As the Spring Semester began to wrap up, the men of the Theta Theta chapter started to plan their Winter Breaks. Many decided to head home and get away from the stresses of school, while others decided to take the opportunity to embark on an adventure.
Brothers Kenneth Williams and Chris Gale journeyed to Hong Kong just before New Years. Two years ago, Kenneth found himself on TV as part of Hong Kong's News Years Eve Spectacular, and he knew taking a brother with him this year would lead to the trip of a lifetime. Kenneth and Chris traveled through street markets, met locals, and looked over the city and bay from atop neighboring mountains. After New Years in Hong Kong, the pair headed to Thailand to partake in white water rafting and experience riding elephants. "One of my favorite memories was watching a monkey punch Kenneth in the face" stated Brother Chris Gale, "that and the bar scene was a ton of fun!"
The brothers made sure to engulf themselves in every aspect of the culture as well. While in Thailand, they visited a famous Buddhist temple at the top of Doi Sutep. Kenneth explained how "talking to the monks and exchanging cultures was definitely the biggest take away." The brothers spent the day at the temple exchanging stories about Thailand and Texas and comparing cultures.
For the last few days of their trip, the brothers headed to the Phi Phi islands where they kayaked and spent nights on the beach. After leaving the island, they landed in their last destination, Bangkok. "We made friends with these two girls from the Netherlands and this crazy Bosnian that had traveled the world" explained Chris. "We took a cooking class with the two girls and learned how to make a bunch of new dishes".
On the other side of the world, brother Andrew Richardson discovered his own sense of adventure. Along with his family, they trekked south to Chile to explore Patagonia as well as Argentina. While in Chile, Andrew spent some time in Torres del Paine National Park where they hiked up Glacier Grey. Days later, while still in the park, they encountered the amazing view at Mirador las Torres. "The hike was awesome" Andrew explained, "but twice as long as initially thought. We ended up missing dinner that night!" No doubt, however, that brother Richardson enjoyed every moment of his trip.
In early January, Brother Sam Spinks made his way to the barrios surrounding El Timal, Nicaragua with CCM ministry for 9 days. While there, the group built two houses start to finish for two separate families. Afternoons were accompanied by walks through the barrios in which they spoke to families about Christianity and invited them to bible studies later in the day. On top of this they led vacation Bible studies for children in the area.
The days in Nicaragua weren't all work though! On a day off, the group went zip-lining and for a tour under the dense jungle canopy. During their walk, they came across a huge coffee plantation hidden in the middle of the jungle. "One of the CCM staff members pointed out a ripe coffee fruit" Sam explained, "It was a shiny, bright red, cherry looking fruit. When I popped it a white coffee bean came out...[and it] tasted exactly just like a cup of coffee."
Brother Spinks continued to talk about a kid named Jackson who would hang out with him while he was working on the houses. "He wanted to constantly hold my hand, which sort of slowed down what I was able to do. After 30 minutes of that, I picked him up onto my shoulders so I could work and get to spend time with him. He and I put side paneling up together for the next hour or so." Sam said that this was one of his favorite memories from the trip and that and that he would do it again in a heartbeat.
Other Brothers took their time to relax. Many traveled to New Mexico and Colorado to hit the slopes while other headed out to the backwoods to hunt. A bowl game in Houston was a great opportunity for brothers to attend an FTA Football game with family as well.
All in all, Theta Theta PIKES enjoyed every minute of Winter Break and are back and ready for another successful semester!