All for One: Orthodox Senior High Youth Mission Trip to Tennessee

 JOHNSON CITY, TN -- The Orthodox Youth Mission team is in Johnson City, Tennessee this week to participate in the Appalachian Service Project. Father Luke Mihaly of Holy Trinity in Danbury, CT along with 4 other adult leaders and 11 teens from the parishes of Holy Trinity Danbury, CT, St. John's Mill Hill Avenue, Bridgeport, CT, Holy Trinity Yonkers, NY, St. Barbara's Orange, CT and St. Alexis in Clinton, CT are in Johnson City, TN to work from July 7-15, 2012.

The Appalachian Service Project (ASP) had been in existence for over 40 years. Each summer, teen volunteers travel to West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee to help some of the poorest people in our country repair their homes. They will spend the week working to fulfill ASP's mission of making homes "warmer, safer, and drier."

In the last few weeks, the team has undergone construction training on the safe use of power tools and ladders, how to cut, tape and mud sheet rock, hammer, paint, drill and other basic construction skills. They also spent a work day completing projects such as installing new windows, putting in a laminate floor, repairing sheet rock and digging a drainage ditch.

But repairing homes is only part of the mission work these teens and adults will be doing. ASP is "a relational ministry with carpentry on the side." Each crew on the team will work on the home of one family for the whole week and building relationships with them is as important as rebuilding the homes they live in. During their week in Tennessee, the Orthodox Youth Mission Team will stay in a center with groups from at least 2 other churches, living in community where, in addition to the construction work for our families, everyone must pitch in to keep the center clean and running smoothly. ASP staff oversees the center and will supervise all construction work and fill the evenings with cultural and devotional programs.

Preparing for this important work began back in October. In addition to the obvious construction skill training, teens and adults have spent time learning about the area we'll be traveling to, what the lives of the people we'll be helping are like and developing sensitivity to differences in our lives while strengthening our unity in Christ. Each year ASP chooses a theme based in scripture and this year it's "all for One," taken from 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6: "There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone." The group has spent time prayerfully studying and discussing this verse and contemplating what gifts and talents we each possess and how to best use them according to God's will.

The youth have also spent time fundraising to pay for the trip which will cost a little over $10,000 in travel and accommodation expenses and supplies for the work we will be doing.

We are excited to bring this opportunity to put faith in action to the teens in our parishes and ask that you remember us in your prayers as we go on our mission trip. If you would like to learn more about this program, visit the ASP website at If you have questions or have youth that might be interested in participating in next year's mission trip, contact team leader, Susan Sulich at or Father Luke at