By Melanie Pryor DiBona ('10)
One of the unique trademarks of JRHS is the annual mission trip. Each student will go to 4 different locations throughout their high school years, provided all 4 years were attended at JRHS. Most of the destinations are new to the students traveling there, which provides opportunities to learn. The 4 trips I was part of (in order) were: New York City, Canada, Switzerland and Philadelphia. During each of them I learned skills and made memories that will last a lifetime.
Mission experiences in the US go back to the earliest years at JRHS, and yet, the first international fully mission-based trip was in 2010. I was fortunate enough to be a part of that trip to Switzerland. We stayed at the Don Camillo Center and spent the week rebuilding structures, landscaping, cleaning up trails, and living in fellowship with our gracious Swiss hosts. In between, we ventured out for day trips to the beautiful Swiss cities, and of course enjoyed a delicious pastry at every shop we walked by (which was perfectly acceptable as a Znüni- the Swiss midmorning snack)!
In Christian community, each person uses their gifts and talents to contribute to a purpose- creating a better environment for everyone. The residents at the Don Camillo Center lived this fully, as did our JRHS team. It was incredibly difficult to leave at the end of the week- no one ever wants to leave something good behind.
These experiences are ones I think of often. What stood out to me at each mission trip destination was the immediate impact that we had on the communities we visited, the deep bonds we built with our classmates, and the vibrant examples of people living daily in Christian community with one another, no matter where in the world they were located. Having graduated over 10 years ago now, many of my closest friends are my previous JRHS classmates, and I work daily toward building a Christian community in my life that is modeled after the ones I experienced on the trips.
"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:8-11