As we began our Mission Trip at the Precious Blood Renewal Center in Liberty Missouri, we first celebrated the Spring Equinox with Fr. Garry Richmeyer. As the winter turns to spring and darkness into light, we recognize the promise of rebirth. I believe this is exactly what my 8th grade students experienced not only at the Precious Blood Center but from all of the different places we went and worked throughout Kansas City. As we gathered, sorted, folded, cleaned and talked to hundreds of people, we could see and experience the blessings in the eyes of the people we helped but we were changed as well!
As we heard and listened to the stories of all of the people we encountered the scriptures came alive! In Mark 12:44 “For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has to live on.” “At the Seton Center my friend and I worked in the Thrift shop. As the winter turns into spring so are the clothes in the thrift shop. They were having a sale for $1 for everything you could put in a bag! A lady came up and gave us $8 and the worker behind the counter said, ‘Oh…Okay…’ but the lady with the $8 began to explain…that yes…a few of these clothes were for herself, but there are a lot of children at my church who don’t have many clothes, so I’m buying them a few things! It was so amazing because this woman didn’t have much but she felt the need to help many others! (Emily) “Standing on the street corner at 39th and Troost working on the Bus Ministry…handing out snacks and water, people actually asked, ‘Where are you from?’ and ‘Why are you doing this?’ I could have said, ‘because it’s getting me out of school; but instead I replied, ‘to help give back to the community and give back to the people what they deserve.’ The lady replied, ‘I love that so much and God Bless you!’ At that very moment I truly felt blessed and changed by the work we were doing.” (Claire)
“Can you imagine that receiving a toothbrush and toothpaste is better than Christmas?” The little girl told her mother in a very excited voice, “Mommy, now I don’t have to share my toothbrush with my brother anymore!” (Claire Kate) “Some of the people I met were extremely poor, but they always had a smile on their face and in a good mood despite of their life situation. This was a truly humbling experience for me!”(Alex K.) “After bagging 3 weeks of food for a lady who told us she was raising all of her grandchildren by herself…we helped load her car. She told us we made her day by helping her! She wanted a ‘group hug,’ so we all hugged her! This encounter helped me realize how hopeful these people are and how much they appreciate getting food and being helped!” (Natalie) “Working as cashier at the Bishop Sullivan Center I helped a customer with a small child pay for their items! I got very emotional after this encounter that my body began to shake for no reason. I loved going on this Mission Trip because I got to help others!” (Kaela) “A really important thing I learned by helping others…isn’t just to help…but to learn from them and carry them into my everyday life!” (Jason) “I wish we could have stayed longer at each of these places to hear their stories and get to know such interesting people!” (Alex Z.) “When we arrived at the Precious Blood Center I thought this was going to be so boring. But after a couple of days it opened my eyes and my heart to how good it felt to help and bring smiles to peoples’ faces.” (Nick) “At the end of each day we gathered in the main building of the Center to recap our day in circle prayer. The time to reflect at the Labyrinth or in circle prayer I really felt like God was listening to our thoughts and prayers.” (Edson) And finally from our students who had the opportunity to work close to home…”I felt really stressed out! I had no idea being a teacher was so hard and stressful! It’s not just grading papers and dealing with kids…It’s so much more than that!” (Ari) “I was glad to be able to help with the elementary classes. I now have a new appreciation for the teachers because it takes a lot of time, effort, and patience to even do the little things!” (Noe) “The younger students actually get angry at their teachers for something they did wrong! Helping out the Elementary teachers gives me an entirely different perspective on what teachers go through daily. Most of all…Be kind…because you just might brighten someone’s day!” (Arly)
This trip was truly a blessing watching the students not only interact with other people but with each other! They learned team building skills through many activities they participated in, both planned and spontaneous games like team “keep away.” The Precious Blood Renewal Center is 20 minutes from anywhere we needed to be and was the perfect place for running, reflecting, praying, making cards, and preparing our own food! Many THANKS! To Fr. Timothy Armbruster who was our “Spiritual Director” for the week, for Lucia and all of the staff that made us feel like we were at home! The students loved being there and felt like it was the perfect place to experience friends and God!