High School Mission Trip Reflection by Andrea Linck

Going on the UOL High School Mission Trip for the second time was a very moving experience for me. I am so very thankful for the opportunity to do what I feel and view as God's work. After seeing all the homeless at the Emmaus House in New York, I realized how fortunate I am and I am truly grateful to my parents, my family and my church family. I realize how much I have and how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful support network behind me. My most memorable moments, the ones that moved me the most, occurred at our Metropolia Center in South Bound Brook.

The most moving and memorable part of my week was watching people taking pictures of the newly finished crosses. I was much moved at that moment. This person was there to attend a funeral and took the time to notice the beauty in what we were doing. Just knowing that people saw the beauty in the cross made my heart melt. All the work we put into refurbishing the crosses was actually noticed and I was fortunate to witness someone appreciating our efforts. It took many hours and it was very tedious work, but it was truly worth it. I was very thankful for the help of volunteers from Maplewood and also the help of the seminarians. Their efforts made the work go much more smoothly.

I want to thank everyone involved in the planning and running of this trip, especially Ms. Natalie Kapeluck-Nixon and Krista Ulbricht. And I would like to thank everyone who supported me spiritually, emotionally and financially.

Andrea's Reflection
2013 High School Mission Team Returns from Successful Trip to South Bound Brook, NJ

Relfection from Team Member Daniella Walewski
2013 Team to South Bound Brook

This past summer I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the High School Mission Team to South Bound Brook, NJ, the home of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. Most of our days were devoted to projects around the grounds, the biggest one being the refurbishment of the prayer trail. It was a long and hard process, but on one of our last days on the grounds I was able to physically see how useful our work was when a women, who was attending a funeral at the cemetery, walked to one of the crosses and began to read the prayer and take pictures of it. It was a great moment to realize that our work was greatly appreciated and noticed.

My favorite part of the mission was volunteering at the Emmaus House in Harlem. I had pictured what it would be like to go and help hand out food to those less fortunate, but was very surprised by what I saw when I got there. There was a great sense of community and gratefulness shared by everyone that entered the house, whether it was a person from off the street or a volunteer who had come to help. Experiencing this made me feel grateful for everything I have and made me realize that even in horrible times there are still places to seek help from.

One of the best parts of the trip was being able to stay at St. Sophia's Seminary for eight days. This allowed us to go to church three times a day and to be completely immersed within the faith, which is something I became very grateful of. We were able to spend lots quality time with His Grace Bishop Daniel and the seminarians that by the end of our mission we had become one big family. None of us wanted to say goodbye, but we left knowing that in just eight short days we had accomplished many projects and had made great friends in the process.
Brandi's Reflection
The Mission Trip to South Bound Brook was full of endless fun and many learning experiences. We worked diligently to repair the crosses and bridge at the Seminary, while having fun the entire time. I enjoyed making new friends and learning to understand and accept my faith. I am grateful that I was able to learn how to be my brother's keeper and ways to incorporate this into my daily life. I hope to be able to have more experiences like this in the future!