This year’s Youth Mission trip was to the Heifer International Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts. While at the farm, the youth rose early to do farm chores and throughout the week complete service projects. What was exciting was to see how, without complaining, every youth faced each project, big or small. Our large service project was to shovel all the waste in the pig pen into the center of the pen
on our warmest day at Heifer. The pen was BIG and about 2-3 feet deep. The youth shoveled for 2 hours without grumbling. This was impressive considering we were the smallest group. The other groups had to move small pieces of wood or dig holes for poles.
Another area of complaint might have been the meals. They were all made from ingredients grown or raised on the farm. Two examples are brownies made with beets, and lasagna with zucchini replacing the noodles. The youth ate all without whining! A few even ate 2nds and 3rds!
Our youth were very thoughtful in all their conversations, respectful, and we all learned from the life experiences they each brought to the table. Tom Walton and I were sometimes the students at this table. Below you will find their closing thoughts and what they each wanted to share. We look forward to a future opportunity to share even more!
Heifer international was not only about a relaxing time, it was about the experience for my friends and me. The first day was getting to know everyone and having responsibilities for the larger community. Second day was getting farm chores and doing fun learning activities. The third day we got to participate in a really fun activity. We got to sleep in the Global Village which was basically a trailer where we all received different roles. We got to learn how to make different meals and we got to make our own dinner. We got to live like how people lived back then. On Wednesday we got to go back to our cabin, milk a goat and then we got to help out in a garden. The rest of the night we all took time off from electronics and played outside which was fun. Heifer was a fun learning experience.
Heifer was a really fun learning experience for me. On the first day we got there, it was really just an introduction to the place. We unpacked all of our stuff and got a tour of the different villages. We slept in a cabin. There were 8 beds. Each person got a bed and it was really comfortable. On the third day we went to the different villages. Some homes in the village didn’t have a single bed, so you had to use a sleeping bag or the ground. Luckily we got Appalachia, USA. It had 4 bunk beds and 2 cots. Hannah, McKenzie, Matthew, Jillian and myself slept in the bunk beds and Tom and Mary slept in a cot. When we got back from the village into our cabin, it was like “Home, Sweet Home!” Yesterday was the best because we got to make cheese and we were outside for three hours just playing. No electronics, just catching a frisbee and playing basketball. The one thing I learned is to be thankful for what you have, because back then and even now, some people don’t have enough money to get food and stuff. It’s good to be very thankful for what you have because you need to make the best out of it.
Heifer was an amazing experience that I think should be shared with everyone. Heifer does great work for people who are living in poverty. People can donate and buy animals for people. They send training that shows people how to care for their animals or crops. This organization helps educate, feed and train people all over the world. It is very important and I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world.
My favorite moment at Heifer International was at the Global Village when we got the fire started in under 10 minutes so we could cook dinner. This was such an achievement because that afternoon when we made lunch, it took us about an hour to start the fire! That was my favorite moment at Heifer.
In the beginning I thought this trip was going to be a “get it over with” trip. Instead I learned about poverty, and hunger, and how to be a part of the solution. It made me realize that I am very lucky to be a part of this group with Tom and Mary. If it weren’t for Mrs. Mary then I wouldn’t be the caring person I am today. I believe that this was a mission trip that I will forever remember.