A mission trip to Honduras during the offseason shaped the way Kyle Guins viewed the world.
The Bunker Hill senior offensive lineman has emerged as a leader for the Bears on the gridiron and is using his faith to bond his teammates together.
Guins and members of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Conover made the trek to El Progreso, Honduras in late July.
The trip, which was Guins’ first of the mission variety, was a year in the making.
“Last year, our church’s youth pastor said they were going on a mission trip,” Guins said. “He opened it up to juniors and seniors. I was a junior then. I wanted to go. The church actually paid for it.”
During the trip, Guins helped young people in the El Progreso community prepare and operate a youth conference for teens.
Guins also passed out invitations to a youth rally and helped clean around the church.
More than the physical, Guins’ experience in Honduras was extremely emotional.
“The people there were so humble,” he said. “They don’t have anything and are some of the nicest, most humble people you will meet. It’s kind of like they know that God is what they need, that’s all they need and they are happy with it.”
The trip caused Guins to miss Bunker Hill’s first official day of football practice on Aug. 1, but he returned to Catawba County two days later.
Bears head football coach Travis Conner was completely aware of the situation.
“I’m not going to hold missing practice against him,” Conner said jokingly.
That mission trip impacted the way Guins viewed all of his football teammates and high school classmates.
“I’ve tried to just be more caring towards them,” he said. “I don’t try to boss around kids and things like that.”
Guins, along with fellow Bunker Hill senior football players Colton Chapman, Devon Harris, Cody Dobbins and Landon Huffman, now lead a devotional after each of the team’s practices.
Players discuss a variety of different topics during the sessions, including making choices and accountability.
“Those devotionals after practice show off Kyle’s leadership,” Conner said. “It’s a neat thing to see kids from all different kinds of backgrounds pull up a chair, pull out their bibles and have a little devotional after practice. That’s pretty special.”
Guins has lettered in three sports in his Bunker Hill athletic career — football, wrestling and track.
In the classroom, Guins holds a 4.52 weighted GPA and was a Junior Marshall.
Guins hopes to attend Davidson College next fall, where he wants to study to be a veterinarian.
“He’s been a first class kid since I moved to Claremont,” Conner said. “He and his family are solid human beings. They get it. They get the big picture. It’s really neat to see a young man that gets it. He knows what life is about.”
As for his future with mission trips, Guins has already made plans in 2014.
“Our church is going to Alaska next year,” he said. “If I don’t have to move into college then, I’m going to do that. I’m actually trying to set up a mission trip through FCA to go to Brazil.”