Idaho State trip in the Idaho Catholic Register


St. John’s group, ISU, does alternative spring break trip in Mexico

By Jennifer Seaich For the ICR POCATELLO — Students from the Saint John’s Catholic Student Center at Idaho State University, Pocatello, spent their Spring break in Tijuana, Mexico, participating in an alternative spring break trip with Capstone Missions in Jerome.

The Saint John’s van, a donated 1997 Plymouth Voyager with badly peeling paint and 150,000 miles, caravanned with trucks from Capstone, planning stops for gas and bathroom breaks by walky-talky on the 16-hour drive through Nevada and Southern California.

While many spring break road trips with friends culminate with parties, shopping, and sight-seeing, the students of Saint John’s repaired walls, painted many dorm rooms and laid a tile floor for a children’s play room at Verdad y Vida, a shelter for single mothers, many victims of incest, as well as laying the foundation for a house that had burned down in a Colonia and painting several rooms at the St Joseph’s Orphanage for disabled children. The orphanage was the home base where most of the missioners stayed, all the women in one dorm room with six tiny beds and an air mattress.

“I am so proud of these students and their willingness to sacrifice their own spring breaks to help others,” said Campus Minister Jennifer Seaich. “Our church teaches us that we can not love Jesus without loving our neighbor as he commanded, and they (the students) lived that all this week. These experiences are why campus ministry is so essential to the future of the church. I cannot wait to see what these students will do in the future.”

In the midst of all they accomplished, the students found time for fun. One night after dinner, the children at St Joseph’s brought out their music and held a dance, and all of the visitors joined in, even when it was time for the chicken dance or the Macarena. There were also basketball games with the children at the orphanage and the shelter. The students let the kids, eager for attention, climb on them and played games of chase with them.

Most of the time was spent in hard work though, and at the end of every long day, the spring break work crews returned to the orphanage dirty; covered in paint, grout, or concrete, exhausted hungry; and happy to compare stories.

Saint John’s Student Elysia Lora said “I really enjoyed this trip because I saw life in a whole new way, and I learned to appreciate the many blessings we have. St. Johns group did a great job, and we had a blast getting to know our new friends and religious leaders in Tijuana, Mexico. I thank the groups St. Joseph’s and Verdad y Vida for their generosity and hospitality.”

Capstone Missions is a group of Idaho Lay Catholics that builds and improves houses with volunteer labor and provides direct financial support to key ministries in Tijuana, Mexico. The organization partners with other Catholics ministering in Tijuana in the spirit of Mother Teresa and Dorothy Day in providing the needs of the most impoverished. One of the goals is to provide cross-cultural service opportunities for volunteers, especially young adults. For more information on future trips see the website: or contact Debby Miciak, Twin Falls, 733-1187.