KINGMAN - Serina Flores has never been one to follow the crowd.
Three years ago at age 16, the inquisitive teen began researching religions - everything from Mormonism to Hinduism to Buddhism to Catholicism - in a quest to bring more purpose to her life.
Her spiritual journey will take her to China this summer, where she will spend three months teaching English and Christianity in the city of Hunchun, which is near the borders of North Korea and Russia.
Flores, a 2009 graduate of Kingman High School, is going with several other classmates from Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo. She will be there for three months doing equestrian therapy with special needs children during the day and teaching English to adults at night.
"In China, if you don't know English, you're considered practically illiterate because of the business community," Flores said.
Flores said she's dreamed for years of going to Africa to do mission work but is excited to learn about the culture of China first-hand. She said she has the Chinese vocabulary of a second-grader but is still learning and will have her own apartment while overseas.
"I don't consider college being on my own, so the first time will be out of the country, which just sort of blows my mind," she said.
Flores said she isn't so much concerned for her safety as she is for the safety of those she will be teaching about Christianity, which is restricted in China.
Flores said the worst that could happen to her would to be thrown out of the country. She was approved for a tourist visa last month.
Flores said she is most excited by the opportunity to teach Christianity. She was drawn to it after attending services at Kingman Christian Church. She said the youth director there, Brian VanDyke, allowed the kids to challenge him on points rather than just expecting them to believe everything he said.
"He pushed his youth to ask questions and investigate things out for themselves," she said.
Flores, who was born in Lake Havasu City but raised here, also credits the Kingman community, including friends, family and teachers, for encouraging her on her path.
"The quote that it takes a community to raise a child is so true," she said.
Flores is the daughter of David and Jennie Wynn. The teen says her parents have expressed reservations about her trip, but "my parents know their daughter pretty well. Once I put my mind to something, I'm going to do it."
Flores has raised $3,000 of the trip's $5,000 cost. To contribute to Flores, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.