|I LOVED this mission theme!|
I started going to church (because I chose to) in tenth grade. My family was very culturally Christian, but we’d not consistently attended a church, and many of the Christians that I had known at school tended to be fake or judgmental. Then, in the fall of my tenth grade year, I started dating this guy who was really active in his youth group. At the beginning of the school year there was a terrible hurricane that flooded much of the lower regions near the church, in an area called Guinea (filled with fast talking Guinea bubbas). When school was canceled for a few days due to the storm, my boyfriend (at the time) mentioned that he was doing community service with his church. I decided that I was bored and wanted to participate; I have always loved helping. Getting to know the youth leader, and many of the students in that non-threatening manner made me want to attend the youth group and the fall retreat where I asked Christ into my life.
|My mom moving a heavy washer w/ the Pastor in the rain!|
For this reason, my first mission trip (that summer of 2004), which was a hometown trip in Guinea, has a very special place in my heart. Reflecting from the vantage point of a future youth worker, it was a great opportunity to involve the entire church. Many of the adults helped and participated, the Pastor even helped to moved damaged items to the waste center! The youth spent the nights in a nearby school gym.
Its funny to think about how little I knew as a Christian then. The different types of ministry were backyard Bible schools, servant evangelism, and construction. I ended up on a backyard Bible school team, which meant we did that in the morning, and in the afternoon we would provide services like car-washes window washes, giving out water at the beach, picking up trash along the side of the road, and other types of things.
|Me (on the right) with a teammate.|
In some ways, thinking back about it, I really had no idea what I was doing….I remember telling a flannel graph story to a bunch of kids…and I was teaching it to them with thought provoking questions the way that they did in the youth group…and during a servant evangelism time where we were washing windows at a gas station someone asked why we were doing this. (Obviously…this is what everyone doing servant evangelism hopes for….) Instead, I said “oh, just because” with a funny grin on my face. Then, another one of the older youth said something like, “Actually, we are doing this because we are from UBChurch and we want to show you the love of Christ” (and I knew this…but I don’t think I quite grasped that was the perfect moment to blatantly share the truth).
|Pictures from one of the construction teams.|
I think overall only a two people (that we know of) received Christ through that endeavor, so many of the youth considered it small compared to other mission trips that they had participated in, but I learned a lot from that trip!