Holy Spirit Parish 2017 National Mission Trip
San Augustine, Texas
Sunday, February 19th to Saturday, February 25th
CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP
The Overall Experience
In partnership with Next Step Ministries (NSM), HSP will run its 4th annual mission trip, with approximately 50 missionaries, in February. We will be returning to San Augustine, Texas for the second year and are committed to investing in this community long term. By day, the missionaries have the opportunity to serve God by working to improve the living conditions, and in turn the spirits, of the citizens of San Augustine and the neighboring town of Broaddus. By night, the missionaries and NSM engage in worship and team building activities to strengthen their relationship with God, with the citizens of San Augustine and with others in their lives. While in San Augustine, the missionaries often have the opportunity to listen to stories and share devotions with the citizens. These tender moments often prove to be the most memorable moments of the trip.
The Critical Questions
When is the trip?
The missionaries depart on a bus from the parish hall the morning of Sunday, February 19th and return to the hall on a bus the evening of Saturday, February 25th. This year the group is flying on Southwest Airlines from San Jose to Dallas and back. Vans will be rented to drive from Dallas to San Augustine and back.
Who is eligible?
The trip is open to students in sixth grade or older. Each student is required to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. No prior experience is required. All participants must be current with Fingerprinting and Safe Environment Training prior to the trip.
How much does the trip cost?
The cost of the 2017 trip has not been finalized, but it is expected to be consistent with the prior years’ costs that were in the range of $1,200 to $1,300 per person. We leave San Augustine on Friday morning and have a “non-working” day. So please know that this figure does not include Friday’s dinner, hotel room and any incidentals purchased on the trip.
How do I register for the trip?
On line registration, on the Holy Spirit Parish web site, opens at 6:00 pm on Monday, October 10th. Registration is limited to 47 parishioners on a first come first serve basis. You will be notified of your status (confirmed or waitlisted) via email by Wednesday, October 12th. If confirmed, a $500 non-refundable deposit is due to the parish office by Monday, October 17th.
How do I find out more details about the trip?
An optional informational meeting will be held in the parish hall on Monday, October 3rd at 7:00 pm. We expect the meeting to run approximately 60 minutes.
Who do I contact if I have a specific question about the trip?
Patricia Kennedy at 408-209-1012 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kyle Coulter at email@example.com.
Why do we partner with Next Step Ministries?
NSM (http://www.nextstepministries.com) is a Christian organization that has the experience and the resources that HSP needs and the Christ-centered approach that HSP wants to run mission trips. NSM annually runs over 150 short term mission trips for long term community development both domestically and internationally. Most of their trips occur in the summer, but they are willing to accommodate our mid winter dates and give us the flexibility to create our own worship programs lead by our parish staff. (Two to three members of the parish will be traveling to Texas.) We have been partnering with NSM since 2014.
Where is San Augustine?
San Augustine is about 150 miles northeast of Houston. It is a town of approximately five square miles with a population slightly over 2,000.
Why are NSM and HSP committed to San Augustine?
San Augustine county, not unlike other counties around the county, face many economic and physical hardships like dilapidated homes and rising poverty which can lead to neighborhood separation, isolation and hopelessness. In 2014, NSM decided to invest in San Augustine because it has a strong base of church and community leaders that are committed to seeing their community thrive. The local team has aspirations to not only to see the standard of living raised – through home repair and building – but also to see the community bond together through love and outreach programs based on the love of Christ. After HSP’s first trip to San Augustine in 2016, the parish decided that we could best serve God and the community if we also committed to a long term relationship with NSM and the San Augustine community leaders.
Where do we stay in San Augustine?
Missionaries sleep in sleeping bags on cots, eat and shower daily at the White Rock Baptist Church in San Augustine. (Although NSM accommodates missionaries with dietary restrictions, exposure to nuts cannot be controlled given missionaries visit home sites.)
What will I do in San Augustine and on Free Friday?
Monday through Thursday are “work/worship days”. “Work/worship days” include 6 to 7 hours of construction-type work (home builds, home additions, drywall, siding, flooring, wheel chair ramps) at homes or community sites with a project team. The rest of the day is filled with time to worship, socialize, play games or simply reflect with fellow missionaries and members of the community. On Friday morning we depart San Augustine and return to Dallas with an organized activity along the way. All missionaries stay in one hotel close to the airport on Friday night. We travel back to the airport in the vans on Saturday.
Why should I go?
The intent of the trip is to give HSP families the opportunity to serve God together by not only improving homes and buildings in the San Augustine community, but by showing love for its citizens by listening to their stories and sharing worship time when possible. As important, the trip presents the opportunity to strengthen your relationship with God, your parent or guardian, and others in the parish.
My time on the Texas mission trip was truly life changing. The faith of the people I met there was overwhelming. I also met and bonded with those in the Holy Spirit community. I got to know them much better than before and I feel a part of something greater.
Stepping back from everyday life and meeting a whole knew community was refreshing. The joy I felt while in Texas has been unparalleled throughout my life so far. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were my constant companions and that felt amazing. It may seem like a lot for them to be with me every single moment, but instead it felt like filling a hole that I had unconsciously felt before then. The trip taught me so much about God. For instance, every day you are given choices – to do what God wants you to do and to do what you want to do. The first step is noticing the choices. The next step is having the faith to do the unpopular and sometimes bothersome things for God. But if you take Christ’s path then you can accomplish amazing things.
On this trip, I was reminded of the rest of the world, but I was also reminded of how the Bible’s stories and examples of how we live are still true and can be applied today. Earlier today I read Mark 12:41-44, it reads, ” Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'” I saw this in Texas, especially in Mrs. Price, who has very little, however she gives such a large percentage of what she has to others. This can be an example for us on how to live our life.
I bring this joy with me home from the mission trip and I am trying to show others this joy. Serving God, following Jesus’ example and just focusing on God was the best feeling in the universe.
– Written by Grace Kennedy (7th grade) after returning from San Augustine in 2016.
During the school break in February, I had the privilege of going on a mission trip with my dad and 46 other parishioners to a small town in a rural part of Texas, known as San Augustine. On this trip, I learned more about God and how he helps the poor/financially disabled. When we, as Catholics receive the Eucharist, we become the body and blood of Christ. The other missionaries and I became the hands and feet of Christ as we traveled to San Augustine to help different people to repair parts of their houses. We were reminded by Father Brendan and Pope Francis to focus on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and we had a great opportunity to be able to experience that. We all got close to the owners of the houses and tried to get as much work done as possible for them. We also learned how to build structures and repair houses. Each day at the work-site, after lunch, we read from the devotional booklet that had been given to us as a crew and had deep conversations about God and personal experiences. It was really amazing that we could just let down our guard and be as open as possible, while sharing our personal experiences with one another. My dad and I had seen a lot of the other missionaries around at church, but we didn’t exactly know them too well. This trip allowed all of us to bond together spiritually and as friends, as we learned about each other and how people who are not as privileged as us, live. There were many experiences that I and I think the other missionaries will remember for the rest of our lives. The experience of working together at a work-site, not knowing anything about how to build these structures, and finally being able to actually finish the job was incredible. There was a time when we washed each other’s feet, and we as crews, stood around members of our crew and prayed for each person and thanked God for the person and their gifts. It was extremely peaceful and interesting to hear what people thought about us and felt about us. Also, another great experience was listening to the music that the Next Step staff was creating and being around the Next Step staff. They were all very talented musicians and great people who always made you feel welcome and happy to be on the trip. I also had the opportunity to make some great friends who I never would have known if I hadn’t gone on the mission trip. I am looking forward to the next mission trip and, hopefully, I will be able to meet some more parishioners and people. I thank God for the many gifts and talents I have received from Him and I hope to be able to use these to be Christ to others.
– Written by: Daniel Noronha