We are extremely excited for our school’s first international Mission Service Trip to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Twelve of our young men will serve the poorest of the poor in rural Jamaica. Some of our projects include refurbishing Mizpah’s Library, revamping the exterior of the primary school, painting the exterior with a mural, beautifying the building and grounds with additional painting and flowers, and providing 1:1 support within the classroom to help students requiring additional support. We will not be taking on these tasks alone though. Twelve boys and campus ministers from St. Xavier High School, Louisville, Kentucky, will be working with us. We will be departing on January 7th and returning on January 14th. We are very grateful to our administrators and the students' parents for their support and encouragement in planning this trip and making it possible.
Please feel free to follow our journey through this blog.
Just over 5 weeks ago, we were serving in Manchester, Jamaica. We made many memories, friends and had plenty of smiles throughout our time there. Check out this video to relive what we did in the one week. Thank you again to everyone who supported our boys who were a part of the school's first international trip.
Leaving Jamaica has been one of the harder things I've had to do in my life. Having to say goodbye twice within 45 minutes made it even harder. But what we left behind makes it all worth it. This whole mission trip process started almost a year ago, and none of us had any idea as to what expect. Now here we are, several days removed from it, and I can say that on behalf of the students and faculty that went, our lives have certainly been changed forever. We were the first group from MC to ever be a part of an international mission trip, and everyone enjoyed it. Everyone grew closer together including the students and faculty. Now looking back on the trip there is nothing I would have changed about it, not even the "no wifi" problem. That actually made the trip all the more enjoyable. I am truly honored to have been a part of this journey and I hope it continues in the future. I know I certainly will be going back.
Saying goodbye to friends is the toughest thing to do even if you met them a couple of days ago. Today we said goodbye to the kids at the boys home and to the boys and girls at the school. It was a very emotional but also a joyful moment. At the school we were able to finish the computer lab and install a new computer. We also finished the library and the mural. Some of us also finished teaching in the classes. Throughout the day we were able to say our final goodbyes to the students and make more memories that would last forever. Towards the end of the the day, there was an assembly. Here the school thanked us for our work and also performed some skits for us. Towards the end of the assembly there were some students that started to cry and this was where most of us started to cry with them. Here I felt a moment of happiness because I knew that our work would impact a community that truly needed it. I was happy today to know that I was able to bring God to these children and to show them happiness and love just as Jesus would. I am blessed to have the opportunity to come on this trip and bond with the Saint X kids and the Jamaican culture and people.
We are experiencing technical difficulties with uploading photos. Check out the Lancers-In-Action Twitter account (@TheMCLancers) for some photos from yesterday's activities at the Mizpah School. We started the painting of the exterior, beginning stages of the mural, painting in the computer/music lab and tutoring in the classrooms.
This morning while we were farming, senior Gavin Wu quoted the commercial for State Farm Insurance and the students from both schools broke out into a laugh. The boys worked extremely hard together to get 1,000 tomatoes planted on the subsistence farm. The boys learned the technique from a local farmer who usually does the farming by himself. Check out the photos below!
Later in the day, we went back to the boys' home and worked in the after school program by assisting with homework. Once homework was finished, it meant it was time to play some “futbol,” which in America is called soccer. Check out some of the photos below from the day!
If you are reading this right now, it must have been a while since you have booked an appointment with Dr. God. This was one of the many important and memorable phrases that Minister Daley shared with the people that attended the service today. The minister was a major part of today's three hour service at a local church. Now, you might be thinking why this service would be that long. What I have learned, as soon as I stepped in the church, was the people in Jamaica have a very high amount of energy and enthusiasm when they are praying, singing, and connecting with the people around them. Minster Daley focused on the prayer by talking about how important is it is for us to adapt to the ever changing world around us.
A quote that has stuck out to me personally, is when the minister said, "Healthy Things Grow." He mentioned four key ways that healthy things can grow. The first way we can grow is through scripture. The scripture is the word of God. We need to interpret it correctly so that we can carry out God's work the way he wanted us to do it. The second thing is prayer. He said we cannot always know what God wants us to do. The best way to talk with God is through prayer. The minister also said we should not pray to God only when we are in trouble. We should constantly be in contact with God. Thirdly, "Healthy Things Grow" through individual worship and witnessing. We should take the time in our day to think about what happened and how we look forward to carrying out God's work for tomorrow. We should also be aware of the world around us, because when it starts to change, it is our job to change with it. This is an important part of God's plan because he could not give us anything we could not handle. Lastly, "Healthy Things Grow" through discipleship and service. It is one thing for us to talk the word of God. It is a completely different thing to carry out the word of God. This is exactly what we did today.
After Mass ended, we went to the "boys home" to carry out that work. At the home they had a soccer field and basketball court. We have supplied the "boys home" with the equipment so they may play on those fields. Some of the equipment includes basketballs, footballs, soccer balls, and glow in the dark wristbands. As soon as we gave the stuff to the boys, their faces lit up with so much excitement and positive energy. The best part about the experience was playing with these boys. They were not afraid to include us in all of the activities, they desperately wanted to play.
The amount of joy on their faces made me come to a realization. The impact we have had on these boys today also had an impact on us. After three hours of playing with them, we went back to the house. I eventually got the chance to talk to the Program Directors, Omar and Nicole. They were proud of the work we did and appreciated the fact the boys could look up to us as role models. Although I have only been here for two days, I appreciate the fact that we got to help them out, and the directors appreciate what we did during the day. These people appreciate the work we are doing. With the work the people around me are doing, we are carrying out the work that Minister Daley had told us and made us focus on. We are successfully and effectively curing the sickness and letting the healthy things that are worthy of our help, grow. It is because of this experience, I feel like I can let the "Healthy Things Grow" in my life and schedule a follow up appointment with Dr. God. He would be very pleased with the work we are doing and the differences we are making during this life-changing service trip.
Bless up to the fact that everyone still tolerates me, despite being late at MC (almost an hour) this morning. Thankfully, going through security and all of the stipulations of airport travel went well for our group. Also, shoutout getting TSA Precheck, huge blessing. In all honesty, the portion of the trip that I'm most excited for is getting our cultural integration so I can experience what it's like to live in Jamaica. As a person who loves to do service, I'm also looking forward to refurbishing the library and working with the orphanage. I don't have any expectations for how the trip is going to go, hopefully well, but I'm just going to let it all happen and immerse myself as fully as I can into the trip, the people and the experience. I'm excited to be able to go on this trip and for being one of the few MC students who is able to be a part of this experience. I have this feeling that the trip will change me in some way, I'm not sure how yet, but I know it will. Not having to go to school is pretty great too. We'll see what happens.
Also, we got a shout out on the plane from the pilot! Thanks American Airlines!
This morning First Friday Mass was held in the chapel. Along with the Mass, Fr. John Mulloy '62 blessed the boys and faculty before the trip. In less than 24 hours the group will be boarding a plane to Jamaica. Please keep the boys in your prayers during their travels.
Brian and Deb Walsh invited us into their home just after Christmas. We gathered as a group so the students and parents could all be together before the big departure. Mary and Michael answered any other questions parents had about the trip.