Dear Parents and Teens,
Happy New Year! As 2017 begins, our Youth Ministry Program always looks ahead to begin preparation for our annual mission trips to Harlan, Kentucky. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your consideration to join us this summer and share with you some information about our trip this year.
This year, we will be returning to Harlan, Kentucky. As you may know, Harlan continues to be one of the poorest communities in the United States which is what brought us there so many years ago. We return again this year because we find in many ways it is our home away from home. Our church has formed a wonderful working relationship with the agency COAP (Christian Outreach to Appalachian People). This year’s Summer Mission Trip Program offers two high school and young adult mission trips. This year our trips will only be able to accommodate St. Stephen & St. Elizabeth parishioners and youth ministry teens. Other teens will be placed on a waiting list.
This year’s cost to you is $270, which includes our COAP fees, lodging, transportation, food, theme t-shirt, and job site materials.
When considering the opportunity to participate in this experience, there are some expectations I wish to share with you. Although this will most likely be the best week of your summer, we cannot consider this trip a vacation. This is a mission trip – our mission is to go to Harlan to build homes and build lives. The only way we can do this is with team work and knowing that God is working through us! We will be completing jobs such as, roofing, painting, landscape projects (this is a nice way of saying shoveling a few tons of rock), new construction, and rehabbing homes in need of lots of TLC. As a result, we want nothing to stand in the way of our mission. We must respect one another, and always lend a helping hand. Our behavior must reflect our mission as we represent Our Lady of the Woods Parish and its Youth Ministry Program. As you would expect, alcohol, drugs, tobacco, weapons, and fireworks will not be tolerated. Thank you in advance for doing all you can to keep our mission in your mind and heart.
This week will be a learning experience. It will be a chance for you to learn a new trade or skill. It’s an opportunity to learn the value of teamwork. You will learn how to live in the same place with lots of other people (this one is not always easy). You will experience how other people live and meet individuals that you will carry in your heart forever. Most importantly, you learn how it feels to do God’s work in one of the most sacred places I have ever been.
I hope that my thoughts have helped you in your consideration of this incredible faith opportunity. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call me at (219)928-8386. I am looking forward to experiencing this week with you.
St. Stephen Deacon & Martyr and St. Elizabeth Seton Parish