Rafy Piscopo, a Life Teen missionary, and Portland teens Maddie Ruff and Elizabeth Valle help clean up a property as part of a weeklong mission trip. (Courtesy Life Teen)
Rafy Piscopo, a Life Teen missionary, and Portland teens Maddie Ruff and Elizabeth Valle help clean up a property as part of a weeklong mission trip. (Courtesy Life Teen)
This summer a group of 10 teens from St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Southeast Portland spent a week in rural Georgia assisting the local community and growing their relationship with God.

“Their eagerness to dive deeper into their faith, in only seven days, surpassed any of the core team members’ expectations,” said Jason De Leon, a youth minister at St. Joseph. Along with De Leon, fellow youth minister Lisa Velazquez and Father Ted Prentice, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, participated in the trip.

Hosted by Life Teen, an international Catholic youth ministry, the young missionaries stayed at a camp in Hidden Lake, Georgia, while assisting community members with landscaping, cleanup and other tasks.

The experience strengthened relationships among peers and helped the teenagers gain new tools to overcome adversity and anxiety, said De Leon. It also offered a “spiritual reset,” he added, allowing them to start “on a more enlightened path when returning home.”