Canton Mission Trip Changes Lives–Those Served and Those Who Serve


Frannie Wied, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“Out of the twelve trips I’ve done, this was definitely one of the most impactful,” said Campus Minister Daniel Kriegl on the mission trip he took to Canton, Mississippi, with NDA students over spring break. 

Kriegl was accompanied by Father Jordan and one other adult, a parent. There were 15 students present, five juniors and 10 seniors. 

The mission trip is through Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty (or MadCAAP for short), and a unique aspect of the trip is the variety of service options that students have to choose from during the week. 

“Our kids get to do a little bit of everything,” described Kriegl. There is a food pantry that has almost a mile-long line of people that need food. Students have the option to help feed people through the pantry or to work in the garden to provide fresh vegetables to people in need. They can also participate in home repairs or interact with and help people with everyday needs.  

One of the standout moments of the trip was building a porch for an older man named Malcolm. He lives in a house without running water or electricity, and the foundation was falling through, but they were able to build him a porch that he could be proud to sit on. 

“For Malcolm, his world changed. We built this porch for him, but people cared for him.  It’s empowering. That’s what Christ wants us to do for one another,” said Kriegl. 

When the group finished building his porch, he took a lawn chair, cleaned it and sat on it. Kriegl described him as “sitting on a throne.”

“He has a nice property that he has worked for, and he has a shelter there that works. We have a great throne for him there, and this is what Christ is all about,” said the campus minister. 

Kriegl’s goal for the trip is that students would come away from it with lifelong memories and a memory of what it means to build the kingdom of God. He says that “building the kingdom of God” is such an abstract term, but you can really get to know it during the week in Canton, Mississippi. 

“Everyone is in a place focused on helping people in growing their faith. When you take this week, you fully escape and focus on Christ and building his kingdom in a true sense. It’s not just what we do for the people, it’s how we interact with them,” he said. 

During the trip, the group goes to mass every morning, participates in stations of the cross, does devotionals in the morning and evening, and also includes things like praying the rosary and Chapel of Divine Mercy. At night, everyone does a reflection, and the students interact with each other and hear about their different experiences, bonding in the process.  

“The kids grow as a community. They will always remember their Canton group. They’ll remember the dignity of the person,” said Kriegl. 

As soon as Kriegl arrived in Mississippi, he knew that it was going to be an unforgettable trip–from the 75-degree weather that welcomed them to the sun that was setting at the perfect golden hour. 

“We all just felt like a million bucks. I knew it was going to be an unbelievable trip,” he said. 

When Kriegl shared a photo on social media in the garden from this year’s trip, a student who attended almost 10 years ago commented on how they were working on the same garden beds they built on his trip in 2014. 

This is just one example of how the work that they do is lasting and truly impacts the people. These lifelong memories that Kriegl hopes the students take away are still surviving in students who have long graduated from NDA.