During the week of Sunday July 15th – Friday, July 20th seven members of The Life, 5 teens and 2 leaders, were in the mountain town of Morganton, NC to participate in a Catholic Heart Work Camp.
Our 7 joined 201 other people from North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvania for a week of loving Jesus, serving the community and connecting with each other.
The theme for the camp was “ECHO”. As in, echoing the love of Christ in all that we do.
Our group was divided up and assigned to one of 29 teams that were sent out into the greater Morganton area to tackle some truly awe inspiring service projects. There was work on a community garden, a park was restored, a Catholic church was cleaned up, a disabled veteran had his home worked on, and many many more acts of service completed.
In addition to the work that was done in the community, there was just as much energy invested into the spiritual growth of each of the campers. We started the day with Mass celebrated by one of the coolest priests you will ever meet, Father Norman Fischer. Each afternoon, Rosary was offered for those that wanted to participate. One night there was an incredibly emotional Adoration experience followed by a prayer experience called “Four Corners”. All summed, fostering a relationship with Jesus was a key focus of the camp.
The last focus of the camp was on making sure that everyone had fun getting to know each other. The connections that were established through the work time, prayer time, and play time are ones that have the potential to last for a lifetime. Each night we had a program of singing, dancing and being absolute goofs all in the spirit of coming together.
At the conclusion of the week, our group came together for lunch and we all compared notes on how we felt about the week. The following are the thoughts from each of the 5 that attended…
“Two months ago, when Michael sent me the email saying that I was going on a mission trip I was kind of scared. I was scared because I had never been on a mission trip before, let alone be away from my mom for longer than a single night that wasn’t with family.”
“Another reason I was scared is because I am a very shy person when I’m around new people and I knew that I wouldn’t be with anyone from our Parish. I knew that I was going to be forced to meet new people. What I didn’t know was that I was going to have the best time of my life. I met so many new people that I couldn’t imagine meeting. It was probably the best thing Michael could have made me do.”
“We had Mass every morning and a program every night where we had dance parties, deep talks about life, adoration, and a prayer service called “4 Corners”. The people were so friendly and there was definitely never a dull moment when we were all together.”
“I was in group #8 with 3 other youth, two from Pennsylvania and one from Durham, NC, and Melissa was our group leader. We had a very small group which made some things more difficult, but we got the chance to build a strong relationship with each other.”
“We had an amazing time together. We jammed to High School Musical and The Greatest Showman while weeding a garden, laying mulch, cleaning furniture and dishes, organizing shelves, tool stands and tiles. We had endless laughs and someone always had a joke to crack making someone laugh. I definitely didn’t expect to have as much fun as I actually did.”
“I definitely recommend if you have the chance to do anything with the church especially a mission trip to take it. Being able to help others that need it and to see the smiles on their faces when you are done is the most amazing feeling anyone could ever have. I definitely plan on doing another one in the future.”
By Hailee White
CHWC Morganton 2018
“For years now, I have been asking to go on a mission trip. I did not care where it was or the size of the mission; I just knew that it was something I wanted to do. When Michael brought it up as an opportunity I jumped at my chance.”
“I went into this week not really knowing what Catholic Heart Work Camp was, but I knew I was going to be serving the community and that is all that mattered.”
“This past week exceeded all of my expectations and helped my relationship with God grow beyond words could ever describe. This week gave me the opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and do new things. I walked away with great memories, new friendships, and a new organization that has touched my heart forever. I hope to continue to work with CHWC in the future.”
By Emmalee Smith
CHWC Morganton 2018
“Going to Catholic Heart Work Camp was an absolutely amazing experience and one I’m sure I will never forget. I was able to help out the community doing service projects all week while getting closer to friends, strangers, and God.”
“I met new people that made me laugh and comforted me when I needed a simple hug. I grew closer to those I knew as we shared our experience at the camp and work site.”
“Most of all, I grew stronger in my relationship to God as the camp provided events and moments of worship for me to grow closer to Him. I was able to learn to build my trust in God and His plan.”
“The week I spent in Morganton, NC attending CHWC was beautiful. Knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life by completing my service project is a feeling that no one can put a price on. Seeing the joy on the resident’s face when the project is complete is the best.”
“I enjoyed my time at CHWC getting to know people from all over who were willing to come together in faith to help out a community and grow closer and closer as a family every day. I am so grateful for this experience and I could not be happier for taking this leap of faith and going on this trip.”
By Gerry Rodriguez-Cruz
CHWC Morganton 2018
“Overall the week was good. I got a nice group with interesting personalities to work with. Our worksite was nice and it felt satisfying to help out people in the community. The sleeping arrangements were better than expected (especially since I didn’t have to share). The only real complaint I have is with the activities after the work day. They weren’t really for me, but it was still a nice week nonetheless.”
by Joshua Lindman
CHWC Morganton 2018
“My time at CHWC was amazing to say the least. When I first arrived at the campus we’d be staying at for the week, The North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton North Carolina, I was really nervous. I was continually thinking and questioning;”
Was I going to make any friends?
Will people even talk to me?
Will this camp even be fun or will it just be hard work?
Will we work on something to make an actual impact on the community in Morganton?
Is this just a big waste of time?
“My time at CHWC was truly life changing. I grew spiritually closer with God through the sacraments of daily mass and reconciliation. I grew as a person as I was pushed to go out and talk to many different people from all over the country and to make relationships with them.”
“My spiritual and personal growth were great, but let’s not forget the most important part of the trip. The mission.”
“I was put into a group of 6 truly amazing and hardworking people. We went to the only Catholic Church in the area and worked out in the gardens and front of the church. One day, due to the heat, we even cleaned up the inside. Through a little blood, a lot of sweat, and honestly no tears (we were too happy) we finished the job!”
“At the end of each workday we would arrive back to campus to clean up or enjoy free time with friends. During this time, I was able to spend time with new friends from up north and even reunite with an old friend from Search.”
“I’ll cherish CHWC forever and I’m so glad I went. Even without the friends and relationships you get from CHWC you’ll always have the memories of the amazing live music, fun activities, and the silly leaders. I’m so blessed and thankful for getting the opportunity to go.”
by Lauren Branscom
CHWC Morganton 2018
To view pictures from the week, click here.