Anthem teen serves on international mission trip with support from the community
Anthem teen serves on international mission trip with support from the community.
By Emma Suttell
Hannah Chazan, a junior at Boulder Creek High School, began her journey to two of the most thought-provoking and life-changing experiences of her life all in one fall afternoon.
After talking with her youth coach and being encouraged to take her next step for a new year of growth and community service, Hannah decided that she would take a trip with her church to Mexico to build houses. That same day, she received a phone call from the mother of one of her best friends, which wasn’t exactly something unusual, except that what she was about to find out definitely was.
“My friend’s mom called me and told me to come over right away, so I went over and she sat me down and asked me how I’d feel about going on a mission trip to Cambodia” says Hannah, “I had just said I’d go to Mexico, and the same day I was asked to go to Cambodia. I took it as a sign almost! I had been doing all of these things, and I just saw it as my next step.”
When she found out that the trip would cost her around $3,500 and that she had only about three months to come up with the funds, Hannah was hesitant to pursue the trip. Something told her that she needed to go, and she began organizing several community fundraisers to help cover the cost.
She recalls a moment that shocked her and left her feeling blessed and grateful for the community’s support: “I remember being at church camp in my small group, and someone who I didn’t know donated the final $500 to my campaign. It was so exciting and it was finally real, I was going to go do this.”
In Mexico, Hannah had the opportunity to conduct a “key ceremony” for the owners of the newly-built house and use her Spanish skills that she learned while a student at BCHS. Knowing the native language gave her the advantage of being able to experience the family’s story first-hand and deeply understand the impact she was making on their lives.
Shortly after returning from Mexico, Hannah boarded several lengthy flights to Cambodia, and began to build even more houses with over 200 people from around the world. “It was such an incredible, amazing thing that we built this house for this deserving family that needed it so badly. It’s a totally different world and you wouldn’t expect to see anything like that, but then you go there and you’re so grateful for the community that you live in and what you’ve been given.”
Not only did Hannah serve overseas, but she has a heart for her Anthem home, where she is also making an impact. Since moving to Anthem about seven years ago, Hannah is confident that her favorite thing about the community is the people. “I think that being able to go anywhere and make conversations with anyone is really cool, because you don’t get that in a lot of other places.”
As president of Interact Club at BCHS, Hannah leads the way in building community service opportunities for other Boulder Creek students. One of her favorite projects involved sponsoring a family for Christmas and collecting gifts for them, then wrapping them during a meeting filled with holiday cheer and Christmas music.
Hannah also volunteers as a youth coach of eighth-grade girls at Christ’s Church of the Valley, as well as a student vocalist for their worship team. She says that her work with the students is fulfilling because she has the opportunity to “see other people’s lives change through what I do. They [the students] are such sweet people who genuinely want the best for each other; it makes leading them in groups so much fun.”
It’s evident that Hannah’s junior year is something that she’ll never forget, as well as something Hannah swears will impact her life for decades.
“If I were to look at myself a year and a half ago and look at myself now, I’d say, ‘That’s impossible!’ I’d be so shocked by all the things I’ve seen and all the things I’ve done.”
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