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Teens to deliver food, caring

A group from Our Lady of the Rosary plans a mission trip to reach out to Nicaragua's poor.

Published December 30, 2006


LAND O'LAKES - While many teenagers enjoy hanging around with family and friends during the holidays, a group from Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church planned to minister to Nicaragua's poor.

The 15 teens, ages 16 though 19, and six adults were scheduled to leave Friday, with food and supplies for some of the 1,500 people who live in deplorable conditions at the La Chureca, also known as the Managua city dump.

"It is heart-wrenching to see the dump trucks come out and see the people run to them," said Kathy DeSanto, the youth minister at the church.

DeSanto and her husband, Frank, who is the music minister, and their 19-year-old son, Nicholas, will be part of the entourage.

While there, the teens will also work at an orphanage, painting, making repairs and building a sidewalk.

The teens have worked for months to raise the money needed to pay for the trip and to take food and medical supplies to the community.

In addition to her ministry, Kathy DeSanto is a nurse and plans to set up a clinic during their stay to give vaccinations to the children.

Adrian Padilla, 18, who graduated from Wesley Chapel High School in May, saw a video of the dump and decided he had to go on the trip.

"The video was profound," he said. "Here in America we are blinded to what happens in the rest of the world."

He is excited about the trip, but says he has no idea what to expect.

"I hope to bring to the table some of what I know and part of it is for the Lord," he said. "Jesus said clothe and feed my sheep."

At the desolate dump, teeming with the putrid stench of rotting goods and industrial waste, people scavenge for scraps of food and resalable items.

Homes are built out of scrap metal tied with barbed wire. Children search through the trash looking for objects of value to resell.

Out of hopelessness and lack of self-esteem, prostitution thrives and children turn to glue-sniffing.

"This international outreach requires faith the size of a mustard seed, and prayerful support," said Rich Wells, a deacon at the church.

Financial help would also be appreciated for the church's ongoing mission project, which involves sending food and supplies to Nicaragua.

DeSanto believes this will be a life-changing experience for the young people making the trip.

"We have been planning and working on this trip for over five months," she said. "Our pastor, Father Ron Aubin, fully supports our efforts with the teens."

Juliet Martinez, 16, says it is a wonderful opportunity to show people that others care about them.

"My expectation is to go with an open heart and mind," she said. "I am going there for Jesus, to show them his love through me."

To help

Donations for food and supplies for people in Nicaragua can be mailed to Our Lady of the Rosary, with a memo to Mustard Seed Trip, P.O. Box 1229, Land O'Lakes, FL 34639.

[Last modified December 30, 2006, 06:52:32]

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