Students Serve in Mexico
Mexico Mission Trip 2018
Since 2004, Father Gabriel Richard students have been encountering Christ in the residents of Neza Garbage Dump on the northern outskirts of Mexico City. The annual Mexico Mission Trip affords students the opportunity to gain perspective and to practice intentional discipleship by serving others. A parent of four FGR alumni, Debbie Herbeck, organizes the annual trip through Renewal Ministries, an organization that leads missions to thirty-five different countries each year. Mrs. Herbeck finds the FGR students to be “amazing kids; focused, mature and ready to serve.” Since communication is so vital to the mission, students must have completed at least three years of Spanish studies to be considered for the trip. They prepare for the service aspect of the trip by completing at least 12 hours of service each year as part of their education at FGR.
This year twenty-two students participated in the mission, which included fundraising throughout the year. The trip focused on the garbage dump’s residents, with three days spent providing medical care, distributing food, clothing and shoes, and providing personal care, such as haircuts, to the inhabitants, but the students also visited an orphanage for mentally and physically disabled children, as well as a 400 resident nursing home for women. As a cultural and spiritual component, the trip includes a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Some of the students, who returned just weeks ago from the experience, highlighted the impact of the trip on them and those they served in a presentation to the FGR community last week.
David Forrest ’18 embarked on the trip thinking they could help meet the physical needs of those who reside in the garbage dumps for whom rummaging through refuse yields their daily food. It didn’t take long for him to realize that the food and clothing the students would provide through the fundraising they had undertaken all school year would only scratch the surface of those physical needs. What he found much more compelling was the work of “showing simple love.” David and his friend Joe Dib ’18 encountered an elderly woman, a resident of a nursing home they visited, who was calling out for her mother. The boys were struck by the situation of someone old enough to be their grandmother crying out for her own mother and were unsure of what to do. That is when the boys realized that spiritual care was an important part of their mission. They began comforting the woman, telling her that someday she would be with her mother again in heaven.
Grace Doman ’18 realized on the trip just “how big, how beautifully complicated this world is.” She witnessed people sharing unselfishly and generously, despite how very little they have of their own. She was deeply touched by a little boy’s desire to share with her the Skittles he had just gotten from the piñata. Knowing these were a rare treat for him, she gratefully accepted the precious candy. Grace summed this experience up beautifully as she told her fellow students, “Let others and let God love you and your life will change.”
Follow this link to see a video of this year’s trip.
Students interested in applying for next year’s trip may do so now through August 24, 2018 by clicking here.