In a few days I will be leading another mission trip with some middle school youth. I get lost on how many I’ve been on. This trip is a return to an area where I began full time ministry – Cincinnati, Ohio. I actually worked in Northern Kentucky at a small parish. I was involved in Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogs, Men’s Homeless Shelter, and a variety of other programs of outreach. This trip will take us to the Ohio side of the river. Sleeping on the floor is not my idea of a great way to spend a week but it is amazing to watch the transformation of the youth as they encounter poverty and the challenges of life that they have not experienced before. That changes me – and I love that.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for their’s is the kingdom of heaven.” I guess we are all poor in spirit at times, yet, poverty is a significantly different state when folks are hungry or homeless. I always feel as though I am rich when I come back from these trips with the kids and adult sponsors. We are shaped more by this week than we shape those we serve. So here is my challenge to my readers as I go on my mission trip next week.
“DO A MINI MISSION WHERE YOU ARE.” Try to do an act of mission wherever you live. Take food to a shelter or food bank, write a check, visit a nursing home, go through your closet and give away some gently used clothing, go buy some shoes for kids in elementary school, visit the Red Cross web site or Mercy Corps and see how you could help. Oh, and pray for us as we take these kids to work first hand with folks who are experiencing the hardships of poverty.