On July 4, there ten youth and four adults from St. John’s Parish and Cathedral departed St. Louis for a seven-day mission trip to Guatemala. In partnership with Mission Guatemala, drugs a UMC organization based in Panajachel, the Cathedral mission team spent four rigorous days assisting in the construction of two new classrooms for the local school children. Wielding trowels and shovels, hauling concrete and mortar, securing rebar and setting forms, the mission team raised four courses of concrete block and managed, with lots of smiles and team-work, to accomplish twice the amount of work that was anticipated. It was very rewarding to see the walls taking shape, but just as rewarding was the opportunity to work alongside the outstanding staff of Mission Guatemala and to interact with the many local children. There was chasing, football, tag, games, and lots of laughter as the Guatemalan children received the love and attention given to them by the mission team. Lasting friendships were made, and our youth were impacted in lasting and profound ways.
On Sunday the 27th, during the regular 10:30 Mass, the ten youth each shared his personal testimony with the entire congregation. One mentioned the joy that was evident in the hearts of those who have so much less than we have. Another mentioned the desire to learn Spanish in preparation for the next trip. A third mentioned how he now knows his calling in life, which is to be a missionary. Lives have been changed because of this trip, not just in Guatemala, but also in the hearts of the team members.
This trip marks the first international mission trip for St. John’s Cathedral. Since 2011, local summer mission projects have included trips to Tennessee, Arkansas, and Chicago. After Sunday’s presentation, a list is already growing of youth and adults who want to join the next mission to Guatemala! To God be the glory!