Mission Trip Feedback
I a recent Journal entry I mentioned that I’d like to hear about some of your mission trip experiences. Here is what some of you shared.
Shirley A. West: Our mission trip to Pine Ridge is the one that sticks in my mind. I’ll never forget the expressions on the faces of our kids when we drove into that little town and they encountered such deep poverty for the first time in their lives. It was a life changing moment. It so warmed my heart to see how our kids gave of them selves during those days. I’ll never forget it.
Tammy Jacobi: Kemmerer Village Mission trip was life changing. We worked with children and youth who were placed in this facility some as a “Last chance” before jail. The relationships we built and the hope of Jesus’ redemption was extraordinary. The youth lead bible study and discussion groups strengthened our faith and gave great and real meaning to ” The Great Commision”.
Rebecca Hipskand: I will never forget Leonard who we met in West Virginia. He was so thankful for the help we provided him that he cooked us food and made us a CD of Michael Jacksons greatest hits, that Kimberly Snyder and I had been singing all week. It’s truly amazing how we think we are helping them but in reality the things I have learned from mission trips and the compassion in the hearts of people who have next to nothing is a much greater gift then I could ever give to them. I have learned so much from the people I have served who may not know Jesus but have a heart of service much greater then mine, which always encourages me to change the way I do life. I also believe God can build deep relationships with the ones we are serving next to, and I would have never built such strong lifelong relationships had my brothers and I not been invited on a mission trip after our second week visiting Bethany. God seriously works in different but amazing ways through all of us.
Nate Ulery: I was blessed growing up that our congregation sponsored all of the youth who wanted to go on mission trips. The ones most impactful for me were organized by the Society of St. Andrew.
Their phase one trips were centered around the original tithing — gleaning food from fields. We worked in farmers fields, either in the 10% they left for volunteers to harvest or in fields they couldn’t harvest before it went bad. We picked corn, collard greens, potatoes, etc. We also worked with local processors to sort thru the rejected food to separate the rotten, bad food from the simply non-perfect food that is usually thrown out. We then had the opportunity to take food to local shelters and help prepare the meals as well as food banks to give clients the fresh food they seldom receive. To have the experience of working the fields, the education on the amount of food wasted, and the blessing to serve those who need it grounded me in an understanding of how much I have and how small acts can help. Seeing an entire semi truck load of the corn we picked be distributed in two hours at a food bank is something I will never forget.
The phase two program was in Washington DC where we worked in shelters and soup kitchens. The experience of seeing the powerful of this country in the majesty of our capital while working with the homeless, who were often veterans or suffered with addiction colored my views on what it means to be a society that cares for the poor. We also met with our elected representatives to remind them of our collective responsibility to help those who need assistance.
The most powerful memory of the DC trip was the picnic we hosted for families who lived in a shelter. We made food and went to a park and families from a shelter were bused in to enjoy an afternoon away from the violence of the DC inner city. One of our tasks was to take Polaroid photos of the kids and give them to their mothers. This was pre cell phone cameras and these moms didn’t have access to cameras. The appreciation of these moms who wanted a photograph of their child just like all mothers do was another powerful reminder of the inequity of our society and if the things we take for granted.
Later in the afternoon, a family came by on horseback and stopped to take a quick break. We ended up chatting with them and when we told them what we doing they immediately told us to collect the children. They spent the next two hours letting everyone one of those kids take a ride on the horse. This group of kids who live in the inner city and many of whom had never seen a horse in person before squealed in delight to ride the horses. That family will never know the impact they had in those kids, or on me, from that gesture of hospitality and kindness.
Mission trips have left a mark on who I am and who a strive to be. I hope all of our youth have the opportunity to experience the lessons we can never fully teach in the pews or classroom.
Thanks for sharing and remember you can be on mission wherever you live.