Mary Seidler

Sent by the Spirit

In September 2013, I was reviewing the past year and making goals for 2014. At the top of my list was a mission trip. After 3 years at my parish, the teens were begging to go on one but I had no clue where to start.

Not even two weeks later I got a postcard in the mail about Catholic Heart Workcamp (CHWC). Through months of planning, recruiting, fundraising, and meetings that followed it became apparent that the Holy Spirit was going to make sure this mission trip was going to happen. It was the Holy Spirit’s mission to make sure our mission was a success!

We had the great opportunity to attend a CHWC in Ashland, MT at the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. Our group of 15 teens and 3 adult leaders were split up with almost 300 other participants. For four days we painted houses, cleaned up yards, built porches or ramps, and visited with the residents. In the evening all the participants gathered together for fun times with games, dancing, and singing. Then we would transition into talks, skits, praise and worship, and different prayer experiences.

Early in the week our whole group quickly humbled ourselves and just let God do His thing! Our parish is located in an area that is not known for diversity, so visiting an Indian Reservation and learning about their culture was a first for my teens. The residents and family members would come out, help the teens on the houses, and talk to them about their life. It was amazing to see these teens be inspired by the residents’ culture and attitude.

A few of my teens had the opportunity to work on fixing up the tribe’s Powwow center. One day they were joined by a man that went there to pray and saw all the work they were doing. He talked to them during their lunch break, teaching them the significance of a Powwow and about his tribe’s history. That day my teens experienced how the Holy Spirit works through them to be examples of Christ’s love and service to others.

On Thursday night, after our last day of work, I reflected on the week: my teens stepped out of their comfort zones, became leaders in their group, made new friends, danced their butts off, and opened a whole new door to their relationship with Christ. My teens were able to connect service to their faith and open themselves up to letting the Holy Spirit work through them. I couldn’t help but know this week of service, joy, and faith was exactly the Holy Spirit’s mission for us.

By the end of the week and these weeks since, they are already planning next year’s trip, inviting friends to go, and bringing what they learned and experienced home with them. As they continue to serve their family, friends, and God, I can’t help but give all the gratitude and praise to the Holy Spirit for inviting us into this mission with Him.

Editor’s Note: This blog is part of a series of blogs that relate to our 2014 theme Inspire[d]. If you would like to submit about a blog about an Inspire[d] story that you have, please see these guidelines.

Mary Seidler

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