Leeser heard about the group during orientation week of his first year of dental school, when the president of Detroit Mercy CDA came in to speak to the freshman class. “He talked about the monthly meetings and bible studies that CDA regularly holds. The CDA sounded like a great organization to join and get involved with. He then mentioned that two of the second-year dental students were currently in Honduras on a mission brigade. This really caught my attention because I had always wanted to go on a mission trip,” Leeser said.
He has now gone on four trips to Honduras — two trips with other dental students from Detroit Mercy, and two on his own with some of his friends from Honduras — and is scheduled for more in the future.
Leeser said there are many challenges during the brigade, such as the language barrier.
“On my first trip, I knew no Spanish,” he said. “The Honduran people mainly speak Spanish as their native language. Most of them do not speak any English. I had to have a translator stuck by my side most of the time. After feeling that frustration, I have taken up studying Spanish. On the last brigade, two of my Honduran friends and I flew to a rural region in Honduras. I rarely needed them to translate for me because my Spanish had improved a bit.”
Leeser encourages undergrads to set goals and strive to reach those goals.
“Once you know where you want to go in life, it is a lot easier to get there,” he said. “You just have to work hard along the way.”