Our family attended a wedding this weekend - one of my daughter Amy's best friends. Liz and Amy met in kindergarten and over the years our families became good friends too. I coached softball with Liz's dad, helped her mom with the girl scout troop and brought Liz on YNIA trips in high school. At the wedding, Liz and her new husband stopped at each table to say hello and thank people for being there. When they got to our table, Liz gave me a big hug and said, " Those mission trips changed my life you know." Several other friends came over as she was talking and they too had come with me on trips when they were in high school. They told me how the trips had helped them discern what was important in life, what they were good at and what their purpose was and what they were doing today - service, advocacy, support for change. I was in tears of course - those trips for a Youth Minister are so important. We hope young people learn how to put others before themselves, have compassion, get a little angry about injustice and want to do something about injustice. The other thing about Youth Ministers is that we invest in the lives of young people - share our faith, do some crazy things to show them how amazing it is to be Catholic and what God can do in their lives. We don't expect to know what outcomes our ministry, but when we do get a glimpse - we have to know that mission trips are worth the time, money, and hard work - service does change lives!