During our February break, our Campus Ministry team takes a group of sophomores to Georgia for a service trip to Life Teen’s Camp Covecrest where they help the camp get ready for their summer camps and retreats. Alumnus Aiden Campolettano ’13 served as a summer missionary for the camp during the summer of 2014. Here is a look into his experience and why if you ask him about it, he says “being a Life Teen Summer Missionary was the best experience of my life. I had never experienced so much love until this past summer at Covecrest."
1) What is a Life Teen Summer Missionary and what do they do?
A Life Teen Summer Missionary is first and foremost a humble servant of God. Life Teen Summer Missionaries are college-aged young adults who assist with Life Teen’s summer camps. Summer Missionaries journey with teens throughout a weeklong camp/retreat experience. The primary role of Summer Missionaries is relational ministry. Summer Missionaries share testimonies, supervise recreational activities, encourage community, assist in teambuilding activities, and most importantly pray for the teens.
2) Why did you apply and accept this position?
I applied to be a missionary because I wanted to serve with Life Teen. My high school experience with Life Teen is how I fell in love with the Lord and how I fell in love with my faith. I truly wanted to give back to an organization that I am in love with. I wanted to minister to teenagers who are in the same position that I once was. I wanted to show the teens that they have a God who truly loves them and cares for them; I can confidently say that I was able to get this message across.
3) What are your best memories of the experience?
The first week of camp, I was privileged to journey with a teen named Andrew. Andrew had been to Covecrest the year before as well, but he was not Catholic, he was Baptist. As the week progressed I gradually talked with Andrew more and more. I remember on Tuesday night talking to him for a while about his faith and where he was at. Then, Friday night, Andrew came to me and I prayed over him along with one of my fellow missionaries. Andrew told us that he needed prayers because he was considering converting to Catholicism but he was still scared and uncertain. So, we prayed for him and when we concluded prayer I told him, “Go before your Lord and kneel in humble adoration and simply pray and gaze upon the Lord and give him everything.” We were offering Eucharistic Adoration that night, so Andrew did just that. About an hour later, I found out from one of my fellow missionaries that Andrew came out and told his entire parish that he had decided to convert to Catholicism! This was such a blessing to see how the Holy Spirit was so alive in that moment.
The best part about being a Summer Missionary was being able to watch the teens grow throughout the week. Watching the teens become more vulnerable and truly give themselves to the Lord was so incredibly humbling. Week after week, I witnessed conversion after conversion. I was able to witness hundreds of teens on fire with love for the Lord and it brought me so much joy. There are so many stories and great memories from this summer that it is difficult to pinpoint a few. Every week, every parish, every teen, every moment, and every sacrament: was the best memory from this experience for me.
4) What kind of fruits came out of this mission while you were there?
One of the greatest things that I take away from this mission is community. I was blessed to live and serve in such a loving and faithful community. The people I served alongside are truly my brothers and sisters and I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to have gotten to know them and serve the Lord with them. Another fruit that came out of this mission was a sense of confidence in my own personal vocation and mission. I spent a lot of time dwelling on my mission throughout the summer, and I am so excited for what the Lord has in plan for me. This experience gave me the opportunity to journey with hundreds of teens and walk with them in their personal faith journeys; it also allowed me to grow in my own faith and it truly challenged me to go deeper.
5) Looking back a few months later, how did the experience help you grow in your faith?
At Covecrest, I was blessed to have a constant prayer regiment. Every morning, we would begin our days with an hour in Eucharistic Adoration followed by Liturgy of the Hours. Having the opportunity to begin everyday before my Lord in adoration was such a blessing and helped me fall back in love with the Eucharist. Beginning my days in Adoration allowed for a sense of peace to overcome me; and it really set the tone for the rest of my days. My love for the Eucharist is definitely something this experience helped me regain. Also, this experience continuously showed me the overwhelming power of prayer and how vital prayer is in my personal spiritual journey.
6) What kind of plans do you have for your future to carry on the missionary spirit from Covecrest?
One thing I discovered from serving at Covecrest is that I have been blessed with the gift of joy. I also discovered that my missionary spirit is fully alive when I simply radiate joy. So, I plan on living a joyous life and being fully alive and seeking new ways to serve and love the Lord and others. The missionary spirit from Covecrest calls me to “let my light shine.”
Created on 2/5/2015 - Last updated on 2/11/2015