and doing things we both had in common.”
Justin and his colleagues visited in every home in Paso Real to talk with the people, to share favorite Bible verses and to get to know one another. “They told us about their struggles, how they spend their time, but the thing I thought was the most impactful was the emphasis they had on family. I really admired their faith and their commitment to each other.”
Justin plans to attend Harding University in the fall to study biomedical engineering. He is the son of Brian and Karen Hajicek of Columbia.