Aaron Steich is a senior at Cedar Park Christian School in Lynnwood. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Aaron Steich is a senior at Cedar Park Christian School in Lynnwood. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

A Lynnwood Christian school student helps orphans in Belize

Aaron Steich, a Cedar Park Christian senior, has done mission work for years at impoverished orphanages.

LYNNWOOD — Each year Aaron Steich, 17, travels with his family on a mission trip to Central America, where he’s worked on projects to help kids who have lost their parents. The high school senior took classes at home until he came to Cedar Park Christian School in Lynnwood as a freshman.

Q: So your family, you go to Belize?

A: Yeah, it started probably 10 years ago. We saved up and we went on a cruise in the Caribbean. We went to the Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Belize — Honduras, I think? Belize was our last stop. So by the time we got there, we were kind of sick of the touristy stuff. We just decided to go out and get a cab, and my dad kind of made a connection with one of the guys there. We drove by an orphanage. It was rundown and sad to see. We made more connections and we’ve been going back ever since. We go at least once a summer. And then if they have a specific project, we go down there sometime in March or something.

Q: What kind of projects have you done?

A: We paint for them, we built them a greenhouse so they can grow their own garden. Kind of do whatever they ask. Replace toilets. Plumbing. Electrical stuff. I’ve put in new toilets, I’ve painted — a lot of times. I painted their whole kitchen. It’s 90 degrees with 95 percent humidity, and I was painting in their kitchen with the stove on, and they were cooking beans and rice. It was really hot. We did a fundraiser and got them all new beds and bed sheets, because their beds were really bad. The most important part of it is spending time with them, and showing them that they’re loved.

Q: Belize is a Spanish-speaking country, correct?

A: No, English. It’s like the only one down there that’s English. They speak Creole, but it’s English.

Q: So there isn’t really a language barrier.

A: Not really at all.

Q: What’s that been like, getting to know people there and to kind of broaden your worldview?

A: It’s been great, it really opens my eyes, makes me realize how blessed we are to live here and get all the opportunities we get. My family’s actually adopted two kids from there (twins who are now 10 years old), from a privately run orphanage. They’re back here. Obviously there’s trauma and stuff involved, but they’re good.

Q: So you’ve got new siblings out of this?

Q: I have two older brothers, and now, a younger brother and a younger sister.

Q: What are some of the circumstances for these kids? Obviously if they’re orphans, they don’t have parents, but have you talked with them about their personal stories?

A: Most of them are quite a bit younger, and the orphanage workers don’t really want you to ask them questions. But if they open up about it, you can talk to them. There’s abuse, poverty — I think poverty is the main factor. We build relationships with the kids, and we can help them out and show them God’s love, and try to make their lives better in a hard time.

A: What do your folks do?

Q: My dad is a pastor and he owns a painting company. He runs a small church and that doesn’t really make it work for us to live there. My mom’s a stay-at-home mom, dealing with all the craziness.

Q: Are you guys in a particular denomination?

A: It’s called a Baptist church, but it’s not very strict or anything.

Q: What was it like for you coming from homeschool to a school like this, where you’re running around?

A: At first I was a little nervous and shy, but everybody here is really welcoming. All the teachers are really great. It’s not a very big school at all, and that kind of helped me to develop friends and get involved.

Q: What classes are you taking this year?

A: Do you want my full class list? Art, English, third period is Bible/apologetics, fourth is trigonometry, fifth is (teacher’s aid), sixth is a history class I didn’t end up taking while I was at home, so I’m making that up right now. Seventh is CWI.

Q: What’s CWI?

A: Like current world issues.

Q: Do you know what you want to do after high school?

A: I’m not sure. I play baseball. I’m looking to pursue that. I’m not sure where it’ll lead me. I’m just kind of waiting to see what God wants me to do, and follow that, see what happens.

Q: What position do you play?

A: Pitcher mainly, or first base.

Q: What’s your out pitch?

A: My best pitch is a curveball.

Q: How hard do you throw?

A: I don’t know, it’s low 80s, upper 70s. I play on a select team, Rival baseball league. Obviously this school’s too small so I drive over to Bothell and play on their baseball team.

Q: Anything else you like to do outside of school?

A: I usually go to the gym, try to get stronger for baseball. Then just hang out with my family. That’s about all there’s time to do.

Q: Have you thought about where you want to go to college?

A: I have two offers from schools in California, Providence Christian College and Simpson University, but I’m not quite sure. I’m kind of looking to stay around here and do community college for two years, and then see where that goes.

Q: Would you hope to go to a Christian college, or would you be open to going to a public college?

A: I’d be open to going anywhere. A Christian college would be a benefit, because I’d stay around what I believe in and what I think is important, but I’m not opposed to going to a public college.

Q: Do you have a favorite book?

A: The Bible, probably.

Q: How about a favorite book of the Bible? Or how about one that speaks to you, or sticks out to you?

A: Last year we kind of went through Romans. But favorite, I don’t really have a favorite.

Q: Do you have a favorite verse?

A: I like the one that says true religion is serving widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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