Mission Trip to St. Lucia-
June 22 marked the beginning of a remarkable expedition. My brother and I, Fr. John, Bill Maguire, and members from four other parishes in our diocese embarked on a life-changing journey. This was my first mission trip, and my experience was far beyond what words can describe. We spent our time working at a variety of places: teaching and playing with St. Lucian children at the Missionaries of Charity; painting at the Marian Home for the elderly; taking care of the mentally and physically handicapped at St. Lucy’s home; and handing out clothes to the children collected during the “Mission Clothe Me” event. We went expecting only to give to the poor, without receiving anything in return. But they gave us an even greater gift: they taught us how to be truly happy.
I learned that no matter how little we think we have, there are people who have far less than us. The poverty in St. Lucia is beyond belief, yet they still have more faith than most of us. Mary, an elderly lady we visited, lived in a very small shack about the size of my bathroom. When we asked her if she lived alone, she said no. We looked around trying to figure how anyone else could fit in her tiny space. We asked who else lived with her, and she responded with a smile on her face: “The Holy Spirit and God, of course.”
At the Missionaries of Charity, the children who came on Saturdays and Sundays for lunch, possibly their only meal that day, were still jumping around, playing with each other and excited to learn about God. It amazed me! Being around them brought joy to me, because the children and the Sisters were always looking at the bright side of things. I loved helping with the cooking for the kids, painting figurines that were going to be used to teach them about God, and even assisting the Sisters in teaching them. I enjoyed working at the Missionaries of Charity, and what we did there will always be in my heart. That’s not the only thing that is going to stay with me, though. Whenever it rains, I’ll think about the overhang we built to shelter the little preschool children at the Marian Home. The Holy Family Children’s Home, an orphanage with youth ranging from ages 3 to 17, has a special place in my memory as well. When we handed them the donated clothing and asked them to “model” their new outfits for us, the look on their faces was pure delight! They loved the attention we gave them, and it brought joy to my fellow missionaries and me.
Helping out at these different missions made a difference in my life. I enjoyed this trip, and I recommend it to anyone who has a desire to serve God and others. It will open your eyes to the beauty of this world and bring you closer to God!
— Jonathan Dina