#Bracelet Story from Sabrina Braunlich

The San Lucas Mission has a history of distributing bracelets to visitors upon their departure. Visitors are encouraged to gift two of the three bracelets to friends or family back home and tell about their experience in San Lucas. Earlier this year, we asked you to tell us your #BraceletStory. What happened to you bracelets? Who did you give them to? What stories did you tell? Each Friday this month, we’ll share with you one #BraceletStory we received.

Written by Sabrina Braunlich. Sabrina visited the Mission with St. Mary Catholic Center High School in 2012. 

Going to a Catholic high school, service is something that is a part of your life whether you want it or not. However, going on a service trip to San Lucas, Guatemala during the summer of 2012 changed service from just being a part of my life to my passion. The teacher that led the trips had developed a relationship with the parish, so I had two weeks of a great group that worked together well. We made cement, we went out on Lake Atitlan, we met some of our sponsor kids, we played soccer with some locals, and so much more. Each night, I found I was so sore from the work but so entirely happy. On the last day, I found someone selling some of the Guatemalan bracelets and bought a few which ended up being some of the few physical things I brought back. That colorful bracelet is the little reminder of the life-changing time I had. Since that day I bought it, that bracelet was on my wrist through sports games, prom, my high school graduation, funerals, weddings, moving into college, stressful nights studying, internships, all the way up until just last summer. I wore that bracelet every single day because it was a little reminder to have a “me third” life. God first, others second, me third. As I went to college, service maintained a top priority even despite my strenuous undergraduate program. I found it was the ‘refresh’ button that I needed. I ended up getting heavily involved in our Habitat for Humanity campus chapter where I went on the spring break service trip for three out of the four spring breaks. Additionally, I ended up leading the last two as I became an officer in charge of organizing the spring break. By developing and leading the trips, I wanted to share with others how service can change your life just as it changed mine. Looking back now, I have met the love of my life, some of my best friends, people from all over the world and some of the happiest people on service trips. Every time someone asks me about my (not so bright anymore) blue bracelet, I get to talk about one little town in San Lucas, Guatemala that has shaped me to be the person that I am today. The only reason I don’t wear my bracelet now is because it started to tear so it hangs in my room instead. Someday I want to return to Guatemala whether it is on an alumni trip with my high school, solo trip or my honeymoon. That town holds a special place in my heart. On every Habitat build site, in every food drive, in every service trip, I have learned more and more about myself and what it means to be full of life. And for that, I am forever grateful.

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