By Chris Winters Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — You could say Tyler Belan is a travel junkie with a mission.
A 2008 graduate of Marysville-Pilchuck High School and a recent graduate of Central Washington University, Belan went on his first overseas church mission trip at age 15 to Costa Rica. Thenn for the next three summers, he went to Pearlington, Miss., to work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, back to Costa Rica, then to Mexico.
“I just got really addicted to it,” Belan said.
On Jan. 1, Belan, now 23, set off for his next big trip through the nonprofit group Youth With a Mission. He will spend the next few months training in Hawaii, then will head out at the end of March on a 10-week mission to Micronesia.
The Marysville native attends Mountain View Presbyterian Church, and he spent his last few days at home with his family and going to a Silvertips hockey game.
Belan’s role on the trip is mostly missionary: “Sharing the Bible and sharing with people that they are loved,” Belan said.
The mission also will have a medical component, and the expectation is that Belan and his fellow volunteers will assist the doctors on site.
Exactly on which island in the Micronesian archipelago he’ll find himself hasn’t been determined, he said.
But he hasn’t been idle in Hawaii and its 80-degree weather. In addition to intensive training and Bible study, he’s been helping out at a weekly dinner for the homeless in Kona.
Part of Youth With a Mission’s model is that the volunteers on the trip raise their own funds to support their missions. It’s an ongoing process, and Belan said he’s raised about $8,000 so far from family, friends and his church community.
He still needs about $2,000 by mid-February to support his work to the completion.
He’ll return from the trip June 2, but he’s already setting his sights on the future. At Central Washington he majored in public relations, with a minor in nonprofit management, and he hopes to continue working in that vein.
“My hope eventually is to open a nonprofit,” he said.
Chris Winters: firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-374-4165.
Tyler Belan’s mission trip is supported by donations. Money can be contributed online at ywamships.net/give, and can be earmarked to support him directly.