Sunday, May 27, 2012

South Dakota and Appalachia home safe!

South Dakota and Appalachia groups arrived safely back to campus last night! After a wonderful morning of reflection and sharing together, the group departed for home at 12:30pm.

The Nursing Mission trip from Jamaica is in route today and will be home this evening.

Thank you for your prayers and support!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Appalachia Update

Just heard from Audrey and Shaun at Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia!
They were full of laughs and sounded SO enthusiastic about their week so far! They have spent the last few days working in the community, doing everything from cleaning up at a National park, to working in a local thrift store, to roofing and painting a house! They break up into 5 groups every day with 2 or 3 other schools, and travel with a staff member all throughout the Appalachia region to volunteer, so they have seen a lot and met a lot of interesting people.

Last night they attended a religious service with a local community, and played kickball with many of them afterwards. They said they have met many friendly people willing to share their lives with them and explain a bit about the stigma and social injustices in that region. The group also spends time in reflection every night learning about sustainability and are ready to come home and share it with us!

They are definitely learning a lot and enjoying simple living! Many had their first shower of the week TONIGHT! (eek!) and it was an outdoor bucket shower (good thing its hot out!). Everyone in the group has high spirits and they are having a wonderful time. I can't wait to hear more about it when they get back!

We probably won't hear from the group again until Saturday on their drive home. Thank you for your prayers and continued support.

Mid Week Update

Just a brief update from the South Dakota trip for now. Expecting to hear from the Appalachia group later this evening. Due to cell phone service problems we were not able to connect last night, but I'm confident they are having an awesome week!

The group at the Re-Member Lakota reservation have balanced their time both serving the community and learning about the culture of the people. They finished their official work projects by today, which were mostly building decks and ramps for families who need easier accessibility. They have also learned significant cultural aspects of the Lakota people, such as a deep rooted sense of family and supporting one another. Few are homeless because family always takes one another in. They've also learned a bit about the mistreatment of the Lakota people by the U.S. Government, and are taking the time to really process and understand cultural implications and figuring a way to reconcile the guilt.

Today the group is visiting the Red Cloud Indian School, and seeing what a Catholic School environment is like on the reservation. Tomorrow they will leave Pine Ridge and head back to Rapid City for some sightseeing before flying home on Saturday.

I will update more from other groups as I get information!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A South Dakota update!

Dear Friends, 
Hope everything is going well at home just wanted to email you an update for the blog! Yesterday and today were 'WORK DAYS'!! Our group split up into three crews and we were combined with assumption college to work at three different sites. One site spent the day working on a roofing project, while another group helped build a deck and ramp, and the third group skirted a trailer!! Its been a busy past few days; however we are learning a lot. Each night  we have been hearing from members of the Lakota people and their words are pure motivation and inspiration! Learning lots and applying lots of sunblock!! :)
 Leanne and Matt (SoDak Leaders)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hard at work at Bethlehem Farm...


  I just heard from Shaun and Audrey at Bethlehem Farm in West Virginia, and they are in great spirits! They wanted me to reiterate to all of you that cell phone service is unavailable to them at the Farm, so please don't be alarmed or surprised if you don't hear from your son/daughter this week. All is well and the leaders are checking in every few days.

  Today was the groups first full day on the farm, and they worked HARD! They put up a fence, planted corn and beans, fed chickens, mowed fields, and learned a new song called "Ode to Compost". (haha!) The program is very earth friendly and the group is learning first hand simple living with outhouses and outdoor bucket showers! In fact...the group sounds like they love it!

  Tomorrow they will be going out into the community to begin local service projects and meet community members. Tonight they just had mass, and have been reflecting a lot on social justice and what that means in this Appalachia region. The best part of the day for the group was taking a break in the heat for a brief "sun shower" that cooled things down, and they saw a double rainbow!

All is well at the end of day 1. I plan on hearing from all trips again by Thursday morning.
Thank you for your thoughts and prayers!

Nursing Mission Trip Arrived Safely

Just a quick note from the Jamaica Mission trip with our nursing students: The group arrived safely in Montego Bay yesterday and all is well - HOT...but well! Please keep this group in your prayers as well as they serve the children of the Mustard Seed Community.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happy Sunday!

   Both the South Dakota and Appalachia groups are now settled in at their service sites. Appalachia Leaders Audrey and Shaun checked in around 7pm this evening after a long 8 hour drive from New York to West Virginia. Cell phone service is poor where they are, so we didn't get to talk long, but they said everything went well and it was a beautiful sunny day for a road trip! Please do not be surprised if your child is on the Appalachia trip and you cannot contact them via their cellphone this week. The Bethlehem Farm program discourages cell phone use in general for the week, in addition to the service not being strong. Feel free to comment on this blog with questions, or to call me any time with the phone numbers your child should have provided.

  Above is a photo of the South Dakota group touring the Badlands today, before their service work begins tomorrow. Looks like everyone's having a great time!