Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

April 29, 2013

Goshen College grads to pedal back from Paraguay

GOSHEN — It started, as many of these things do, as a late-night dorm conversation.

A “pipe dream” Goshen College senior Michael Miller called it.

Opportunity, though, arrived and the three Goshen College seniors seized it: a chance to travel to South America and bicycle back to Indiana, a road trip of more than 10,000 miles.

The seniors, Miller, from Waterloo, Iowa, Levi Smucker, from Lancaster, Pa., and Abe Stucky, of Pittsburgh, Penn. and their fourth friend, Goshen native Matthew Helmuth, currently living in Oregon, decided to take the trip upon graduation Sunday from the college.

The group will travel to Paraguay Wednesday to take a three-week class called “History of Anabaptist Mennonites in South America.”

After the course is done, they will saddle up on their bikes on May 22 and start the 11-month journey back to the United States.

“The two kind of just clicked together,” Miller said. “That we could take this class and then bike the rest of the way back.”

The group has biked together before. Stucky and Smucker biked home to Pennsylvania before their sophomore year at college and along with four other friends they bicycled up to Michigan. The trio also took a trip to Chicago back in February as a warm up to their Latin America expedition.

The group has planned out their trip carefully, allowing more time when they cross the Andes mountain range and even planning two months in Ecuador to do internships and work studies.

Smucker will be doing an internship with an organization called MAP International, a Christian health organization that helps assist those living in poverty around the world, according to the organization’s website.

During that time, Stucky and Miller will be working with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, helping organic farmers in exchange for food and shelter.

The trip, they said, developed out of an urge to learn and travel.

“Just the biggest thing about this trip is just learning,” Smucker said. “If there’s one thing, it’s learning, having an adventure, stepping out of our comfort zones.”

The bicycling element allows them to be more engaged and become immersed with the people and cultures they meet along the way.

“That’s one of the things I really like about bike touring, you’re forced to get to know people,” Miller said. Because you have to get to know your surroundings and even to find a place to sleep for the night, you have to ask around and often times people are really generous.”

Smucker said bike traveling has benefits because of the slow nature of the transportation, it forces the riders to “figuratively stop and smell the roses, by getting to know people,” he said.

The three agree that they want to learn more Spanish and to connect with Christians and Anabaptists along the way and learn more about how Anabaptists in Latin America live.

Anabaptist, according to the men, is the branch of Christianity which the Mennonite denomination is part of.

The three felt like post-graduation is the right time in their lives to tackle an extensive trip like this because of the flexibility they have with finishing school and not yet starting careers.

“Wanting to travel and see the world while we’re young and don’t have any obligations, that’s definitely a part of it,” Stucky said.

Part of the curriculum at Goshen College is a Study Service Term or SST, where students travel abroad for a semester of learning and service projects. None of the three did their SST in a Latin American country. Miller studied in Morocco, Stucky in China and Smucker is currently participating in the new domestic SST program by working with the local Latin residents.

“I’ve learned a lot more about the Latino presence in Goshen, that’s whet my appetite for this trip, to actually be immersed in that sort of culture,” Smucker said.

The graduates have a website, panamericacycle.wordpress.com for those interested in contacting them or just tracking their journey.

Text Only
Local News
  • GN140421 hospital tree replacement 02 A dozen trees on hospital property are set for removal GOSHEN -- A significant tree removal project is in the works for a section of Westwood Road near IU Health Goshen Hospital. Exactly when the trees will be removed, however, has yet to be determined. John Stout, supervisor of forestry operations for t

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140421 easter egg hunt 05 Local churches worship, have fun on Easter holiday GOSHEN Encouraged by bright blue skies and near-perfect temperatures in the low 70’s, families and churches from all across Goshen took to their yards Sunday afternoon to participate in a time-honored tradition: the Easter egg hunt. Included among th

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140420 ysk kalil 01.jpg You Should Know: Anthony Kalil GOSHEN -- Goshen native Anthony Kalil has been awarded a Richard Trucker Career Grant, which includes a $10,000 cash prize. He currently lives in New York. The grant is awarded to three of America's top young opera singers who are selected after a by

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140420 The 39 Steps Taking 'Steps' in Bristol BRISTOL -- The Elkhart Civic Theatre crew is set to present the classic Alfred Hitchcock mystery "The 39 Steps" at The Bristol Opera House. Performances of "The 39 Steps" are planned for two weekends -- this coming Friday and Saturday and May 2 and 3

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 Kokomo Tornado 03 Recent decisions by FEMA have frustrated state and local leaders KOKOMO, Ind. -- Pamela Jackson thought she was lucky to escape harm as a tornado bore down on her neighborhood last November. She huddled in a bathroom with her two disabled sons, critically ill husband and six other family members as the twister ble

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140418 ghs high mileage team 12.jpg Goshen High School Super Mileage team to compete in national competition for third straight year

    GOSHEN -- The Goshen High School Super Mileage team is heading to Houston this week to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon for the third consecutive year. The team, led by engineering technology teacher J.J. Johnson, is taking two cars to the competiti

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • BIZ GN0420 tech talk image Mistakes businesses make with their home page Mistakes businesses make with their home page

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140420 boston marathon 04.jpg Undeterred by last year's bombing, several locals return for Monday's Boston Marathon GOSHEN "Boston Strong" is the moniker that emerged from Boston a year ago, describing the way people dealt with the tragic events that marred the 117th annual running of the Boston Marathon. Three spectators were killed and 264 more people injured w

    April 19, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140419 good friday 04 Local Christians reflect in advance of Easter Sunday GOSHEN - Members of the community gathered at First Presbyterian Church of Goshen to observe Good Friday with a Stations of the Cross tour.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Briefly Elkhart Store opens at mall Creative Life Memories is now open at Concord Mall. The store is owned by Jose Elizalde, a native of Chicago, Goshen College graduate and resident of Elkhart County. CLM specializes in engraving and personalizing small gif

    April 19, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

There has been discussion at West Goshen Elementary School to require mandatory student uniforms in the future. How do you feel about the prospect of mandatory student uniforms in a public school environment?

I think it’s an excellent idea that is way overdue
I think it’s a bad idea and would be restrictive for students and parents.
     View Results
AP Video
Raw: Fire Engulfs Tower Block in China Ocean Drones Making Waves in Research World Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier Raw: Ferry Captain Received Medical Treatment Hundreds Gather for Denver Pot Rally on Easter Transcript Reveals Confusion in Ferry Evacuation Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria