By Matthew Young
Mission Trips are beyond a doubt something spectacular. That being said, not enough people get to experience the full extent of what can be gained from participating in one. I realize because of the recent developments happening around the church, many may find this title a bit misleading. But before moving on, I would urge you to hear a testament from an Arborlawn youth.
For those not familiar with the phrase “Mission Trips,” let me explain the basic idea. This is a journey about a week long taken with fellow Christians in order to spread the word of Jesus through acts of kindness. The trip consists of youth and adults. This year the trip took us to Galveston to help people that were still trying to repair damages done by the hurricane in 2008. The goal is to help those in need and those who have no means of helping themselves. Sometimes it can seem like hard manual labor, but it is important to note that we are not just fixing homes; we are restoring and building new sanctuaries. From building fences, roofing, painting, installing doors, plumbing, or cooking for the workers, there is a job to be done by any skill set and any physical ability.
Each client we help is a person who is in need of some kind of care. They are in need of healing and perhaps need to feel God's presence more at this moment than any other. They need a sanctuary to find respite in. We are the hands and feet, we are the eyes and ears, we are the voices of God's love. We attempt to restore peace of mind through the grace of God by making repairs to their once safe haven. It is an opportunity to share our Christianity and, with each interaction, a chance to grow from our client's expression of the spirit. For one week, Hebrews 12:1 describes our situation quite well: “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”
What one gets from the experience varies greatly from person to person. But for one week we are immersed in a situation that I think Jesus would encourage His followers to experience. For this week we are away from our own distractions, and we are focused on the message that Jesus preached about taking action and helping one another. We worship together, we break bread together, we laugh, we cry, and we strengthen each other. We help each of us build up our personal sanctuary while restoring those of others, where all can retreat and find His grace and His mercy.
[Editor's Note: If you would like to have a group of Student Ministries Mission Trip participants come talk to your group and show slides from the trips, contact Abby Johnson and we can get that set up.]
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