Thursday, 01 September 2011 13:12
By Matt Vainer
ANDOVER – St. Vincent de Paul Parish’s youth group returned from a summer mission trip with a new perspective on how our plans are not always God’s plans.
In first arriving in early June at St. Augustine’s Indian Mission, in Winnebago, Neb., the youth group had no idea their mission trip duties of scraping walls, painting, and cleaning up around St. Augustine’s school and parish were about to receive a serious change in direction.
While receiving work instructions from Sister Agnes of St. Augustine Parish, leaders were informed that South Sioux City, 20 miles north, was in dire need of help to hold back the flooding waters of the Missouri River.
“It was a fun way for the youth group to escape the limited confines of our views on society, to see and impact the lives of others as we grew closer to God and create new bonds with other teens,” said Josh Knapp of Derby.
For three days, the youth decided to run in shifts, traveling back and forth between South Sioux City and St. Augustine to shovel sand, fill sand bags, load pallets, and build retaining walls, all while keeping up with work back at the parish and school.
“If God gives you a lemon, you make lemonade. If God gives you a flooded river, you fill sandbags,” said Matt Vainer, St. Vincent’s volunteer youth leader.
Each day temperatures reached well over 100 degrees, and yet the youth continued to pull double duty working together, growing closer in their relationship with God while carrying out His mission.
“It was amazing seeing the teens work for hours in the hot sun and being so happy at the end of the day because they made a difference for a whole city,” said Desirae Cox, St. Vincent’s youth leader.