Recently, 18 Medfield teens and three chaperones from St. Edward Parish gathered to reflect on the success of their summer mission trip to Guatemala. Sponsored by Cross Catholic Outreach, their mission was to help build a gravity-fed water system that would deliver clean water to the remote, poverty-stricken villages of Santa Rosa.
Charged with the task of raising money to help fund the water project, the high school students set their fundraising goal well above the required $4,000 minimum. Determined to raise $7,000, the teens got to work, logging hours of service-related tasks in exchange for donations, including babysitting, raking leaves, and hosting a BBQ dinner for families at St. Edward’s parish hall. Their efforts, coupled with the overwhelming generosity of parishioners and the community at-large, resulted in more than $18,000 in donations. One hundred percent of these funds were donated to the water project, and because of this large sum, the group was able to see the project through to completion.
During their week-long stay in Guatemala, the missionaries assisted with food distribution, worked in an orphanage, and assisted with a roadway project. In addition, they prayed with the villagers, and watched as the grateful Guatemalans turned on their new water spigots for the first time. When asked what a villager would do with the extra time he would have, now that he didn’t have to walk three hours for clean water, he exclaimed: “I will praise God more!”
The students received a warm welcome in each of the villages they visited, as the Guatemalans demonstrated how grateful they were for their presence and contributions. They enjoyed learning traditional games from the Guatemalan children and making connections, despite the language barrier.
The missionaries recently gathered to reflect upon their experience in Guatemala, and explained that they were deeply moved and humbled by the widespread and abject poverty in the areas they visited. “Seeing the different villages was very meaningful. It made me realize that we take a lot of things for granted and we should be thankful for what we have,” explained one student.
The trip “validated,” for another, “that you don’t need anything more than faith to have great joy.”
“The smiles on the children’s faces” were the most meaningful part of the trip for another, “because they were very poor, yet still so rich in happiness.”
The mission trip “strengthened my faith,” concluded one student. “I felt a great presence of God in all the people I met in Guatemala.”
The experience was a meaningful one for each of the students and further enhanced their passion for service. Participants included: Natalie Alford, Kristin Anderson, Meghan Bannister, Katie Barrett, Peter Barrette, Andrew Barrette, Isabella Brooke, Genevieve Brooslin, Hannah Buzgo, Marina Coletti, Olivia Dailey, Jules Giurini, Sophia Gustafson, Kiera Lawless, Eliza Vara, Isabel Vara, Kaitlyn Whelan, Megan Whelan, Nicki Gustafson, Deacon Fred Horgan and Anna Mae O’Shea Brooke.