By Lauren Carter, Staff Member
The mission trip process didn’t just begin during mission week; the teams had been preparing diligently for months. From discernment, meetings, and preparation, the mission trip was the last piece to the puzzle. Assumption’s ARISE program offered six different mission trip opportunities this year including one local, four national, and one international trip that were all invited to incorporate simple living, community, prayer, and service into their daily lives. This trip was not a vacation. It was a chance for these seniors to grow closer to their Assumptions sisters and serve the people they worked with on site.
The international trip group to Belize City, Belize had a rewarding experience of building a house for a family of five. Before flying out early Sunday morning, the girls worked together to raise enough money to give the mother, Kimberly Myvette, a bathroom with a shower, toilet, and sink. Lilly Masterson stated, “The most memorable part was having Kimberly thank us for our mission at the house blessing. This was on the second to last day, and she got emotional talking to us about how thankful she was for us.”
Back home, over forty girls worked each day with the poor and homelessness in our backyard. As a community, we served in Belmont, North Carolina, Auxier, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Washington, D.C. This was a chance to learn more about the problems surrounding us and to get to know the people as a whole, not just by their stereotypes. In Cincinnati, the team listened to an inspiring woman experiencing homelessness who taught them that it is important to make eye contact, and once you do, you might as well say something because you have already acknowledged them. The lessons these girls learned on their mission trips are ones that everyone needs to hear.
While many teams worked hands on, building homes and providing service, the team in D.C. was advocating for one of the Sisters of Mercy’s critical concerns of non-violence. More specifically, they focused on the issue of gun control. “We met with John Yarmuth and some people from Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul’s office to lobby for this issue. They heard our personal stories and we talked some more with them specifically on the HR 8 bill,” said Baily Binkley. It is important to remember that both indirect and direct service are necessary to resolve the issues in our society.
Not only were the teams building relationships with the people they were serving, but with the girls they were serving with all week. Spending a week with your sisters without any electronics is an experience none of the teams will forget. Grace Moore explained, “The most memorable part of mission week for me was when my group was in the car and we sang every single song on the radio together as we were going from site to site. Not only was it fun to sing, but it was the bonding that we shared, and it led me to really allow myself to grow closer with those nine wonderful girls in my van.”
The ARISE Mission Trip experience is an opportunity everyone should consider because it is a chance to take a step outside your comfort zone and open your eyes to the world around us.