By Stephanie Shiller
San Marco Church Youth Group, under the direction of Kim Adamson (DRE), sent two groups of young people on mission trips this summer with Catholic Heart Work Camps. The goal of these missions is to “share the love of Christ as we serve the neglected, brokenhearted and the marginalized in any way needed. Equally, to inspire participants to live as disciples of Christ through serving others as a way of life.”
This summer marks the third year of participation for the San Marco Youth Group in the Tampa mission trip. This group gave its all as members painted the exteriors of houses for the poor, built a shed, weeded, raked, scrubbed floors and cleaned the church in the very poor inner city parish of St. Peter Claver. The youth shared home-cooked meals with families and had fun playing with their children. Programs were held each morning on Social Justice and The Beatitudes each evening, along with lots of Praise and Worship music. Discussions about how each person saw Jesus each day, along with prayer, were ongoing throughout their time together. Dorothy (assistant youth minister) and Jeff Flint were the chaperones on this trip. The participants were Marissa Mengelkoch (3rd year), Lauren Jeter (3rd year), Mathew DeSantis (2nd year), Anthony DeBella, Robyn Titus and Lauren Johnson.
Heat, humidity, mosquitoes, no air-conditioning and sleeping on the floor did not diminish the joy of serving the poor in the small Central American country of Belize.
This group of teens (10th grade and up) headed by Adamson and Lisa Meurgue embarked on a journey of a lifetime in early June to help clean, paint, sand, screen, dig trenches, lay block and pour concrete. By cleaning and painting an old convent, a young handicapped boy, unable to take the bus, will now be able to live at the school. Trenching, pouring concrete and laying block for a church wall and fence as well as painting walls at the House of Mercy, which feeds 50 children a day breakfast and lunch, was just some of the hard work the mission-goers generously accomplished. The group also had some time to play with the local children, learn about the Belizean culture, sample home-made meals and see some Mayan ruins.
Along with Adamson and Meurgue, Chris Farren and Patrick Shiller served as chaperones for the Belize mission. Youth participants included Emmanuelle Meurgue, Emily Lang, Gina Colombo, Samantha Jennings, Jacob Kowalski and Cameron Kowalski.
Lasting friendships and memories were forged between the mission-goers themselves, and the people of Tampa and Orange Walk Town, Belize.
Plans are already being made for next summer’s mission work, as well as a 2016 trip to Poland for World Youth Day. Prayers and donations are always welcome to support this ministry. Contact Kim Adamson, San Marco Church director of religious education at 239-394-5181, ext. 13.