Last week, members of the Youth Groups from St. Dunstan’s and Epiphany joined together to take their first mission trip. We headed up to Whidbey Island to work with the wonderful people from Ryan’s House for Youth (http://www.ryanshouseforyouth.org/). This organization, led by Lori Cavendar, helps and supports the many homeless teens that live on the island.
When we first started making plans for the trip last October, we thought we would be helping to build a shelter. However, due to the painfully slow permit process on the island, they have not yet started to build. Instead of working on a shelter, we spent time going through their huge storage unit. It was piled to the ceiling with hundreds of pounds of donated clothing, toiletries, kitchen items and so much more. Each day we laid out tarps and sorted through everything. Things were then labeled, packed up, and shelved.
We took time each day for some fun as well. We went up to Fort Casey and flew kites, had a swim party at a local pool, spent time at the beach at low tide and toasted s’mores by the open fire in the evening.
Each evening, we had action/reflection time. We sat in a circle and reflected on what we had done during the day, when we felt God’s presence, how we were making a difference in the lives of others, and more. It was awesome to see and hear how our young people have grown through this experience. We also held compline and shared prayers.
Ryan’s House may decide not to build a shelter. While they have been patiently waiting for things to come together, a really amazing thing has happened. There is an eight bedroom, seven bathroom Bed and Breakfast for sale that is located in central Whidbey. We visited this site and it is awesome. It’s located on 9.5 acres of land complete with horse trails and walking trails. A generous donor has offered to give a substantial amount of money toward the purchase of it and the wheels are in motion. The biggest benefit is that the homeless teens would immediately have a place to live and not have to wait for a shelter to be built.
Our heartfelt thanks to the people of St. Augustine’s in the Woods for their warm hospitality, caring and for hosting us. We look forward to our next visit with you.
Time will tell whether Ryan’s House builds, or whether they get the Bed and Breakfast and turn it into a youth shelter. Either way, our youth and the youth from Epiphany and St. Augustine’s will be involved. Everyone wants to continue this work. Our mission will continue.
Mary E. Pacher
(Pictures in the artical are from http://www.ryanshouseforyouth.org/ accessed on August 1, 2013)