Jul 13 2014

2014 Heifer Farm Mission Trip

Many of you may be familiar with Heifer International which provides animals and community training to help provide sustainable assistance to those around the world who experience poverty. St. Andrew’s has supported Heifer on several occasions over the past several years by helping in the purchase of animals. Although we donate to this program and provide support for other programs that help those who are homeless or living in poverty, it is still hard to understand what it might be like to live in a situation like that. Heifer Farm is one of several places in the United States that helps participants experience the daily struggles people in poverty face every day. (More information about Heifer can be found at their website.)

On July 14th at 8:30 am, thirty people from St. Andrew’s will travel north to Rutland, MA, to Heifer Farm. We will be travelling in three vans, driven by Chuck Hill, Ann Wright, and Tom Tabar. We will stop half way to the Farm at a park and eat our lunch. We will arrive at Heifer Farm in time to settle into our 8 person tents (yes – we do have a shower and bathhouse close by) and have dinner.

Our day will begin with chores such as helping on the farm and taking care of animals or the gardens. We will then participate in programs that provide an understanding of the complications of hunger and poverty including preparing one of our own meals from a country represented. The week will conclude with an overnight in the Global Village where we will experience life in a developing country. Those that have attended this event in the past have never forgotten this life changing experience.

A year ago the trip was just an idea. The Youth Ministry Advisory Team wanted to offer a mission trip to the youth of the church. Heifer Ranch, where some of our church members had attended in the past is in Arkansas, was too far away and costly (not to mention too hot in the summer). A special thank you to Ann Wright who mentioned that she thought there was one in Massachusetts. Sure enough, a quick Google search revealed that we could indeed make the trip to Heifer Farm. We never dreamed that 30 people would be going.

Now as we near our travel date, some of us are counting the days, some of us are wondering what we got ourselves into, some of us are trying to figure out what to pack to work on a farm, and some of us are excited to re-experiencing a trip that meant so much to us as a youth. Everyone, however, can be proud of the activities that have led to this event. We have made candy, hoagies, and baked goods. We have washed cars, sold pretzels, and served dinner. We have helped by donating time, money, and talent to these events and to the Auction and Chili-Cook Off. Now we are ready to share with each other the experience of Heifer Farm.

As we make our final preparations, I would like to thank all of those in the Congregation who have made donations, attended fund raising activities, helped out at the fund raising activities, and supported those of us who will be going on the mission trip to Heifer Farm. We have 30 people attending the event which is very exciting. That means the trip costs a total of $9,730.00, including transportation. We have asked each participant to pay a deposit of $50.00, and have attempted to raise all the funds so that no one would be turned down due to inability to pay. We received several donations plus raised a significant amount with fund raising. At this time I am waiting total amounts from our last two fund raisers but I am delighted to report that we estimate a shortfall of approximately only $900. This is an impressive example of the movement of the Spirit in our Congregation to support our MIssion to understand and serve those who are experiencing poverty throughout the world. If anyone would like to make donations at this time to help us meet our goal, it would be appreciated. Your donations can be marked as Heifer Farm and placed in the offering or given directly to a member of the Youth Ministry Advisory Team.

I am so proud of our Church, the Youth Ministry Advisory Team, our Youth Groups, and all those who will be attending the Trip. I look forward to a great week and want to again thank all of you for supporting our Trip.

Karen Peterson