Catholic Mission Honduras
The 14th Gehlen Catholic student mission trip kicked off with a
very moving send-off prayer service in the Steve Shea Memorial Gym on Tuesday,
March 18. Fr. James Tigges, who has participated in three previous mission trips,
spoke of how special mission work is and its necessity. The twenty-eight adult
and student missioners each lit a candle as Christian Leadership Team members
read aloud the reason each missioner was lighting his/her candle and the reason
they wanted to go on the mission trip. Family members then presented the
missioners with their t-shirts, crosses, and “junta” booklets, sending them out
with their blessings.
Gehlen Catholic School students and staff lined memory lane from the school
door to the bus, many of them holding signs that shared notes of encouragement.
As the missioners carried the bags filled with donated supplies through the
human tunnel, the students touched the bags, signifying that a part of each of
them would travel with the missioners into Honduras.
Don't spend your precious time
asking, "Why isn't the world a better place?" It will only be time
wasted. The question to ask is, "How can I make it better?" To that
there is an answer.
~ Leo Buscaglia
||I will never forget the people of Nueva Capital
and how they have changed my life for the better.
~ Megan Livermore
This team’s mission was to build homes for two extremely poor families in the
Nueva Capital area of Tegucigalpa. Nueva Capital is mainly comprised of families
who had to move to higher ground when Hurricane Mitch destroyed their homes in
1998. Although previous Gehlen Mission Honduras teams had worked on water
projects, this year’s team was unable to do so due to the absence of water
projects in the area to which they travel. The team would work in Honduras from
March 19 – March 28.
Francis Seivert, Julio Rivera, Marta Sosa, and Carlos Chicas met the team at
Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa. Francis had been in Honduras since January
preparing for the team’s arrival, as well as working with various children who
have medical problems. Julio Rivera accompanies Francis throughout Honduras and
is a long-time friend of Mission Honduras LeMars, Gehlen Mission Honduras, and
Then Feed Just One. Marta Sosa, a member of the Cerro de Plata Foundation in
Tegucigalpa, handles the distribution of Then Feed Just One food in Honduras.
She also helped in the planning for the 2014 Gehlen Mission trip. Our bus driver
Carlos has become a trusted friend of Gehlen Mission Honduras over the years. He
is much more than a bus driver for our team, pitching in all aspects of the
trip. This group quickly had the team loaded onto buses and on the way to Nueva
My life is genuinely better because of what I learn from the people
of Honduras. My hope is that I will never stop giving, never stop
and never forget the poor of the world.
~ Linda Reichle
Even with the little bit that they have, the Honduran kids are
happy and grateful.
~ Kyle Hunt
This year’s mission team consisted of Carolyn Bickford (team leader), Linda
Reichle, Sr. Joan Polak, Dave Klein, Janet Klein, James Klein, Pat Jones, Bruce
Kellen, Dan O’Brien, Randy Freking, Corey Sitzmann, Adam Sitzmann, Kennedy
Rolfes, Emily Pratt, Mariah McCarty, Patrick Livermore, Megan Livermore, Colton
Kneip, Michelle Klein, Alex Kellen, Kyle Hunt, Brady Heying, Kelly Full, Sadie
Freking, Rebecca Feller, Miranda Bunkers, and Caroline Ascherl. After arriving
at Santa Teresa de Jesús School, their compound for the trip, the team settled
into their cramped quarters and readied themselves for their 10-day mission.
Each missioner on all Gehlen Catholic mission trips is responsible for all
his/her own costs. To date the Gehlen program has placed 750 missioners (34
different teams) on the ground in the second poorest country in the western
hemisphere. Five other mission programs have been created from Gehlen Mission
Honduras - the Briar Cliff University program in Sioux City, IA; the Sisters of
St. Francis, from Dubuque, IA; the high school mission teams from Springfield
Catholic High in Springfield, MO, St. Thomas More High School, Rapid City, SD,
and Bishop Heelan High School, Sioux City, IA. The Gehlen program, along with
the Briar Cliff, the Sister Water Project, Mission Honduras LeMars, and Rotary
For Life Water Project, have completed 37 water projects to date. Clean
drinkable water, Then Feed Just One food, home building, and professional
medical care, remain the major goals of the Gehlen Catholic program. For more
information on the medical program please visit this same website for the
January medical trips. For more information on Then Feed Just One please visit
www.thenfeedjustone.org. For more information
on Mission Honduras LeMars go to
Seeing that the food they were eating was Then Feed Just One food
that we packed, and knowing that it was the food these kids had to
survive on, was powerful.
~ James Klein
During my trip, I have learned more about who I am as a person and
how much I can really
give of myself.
~ Kennedy Rolfes
Planning for this year’s mission team began during the summer of 2013 when
team leaders met to decide the direction the team needed to take. With the lack
of water projects around the Esquias area and other mitigating circumstances, it
was determined the team would take a new direction, focusing on building homes.
Marta Sosa in conjunction with ACOES located two extremely poor families in the
Nueva Capital area of Tegucigalpa who desperately needed homes. Planning then
began to prepare the team in the task of the home constructions.
The team “lived” at the school, using classrooms as dormitory rooms. Supplies
- such as shovels, paint, construction tools, painting supplies - that the team
used were stored inside their dorm rooms also. Missioners slept on mattresses
that were placed on the floors in the classrooms. The team used the library for
meals, which were prepared each day by our hired cook, Marta. Work days began at
5:30 – 6:00 a.m., allowing the team time to eat breakfast and finish their
chores before beginning the day’s project.
Now that the mission trip is over, I always remind myself that what
I’m taking for granted here, my friends over in Honduras are praying
~ Mariah McCarty
I will never forget stepping into the house and thinking, “This is
honestly what they live in everyday?” I had never seen people so
happy to receive the “necessities” of life.
~ Sadie Freking
The missioners were divided into groups each day to undertake the various
jobs in the area. One group walked to their home construction site which was a
couple blocks from the school. The second construction crew needed a short truck
ride to reach their work site. The other two groups worked inside the school
grounds. One group taught English lessons to students in grades 2 – 4, and the
other group painted school buildings. Each day the missioners were divided into
different groups to allow each missioner to do the various jobs. During the late
afternoons and early evenings the missioners also carried bags of sand and rocks
down the mountainside. Those materials were later used to build a chicken coop
for the school. The missioners also built three picnic tables for the students
to use. After the homes were built, the missioners and families painted the
outside and inside of each home and installed the wiring even if the family did
not have access to electricity presently.
One special day the missioners traveled to a feeding center in Talanga. At
the center poor children in the program are fed a noon meal when they leave
school. These children are taught to pray before meals, to wash their hands
properly, to use proper table manners, and to brush their teeth after eating.
The Gehlen missioners were quite excited to discover that they were feeding
their own Then Feed Just One food, which had been packed in May 2013, to the
children of the center. It was amazing for them to see the food, packed with
their own hands in Le Mars, actually being eaten in Honduras.
I pray for the people of Honduras and I hope those in most need are
getting the food and
the water they need to survive.
~ Janet Klein
There are no words I can say that will begin to let people
understand how God worked in every single one of us during this
~ Caroline Ascherl
The overall Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras ‘Changing
Lives’ program has three main goals for each mission journey into Honduras: to
do a work project of some kind, to immerse themselves into normal Honduras life,
and to experience the poverty that grips so much of this beautiful country and
When the missioners delivered the gift bags to the homes of the Santa Teresa
school children, the poverty was quite apparent to all. The families receiving
the gift bags smiled as the missioners unpacked soap, shampoo, toothbrushes,
toothpaste, lotion, toys, clothes, and shoes and spread them onto a bed for all
to see. Even the bag the items were delivered in was considered a gift to the
family. Seeing the dirt floors and walls of worn boards with gaps between them,
truly gave the missioners an eye-opening look at the reality in which the
Honduran children live each day. The formidable walks the children undertake in
the early morning hours to get to school by 7 a.m. showed how important their
education is to them.
How much time do I spend worrying about trivial
things, while people in Nueva Capital worry about how they are going
to feed their starving children?
Too much, I’m afraid - way too
~ Pat Jones
Although I have witnessed much poverty throughout my years of
mission trips, nothing caught me more off guard than Paola’s
situation. I could not believe the circumstances in which she and her
~ Carolyn Bickford
The 2014 mission team definitely met the goals of their
mission trip. From working diligently on their chosen work projects, to playing
with the children, to participating in liturgies, our team received the
opportunity to see what Honduran life is like. From hand washing their own
clothes in the pila, doing daily chores, and taking one-minute cold showers, our
missioners experienced a little of what life is like for a person in Honduras.
The missioners worked hard at using their Spanish, and many students were happy
to be able to carry on a conversation with someone in Honduras. Many friendships
were forged. Not a single team member was ready to return to the States when the
final day of their trip arrived.
It has become customary for the missioners to return home
with only the clothes are their backs. Team members sorted through all their
personal belongings and stacked them in a designated area in their rooms. These
items will be taken by the ladies and men of Nueva Capital, washed, and
distributed among those who are the neediest. Team members leave not only their
clothing, but their shoes, flashlights, sunglasses, and other items. That alone
says a great deal about the quality of young people with whom we deal in our
On the final day the missioners were given a special
farewell by all the students of Santa Theresa de Jesús School. The Honduran
school children sang special songs for the team. The kindergarten class held up
letters that read God Bless You Gehlen Catholic Mission Honduras. The third
graders presented every missioner with a personal thank you card and a hug of
farewell. It was definitely a tearful farewell, especially when the students ran
to the missioners and gave hugs to everyone they could.
The tired missioners returned home that evening to their
families’ welcome at the Omaha airport. Though all missioners were happy to be
home, every single person shared their wonderful mission experience with all who
would listen. This year’s theme “I’ll Follow You” was lived by each and every
missioner as they lived their mission journey in Honduras. Each day they let
Jesus shine through them as they worked and played among the Hondurans. They let
Jesus shine through as they served their TFJO food at the Talanga feeding
center. They let Jesus shine through as their lives were changed through their
mission work. And they will never be the same.
Click above to browse the March 2014 Trip Photo Album...