Stefanie Cope

Staff Writer

Vanessa Rodriguez is a young woman with big plans.

She will soon be helping people in Peru using what she has been learning at school. Rodriguez, who is a 2008 graduate of Columbus Unified High School, is currently a junior at Oklahoma Baptist University with an interdisciplinary major.

She has three areas of emphasis within her major — Spanish, teaching English as a second language and cross-cultural ministry.

Rodriguez will soon be putting these skills to work when she heads out for her newest mission trip. She is planning to head to Peru in May for a mission trip to help teach English as a second language. She has previously been on mission trips to Japan and Haiti and worked as collegiate staff at the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists summer camp, called “Super Summer,” at Webster Conference Center in Salina.

“I’ll mainly be teaching English as a second language,” Rodriguez said. “I’ll be working with Peruvian translators, who have some background in English, to sharpen their Biblical language in English.”

She will be based out of Arequipa, Peru.

Rodriguez said she’ll also be working with schools to tutor children in English in the villages surrounding Arequipa and into the Amazon jungle.

“I love how the mission trips really take me out of my comfort level and set me on edge,” Rodriguez said. “My faith and dependency on Christ really grows.”

She’ll be spending a little over two months in Peru. She leaves May 23 and will be back August 1.

Rodriguez will be hosting a dinner to help raise funds for the trip from 5 to 7 p.m. March 19 at Calvary Baptist Church, 625 East Sycamore in Columbus. Rodriguez and her family will be cooking the Peruvian-style dinner and are inviting the community to attend. While there is no charge for the dinner, donations will be accepted at the door and a love offering will be taken. Rodriguez also has a presentation about what she will be doing in Peru planned for around 6 p.m.