At a young age, I was taught that it is important to help others. My parents told me how there are plenty of people in the world who are less fortunate than I am, and I wanted to make a difference. This was one of the main reasons why I was inspired to go on a mission trip. Going on a mission trip has been one of the best decisions that I have ever made, and I wouldn't be who I am today without the experiences it gave me. This was my second time to go back and serve the people in West Virginia. This year's mission trip brought such great insight and more knowledge as to why Cabrini students go to West Virginia every spring break.
Living in the Presbyterian church in Summerville and working on refurbishing a house in Nettie made us understand the effects of poverty among the West Virginia communities. After our trip, I was curious about the history behind West Virginia's poverty, and I found out that West Virginia's poverty rate is one of the highest in the nation. 2017 estimates indicate that 19% of the state's population lives in poverty, exceeding the national average of 13%. I absolutely agree because of what I saw in some of the West Virginia neighborhoods.
Seven of us from Cabrini had a great experience of social, economical, and cultural aspects of rural poverty through serving and speaking with the people who lived in the region. We had a great supervisor Tim who helped us with all the tools and made our experiences even more fun and enjoyable. Tim is truly a great example of how people should love unconditionally and help others because he is the one who introduced us to Jason, whose home we worked in, and helped us in helping him. It is amazing how they work things out to make sure that the poor in their community have better housing.
Within the course of working in Jason's home, Tim introduced another supervisor named Greg because we had two major projects in the house that needed more supervision and guidance on how to do things. The two major projects we had involved converting two bathrooms into a bedroom, and then the other project involved converting a church pulpit area into to a flat floor since the house was a church before. We also painted Jason's daughter Kaylyn’s room. The whole experience of converting a church into a home was awesome because of the skills we learned and the motivations we had in finding an opportunity to serve others.
While serving others, we had the opportunity to share our lives through service, prayer, reflection, and time that we spent together. We also had a chance to attend Ash Wednesday in the Presbyterian church, for some of us it was our first time participating in a service in the Presbyterian church, and we helped in singing and reading the scriptures that day. Each experience of our mission trip made us increasingly grateful for everything we have; the West Virginians were so grateful even for the little things we did for them, and this taught us always to be thankful for everything. They cared about our well-being, they fed us, showed how much they loved, and were grateful for all of us to be serving in their midst.