Cameron Van Vleet of Paonia has been called to serve two years in Peru as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Cameron arrived in the country on Nov. 16. He will serve in the capital city of Lima, a metropolitan area of some 10 million people.
LDS missionaries began proselytizing in Peru in 1956. A half-million members of the church are there now in over 700 congregations. (Source: LDS.org)
"Cameron has been excited to be a missionary for the church," said his mother, Tenille. "He studied Spanish in high school and is a bit anxious about the language, but is eager to get going."
Cameron started working in various jobs at age 11 and ran his own lawn care business for the last three years. He earned enough to cover the expenses of his entire mission, and with a surplus to begin his education when he returns.
Van Vleet was senior class president at Paonia High School last year. A 6'5" champion varsity athlete, he placed second in state for the triple jump in the class 2A high school events. He won essay contests for VFW and DMEA and was granted a tour of Washington D.C.
"I am so proud of him, of the man that he is becoming, and so pleased for his spiritual growth," said his mother. "We will travel to Peru in two years to meet the many people he has served and to bring him home."
When Cameron returns in 2018, he intends to enter the FAA academy for a career as one of 18,000 air traffic controllers in the U.S.
Cameron is the eldest child of Matt and Tennille Van Vleet of Paonia.