Sep 7 2010

New York students meet their Salvadoran counterparts

Kayleigh visits El Salvador.

Kayleigh Macchirole visits with children from El Salvador during her mission awareness trip.

Kayleigh Macchirole, a student from McGann-Mercy High School in New York, recently went with other students on a CFCA mission awareness trip to El Salvador. Here is her reflection on the experience.

I recently went on a missionary trip to El Salvador with a few people from my school. I went into this experience thinking that we were just going to go down there and help a few people, but after the first day I realized that we were doing so much more.

During our time in El Salvador we celebrated Mass with sponsored children and their families, visited homes, built a home for a family in need, met with our sponsored children, visited a school, and played a soccer game with some of the scholarship students.

We had the chance to interact with people from all age groups, and learn about all of their lives and the difficulties they face. On our final day in Santa Ana we got to interact with local teenagers while playing soccer. Afterwards we had the chance to have a group discussion with them.

Soon after the conversation started we realized that these teenagers werenít that different from us. Like American teenagers they are faced with the pressure to do drugs. They have the threat of gang violence, or even joining a gang, and also like us, they have hopes and dreams of being successful.

The big difference between us was money. They were all so thankful to be sponsored because otherwise there is a good chance they would be on the streets working rather than going to school, which will give them so many more opportunities to become successful and give themselves a better life.

Looking back on the whole trip, the thing that stands out to me the most was how grateful everyone was. On the day we got to meet our sponsored children the families were so appreciative. We heard things like ìI thank God for you every morning,î ìI consider you a sister to me,î ìGod bless you for the rest of your life,î and ìI thank God through the heavens and back.î

It shocked me that doing something as simple as sponsoring a child could change their lives so much. The people there have so little and yet they would help you with anything and always had a big smile on their face.

As Americans, we let something so small ruin our entire day. Meanwhile the people in El Salvador have so many more problems and always seem to have a positive attitude.

My trip to El Salvador was life-changing and I cannot wait to go back.

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