This has been (and still is) quite the winter. Here in Iowa, we've been bombarded with snowfall after snowfall, with lots of below zero days to make life even more fun! So it's natural for our thoughts to turn with great yearning to spring and summer. With summer only four months away, I've been focused on our summer mission trip for high school youth. I've always had a passion for youth mission trips because I've seen first-hand how they can make a difference in the lives of young people.
I recall one 17-year-old girl from a very wealthy family who went with us on a mission. The first three days of the trip she was, to put it gently, complaining about everything. But then something happened. She began to really see the people she was serving rather than her own personal discomfort. She began to put herself in their shoes. By the end of the week, two profound things had happened: she became more grateful for all the blessings in her own life and she began to realize her connection and responsibility for those who are most vulnerable in our world.
I am passionate about having more young people experience these profound connections. If you've been thinking of taking your youth on a mission trip, but haven't had the time to do something about it, think of this. Recent studies show that when teens go on a service week which connects the service they do to their faith, they are more likely to continue practicing their faith into young adulthood. That is huge!
It's not as hard as you might think to put together your mission week. At the Center for Ministry Development, we've put together ten steps for making that happen for your parish or Catholic high school.
We are eager to help you along the way. Let us know what your questions or challenges are, and we will try to help you solve them.