Jackie Rinkus’ El Salvador Trip Experience

In the summer of 2013, my mother dragged me along with her on a mission trip to El Salvador. I fought her long and hard for many days because I just didn’t want to go. However, I did not realize how big of an impact the trip would have on my life. Now, in the summer of 2016, I am on the plane returning from my second trip to El Salvador. Not only was I lucky enough to spend this trip with my mother, but I was able to share this experience with some of the lovely people of St. John’s parish. In one short week, we all formed a very tight bond. It is a trip like this that will have the biggest impact on you, and make you want to tell your experiences with everyone you can.

On any normal vacation, you do not get the opportunity to meet native people and really learn the culture. You don’t get to spend the time talking to the children and making those bonds. Yes, I had a great time doing the construction work, such as digging holes and cutting grass with a machete, but the most satisfying part to me was getting all of those hugs from the people who were so happy to see us. When you think of poverty, you may think of it as the group of people you’re making food for at the soup kitchen, or as the group of people who will receive the money you donate to. When I think of poverty, I think of each and every person I met while I was on this trip. I think of Fatima at the orphanage, or the little girl Jennifer that I donated my backpack to so that she could go to school. I think of each and every person I met while I was down there, and I make a vow to myself that I will try to be more appreciative. I know that they do not have much, but they are the most grateful people I have ever met. If these children are so happy to have the littlest things, then I should be ecstatic over what I have.

I cannot wait for the day that I will be able to make my third trip down there. It is one of the most emotionally satisfying things I have ever done in my life. I am absolutely blessed to have participated in this mission trip and I cannot wait to share my experience with others.

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary - Georg Friedrich Stettner

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary – Georg Friedrich Stettner


El Salvador Mission Trip

We will be returning home this week from our trip to El Salvador with the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart. We thank you for your support of this mission and for all your prayers. Stay tuned – we will be sharing with you what happened on our amazing trip in the next couple of weeks!

Vacation Bible School 2016

Now is the time to register your children for Vacation Bible School August 8-12 here at St. John’s! The theme we are using for this year’s program is Birthday Blast A Celebration of Life! Our traditional Vacation Bible School will take place for our K-6th grade youth while our 7-12 grade youth work as camp counselors. In addition, there will be a Pre-K program new this year to the program developed by Grace Piznar as her Gold Award Project. This program will follow along with the same theme as the traditional VBS, but the schedule and activities have been developed by Grace and she has a team working to implement this program during the week as well with her. The Pre-K portion is limited to 20 children for this first year. To register or reach out with any questions about VBS, you can contact Maria at youthministries@stjohnpa.org and Grace at gracejpiznar99@gmail.com. The VBS week runs from 9am-12:15 each day, ending with a group luncheon on Friday, August 12. The cost for the Pre-K program is free and the cost for the traditional program is $50 per child with a $100 maximum per immediate family.

Open Gym Nights

Our next group of Open Gym Nights are back! On Tuesdays, July 19 and 26, we will have Open Gym Nights for our 6th-8th grade youth from 6-8 pm and for our 9th-12th grade youth from 8-10pm in the Parish Center. Bring your friends and come out to meet new people and play some games during these fun summer months!