Today I began the day, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7am morning mass at the church that is right around the corner from the Tau house, where our group is staying. Directly following this was breakfast and morning prayer. During the prayer, we were asked to write why we were on this trip on a paper cut out hand. I wrote: “I love humanity and I think that God reveals the beauty of compassion and love through others” this took up almost the entire palm. Next, my group of five students and one student leader (an intermixed group of Minesotans and Montanans) headed off to the Mercy Franciscan St. John Organization, otherwise known as the sandwich window. This center provides many services for the community, including job training for those who have not had the opportunity to be trained using computers with Microsoft word and Excel, counseling services to help at risk teens not become involved in gangs, they have a room filled with clothes for people to take, and they hand out lunch every day to about 150 people through a window in the side of the building. I had the opportunity to work the window and got to interact with many different people. The highlight of my day was when a homeless man named Gregory struck up a conversation with me and Shelby Goodrich, another student on the trip. He told us his life story and he kept asking us why we came all the way from Montana, that it was such a long way from here to there and that we should be sitting on a beach somewhere in Can Cunn. Shelby simply replied, “Because we love it, we love getting to meet people like you and we love to serve God”. It was an amazing experience because he was so happy to talk to us and have us hear his story and life advice, to do what we love and appreciate the little things in life, and it was a great experience for me because I feel like I really made a connection in someone else’s life today. Maybe that’s just the naïve college student talking in me, maybe it’s the lack of sleep, all I know is that God works in ways that you would never expect and today was a clear example of that for me. At the end of the day we were asked to write one thing down on our paper hands that we did today that we didn’t want to forget. I wrote “Today I shook a man’s hand and listened to his life story and advice”. Funny how God works through our hands.
Anyways, have a great day Carrollians reading this blog, looking forward to the rest of the week of service!
We’ve had quite the journey thus far. Even just through our travels to Cincinnati. Today we had a free day and visited the Krohn conservatory. There was an entire greenhouse devoted to cacti and desert plants. I couldn’t help but think of my mother. I just wanted to take picture after picture. However, not having a camera was a problem. This caused me to ponder what I really wanted. I wanted her there with me. I wanted my mom to share the experience with me. This has been the case countless times in the past couple of days. . The tunnel in the Detroit airport, the cacti in the Krohn conservatory, the Xaiver campus library, the sun’s rays breaking over a fluffy bed of clouds; all different places, sights, and activities; all reminding me of different people I care about. Further reflection made me realize, the people I think of have touched my life in such a way that I wish to share my experience with them. Just thinking of them has changed my perspective, even if ever so slightly. As a result I have brought these people with me. All of us have brought different people, experiences, and skills to Cincinnati. They shape what we see and ultimately our actions.
Even though my friends and family cannot experience everything directly with me, when I return home, I will bring back all the experiences, sights, and people who have touched me while I have been here. Even though we haven’t officially begun our service, my life as already been impacted.
Tomorrow we being our service, and perhaps we won’t giving so much of our labor as we will give the more intangible things. As for right now, we are simply enjoying each other’s company and getting to know the group of Minnesota students we will be living with and serving with over the next week. Thus far I have no regrets about the trip. I am so glad to be here, and so excited for tomorrow. On the other hand, perhaps I didn’t need to sacrifice a clean pair of jeans by sliding into first during kick ball.
I pray this blog finds you all well,
P.S. I can’t wait for you all to meet the woman in the airport, the friars living next to us, and the gigantic campus library.
After much anticipation we have finally left Helena for our trips. The day began by gathering at 4:15 AM to take students going to Rochester and Cinci to the airport. As I returned home to finish packing my own things and pick up the Kansas City students, I was told they barely had enough time to get through security and next year we need to leave more time. So I will mark my calendar now for 3:30 AM next year!
The Kansas City group left Helena at 7 AM and travels went really smoothly. We arrived in Denver and celebrated a birthday dinner with Katie Majerus at Ted’s Montana Grill where we had burgers. We are now settled in to our hotel and ready to drive all the way across Kansas tomorrow. During the trip the students have been asking Fred and Laura a lot about their experience last year and the closer we get the more anticipation they have for the week ahead.
During our drive we had a quick check in from both groups that they had arrived safely but experienced some turbulence along the way.
Thank you for following us this week and for your prayers for our experience. The more I travel with students for these trips the more I realize the importance of meeting people who are passionate about helping others and of getting an experience of building relationships and dedicating this time to service. We are very blessed to have these experiences.
Welcome to Tau House!
We are excited to have you joining us!
Look forward to a wee k of meeting new people (you are sharing the House
with a college group from Minnesota State University), working at various
sites (including the Mercy Franciscan – St. John Sandwich Window, Ronald
McDonald House, Welcome House, Madisonville Education and Assistance Center,
Working in Neighborhoods, the FreeStore FoodBank, Rose Garden Mission, St.
Vincent dePaul, Churches Active in Northside, and Visions Day Care), and
growing in your faith!
See you soon! Safe travels!
On Saturday we depart for our Spring Break Immersion Trips. We have groups traveling to Rochester, NY to visit the Sisters of Saint Joseph, to Kansas City, Missouri to visit the Sisters of Charity and to Cincinnati, OH to visit the Franciscans for the Poor. Aside from having to get to the airport at 4:45 AM all of the students are really excited for the new experiences and people they will meet.
Devan Hromcik – Helena, MT
Dan Minor – Helena, MT
Brittany Minor – Helena, MT
Chris Kiefer – Banks, OR
Travis Biedermann – Big Fork, MT
Kirsten Rotz – Rathdrum, ID
Natalie Stewart – Coeur d’ Alene, ID
Taylor Stewart – Couer d’ Alene, ID
Nicole Henry – Boise, ID
Andrea Ward – Springfield, OR
Jenessa Borodkin – Cordova, AK
Whitney Stormberg, Citrus Heights, CA
Kansas City, MO
Fred Collins – Helena, MT
Tessa Berg – Missoula, MT
Elyse Ramirez – Helena, MT
Tony Rosales – Great Falls, MT
Christina Frederick – Helena, MT
Nathan Kavanaugh – Cut Bank, MT
Colleen Dunne – Helena, MT
Katie Majerus – Valier, MT
Katie Hanson – Helena, MT
Laura Gillette – Miles City, MT
Chelsea Ford – Portland, OR
Kelsie Hahn – Olympia, WA
Cheney Gianarelli – Conrad, MT
Shelby Goodrich – Vancouver, WA
Maddie Woodruff – Banks, OR
Jessica Knapp – Olympia, WA
Raniece Richardson – Helena, MT
Angie Biskupiak – Helena, MT
Amy Reagor – Great Falls, MT
Thank you for following us as we travel!
When I went on my first Headlights trip to Cincinnati, I kept a diligent journal of the places we went and everything I experienced — thoughts, frustrations, loving people, and feelings. As I go back through that journal this morning while sipping on a cup of coffee, I am amazed at some of the experiences I had. Even though I vowed never to forget them, I honestly admit that life at Carroll can be so hectic and I have let the memories slip from the front of my brain. Good thing I have my journal to remind me of all the blessings, struggles, and triumphs of the week!
I hope all of you have heard Brandon Heath’s song “Give Me Your Eyes.” If you haven’t, please have a listen sometime on over your trip. That song had a reoccurring appearance in my journal. I think the reason I reflected on that song so much was because of my deep desire to understand God’s love in this world. We can be so sheltered in our lives to the harsh realities of the world — we have warm dorms/houses, good food, lots of layers to put on in the cold (and the list goes on and on).
My challenge for you this week is to immerse yourself in a culture outside your comfort zone. Each of you will walk away with a different insight of this week. Maybe there will by one child who stares into your eyes with a longing face. Maybe one person will be feeding hundreds everyday and showing her love. Maybe in one of your nightly reflections you will be touched by a scripture. Just open your eyes to God’s love, in whatever capacity that may be. Then, write down your reflections. Even if you’re not a big journal person, at least write down a list of the people and feelings to spark your memory later. You will be thankful later (when Colleen drops you a text to see if you’ll share with a future group!).
Know of my prayers for each of you as you serve! – Heidi
“Give me your eyes for just one second, give me your eyes so I can see everything that I keep missing. Give me your love for humanity. Give me your arms for the broken hearted, the ones that are far beyond my reach. Give my your heart for the one’s forgotten. Give me your eyes so I can see.” – Brandon Heath