The excitement is rising as our 6th & 7th grade youth begin packing for our annual mission trip, May 9-11. This year we are going to Minneapolis, MN. (The youth in grades 8-12 will head to Kansas City in July.)
We are partnering with Urban Immersion Service Retreats in Minneapolis. Through them we will learn more about the complexities of poverty, its long lasting effects on peoples’ lives, and the complexity of the solutions, both short- and long-term. We will also be serving with the local community in several ways. Through Neighborhood Involvement Program (www.neighborhoodinvolve.org) we will help the community’s senior citizens with routine home-care. We will also spend time helping at the Crisis Nursery (www.crisisnursery.org) for children from abusive homes, and at the Arc Store helping sort donations. On Saturday, we will join the community and residents of House of Charity for our evening meal.
When I visited First Christian (5 years ago!) before I was called to be your Minister of Family Life, one thing I heard from both the youth and adults is how important the annual summer trip is to everyone. The youth enjoy getting to see new places and trying new things, seeing how others live and love and grow, and helping where there is need. But mostly, I think, they enjoy being together regardless of what is happening – deepening those bonds built during their time together at church and GenOn LOGOS.
I, too, find immense value in these summer mission trip experiences with our youth. And I find that I gain at least as much from the experience as they do. This quote from a blog post I wrote during last year’s trip sums it up well – we had just completed re-packaging over 4 tons of salami in 3 hours (when our youth work, they REALLY work!):
“… where God’s presence was most visible to me was in the heart and the attitude and the relationships of the youth. They get what it means to be one in Christ. They get what it means to serve where the need is great and to do so with a spirit of joy. And they get what it means to serve alongside others not “for” or “to” them. In their ability to tease one another out of their tiredness and encourage one another to finish just a little more, I witnessed their hearts of compassion and their commitment to the Way of Christ. … Today I saw God in the lives and the hearts of our young people and the adults who support them, and I am truly blessed.”
Thank you for your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of the community with which we will serve this weekend – we could not do this without your support.