Where did you go on Mission Trip this year? We went to General Cepeda in Mexico.
What got you interested in going this mission trip? I was originally interested in the Holy Land mission trip, but felt more called to go with the community at St. Mary's. I also wanted to go on a mission that not only evangelize, but also provided an opportunity to do hands on service.
Had you been on a mission trip before? No, in fact this was also my first time out of the country.
What did you do to prepare for the mission trip? We met every Monday and would go through the logistics of the trip. We also did a lot of spiritual preparation. One of the things we did was to share personal testimonies about our personal relationship with Christ so that we could share these comfortably while on mission. We also picked up weekly sacrifices for the mission trip, rotating between physical, food sacrifice, and adding on extra prayers. Of course, we also had to get everything prepared, such as getting passports, etc. In fact, I didn't receive my passport until a few days before we left, which added a little extra excitement.
Where did you stay? We stayed with three mission families with nine children, in a large Mexican type of home. The motto they had for us was, “Don't anticipate, participate”, which encouraged to be present.
What did you mainly spend your time doing? Our time was split between evangelism and service. For evangelism, we would go door to door inviting local people to a prayer service at the Divine Mercy Chapel. We would also go out to “rancheros”, which are local agricultural communities that raised cacti to make cleaning brushes, and invite them to Mass. For service, we built a sidewalk for the Divine Mercy Chapel, and a bathroom for one of the local homes.
What were some of the highlights of the trip for you? There were many highlights. Experiencing the culture in general was great, like drinking a Coke (made with real sugar) out of a bag, eating authentic tacos, and getting local Mexican made ponchos. The main highlight for me, was the example of the mission families and how they lived the Gospel. One great example was Michael, 9 years old, who spends at least 30 minutes a day in prayer and reading the Bible. To see his relationship with Christ, and how he truly loves and lives for him, really made an impression on me.
What did you learn? What are you taking with you? One of the main things I'm taking away is confirmation in my vocation to marriage and family life. I have been discerning my vocation for the last couple of years, and seeing the example of these families helped confirm for me God's call to live for Him as a husband and father.
How is your life going to change, if at all? My devotion to the Blessed Mother has been strengthened, and will complete my consecration to Mary this week. I'm going to reach out more to the students at SFA, and plan to look for different ways to reach them. My biggest game plan is to use intramural sports to develop existing relationship, as well as other ways that are “nonthreatening” such as BBQ's. I was inspired to do this after seeing the example of Michael Sr., who started a Tae Kwon Do class to reach out to men in the community in order to
Anything else? It was amazing. It wasn't just a mission trip,it was a genuine encounter with Christ, and will definitely be going on another mission trip in the future.