Mission trips offer life-changing experiences

This story was first published in the Fall 2011 issue of Sunshine magazine.

Photo of Anthony, an MCH resident, during a summer mission tripMission trips are an opportunity for MCH youth to show Christ’s love by sharing their time and talents to help meet needs across Texas.

“For many of our youth, it is the first time they have an opportunity to express the love of Jesus to people in other communities,” said Kim Hammitt, religious education director at MCH. “It is important for us to put our youth in situations that enable them to serve others on mission trips.”

Fourteen youth from the MCH Waco campus and Boys Ranch attended the U.M. ARMY mission trip in Marshall July 17-23. MCH youth were sponsored by Kingwood United Methodist Church and hosted by First United Methodist Church of Marshall. The theme of the mission trip, “Servant,” focused on qualities of service, including courage, perseverance, joy and meeting the needs of others.

Kandaja is a resident on the Waco campus, and this was her first mission trip. Kandaja was part of a group who worked on a house that was falling apart. The house was owned by an 80-year-old man named Bobby, who needed a wheelchair ramp built along with roof repairs.

“I was overwhelmed by the situation and could not believe people had to live this way,” said Kandaja. “The third day we were there, Bobby’s home was robbed. Our group never gave up despite the setbacks. I felt God working in my life. I was so proud of the hard work we had done. Bobby was so appreciative. I felt very happy and did not want to leave.”

Andre, also a Waco campus resident, said his group leader told them they were “abnormal.”

“He said some people would describe us as abnormal because we chose to spend the last week of our summer vacation working in the heat helping those who could not help themselves,” Andre said.

Andre said he enjoyed making new friends, and, most importantly, he had a life-changing experience.

“This was my first mission trip and I did not know what to expect,” he said. “Each morning and night, we had worship and a sermon. On the second night, I was motivated by the youth minister’s words, and when he asked if anyone wanted to accept Christ, I decided I did not want to be alone anymore and stood up.”

Hammitt and other MCH staff who sponsor the mission trips are blessed to witness changed lives as youth meet the needs of others and experience God’s love in a fresh and powerful way.

“Getting out of their comfort zone to serve others in need gives our youth the opportunity to grow spiritually,” Hammitt said. “Our youth may not understand that they have something special and unique to share with others. Mission trips provide the opportunity for them to learn new skills and work with other teenagers who have the same passion to help people in need.”

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