Sisters support Nebraska parishes’ mission to Haiti

August 14, 2014 by

Dear Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia, Kansas,

Your support of our Families in Faith mission trip to Haiti (July 10-16) was so appreciated. It is difficult to find all the right words to describe how life-changing this trip actually was. All 24 participants truly enjoyed their trip and will remember this trip and its lessons for years to come.

Sister Julie Christensen colors with two of the Haitian girls.

Sister Julie Christensen colors with two of the Haitian girls.

Your gift has so blessed our community, in allowing us to form a relationship with Sacred Heart’s sister parish, St. Raphael. We hope this relationship grows and is fruitful for a long time. We have also now drawn in the participation of our other two parishes, St. Michael’s (Spalding) and St. Theresa’s (Ericson). Your gift helped to support this participation as well as the participation of our pastoral associate, Sister Pat Eichner of your community, and our new pastor, Father Matt Koperski.

We were able to bring participants from all three parishes, as well as three different age groups. We brought eight high school students, six young adults (college age) and eight adults. Our group was a wonderful mix and such a blessing!

Thank you so much for your financial support! And for allowing us to borrow Sister Julie Christensen for a week!

Please read on for comments on the trip from three of our participants (one from each age group)


Maggie Smith, Director of Faith Formation
Sacred Heart Parish. Greeley, Neb.


JAMI NEKOLICZAK, young adult, college senior:

My trip to Haiti is one that will always stay close to my heart. But yet when people ask me, “How was your trip to Haiti?” I find myself at a loss of words. I usually answer with cliché answers like, “Awesome,” “God is everywhere,” “Beautiful.” Then after these people walk away, I shake my head and think, “That’s all you told them about Haiti. Nice work Jami.” But when truly thinking about the right way to answer this question, my mind draws a blank.

My six days in Haiti are ones that I will never be able to fully describe to others. It was amazing, inspiring, full of love, and one of the biggest eye opening experiences of my life. Every moment of the trip I found myself running into God’s love whether it be in the music we were singing, in prayer, in fellowship with our group, on long bus rides, or in the eyes of an innocent child. God truly is everywhere. I pray that every person can have the opportunity to go on a mission trip like this.


KAITLYN CARRAHER, youth, high school sophomore:

Haiti was a blessing I’m glad was able to experience. As Tom (Nekoliczak) told us, “It’s not what we gave to Haiti it’s what they gave to us.” Being on this trip was an eye opener to see how God can be in our lives no matter what situation we are in. The Haitians showed me even the simplest life can make you happy. It’s not about what we have or who has the most it’s about our love for Jesus Christ and the people in our lives.

The Haitian children prove to be much better at soccer than the Nebraska volunteers.

The Haitian children prove to be much better at soccer than the Nebraska volunteers.

My most remembered moments I had is the time I spent with all the children and our late night meetings/activities with our group. The children were something so unique. Their smiles and attitudes could light up a room; you couldn’t help but smile being around them. To top each day off was our group meetings and activities after supper. If it was “Redneck Soccer” (a game made up by our group because we were really horrible at actual soccer) or singing songs and making jokes it was always such a joyful time! The games may have gotten insane at times but we always had the smiles from ear to ear. In the end of the day our meetings are what topped each great day. Starting with prayer and singing songs just made the meetings much more special. We talked about where we saw God that day or just how we were feeling. As the days went on we grew as God’s disciples and came closer as friends. Those 7 days are something that will never be forgotten. From the planes rides to eating some strange foods to just laughing over random things, I enjoyed every single second of it. Even though it came to an end I’m glad God choose the group he did to go because I couldn’t have imagined the time we spent any better. Thank you for everyone who sent their prayers and support on our trip to serve God in Haiti.



We made this Haiti mission trip to help our Greeley Sacred Heart’s sister parish, St. Raphael with construction and bible school. Turns out, they helped us to see that a simpler life, free from USA distractions, brings one closer to God.

Arriving at the Port au Prince airport, a 1970ish school bus was our mode of transportation for the 3 hour trip to the St. Raphael compound, high in the mountains. Within the compound, we had the luxury of beds, clean water, electricity and Haitian cooks, unlike the local residents who had none of this.

Our first purpose was to build the foundation of two new classrooms, with human chains moving 30 pound rocks and buckets of cement. Ours second purpose was to build relationships with the local children through songs, crafts and games. We were successful with both of these projects.

This was an awesome experience and so thankful to be a part of it.



One Response to “Sisters support Nebraska parishes’ mission to Haiti”

  1. loretta jasper on August 15th, 2014 6:55 am

    What a wonderful experience and heart stretching for each volunteer. Life is never the same as a result of stepping beyond one’s comfort zone.

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