Youth Mission Trip

By Jeffery Link
In eLetter
Back to Blog

I love my youth group. I have a good group of friends, love my leaders and pastors, and just feel like it has a very positive and fun vibe. I come every week that I am able to and love going to the extra events whether that be fun youth nights, fall retreat, church camp, or mission trip.

This summer I had the pleasure of going on the mission trip to New Orleans. It was my first trip, and mission trip is now by far my favorite youth event. I feel like you can just feel God’s presence throughout the trip. One of my favorite parts about the trip was when I realized how much I was getting out of serving people. Sometimes serving can be just as impactful on the server as the person being served. For example, one of the days we served at a senior living center and for part of the time our job was to talk to the residents about their life, hobbies, or anything really. I got paired up with this woman who was in a chair bed and who was one of the most interesting people I've met. Unfortunately, she had a severe memory loss condition so any impact I made on her might have only been short term. But that didn't change the massive impact she made on me! Because of her memory loss, our conversation went in circles, and she didn't always remember if she had said something or not. She was a Christian, and during our twenty-minute conversation she brought up God and religion about five times. You could tell that it was something at the forefront of her mind. I will always remember the impact that she made on me.

A different way that I saw God was through Pastor Cortina’s morning Bible studies. On the last day, he led us through the story of Job. Because I’ve grown up in the church, the story was familiar to me. I was sad for Job because he lost everything, but at the time it didn't make that much of an impact on me. But the day was not over. This was our exploration day, and we went to the Whitney plantation, one of the biggest sugar cane plantations in the United States. I learned more about slavery than I ever knew before, and the grief and sadness of it all was just brutal. At one point it struck me that these slaves were a lot like Job. And yet a lot of them became Christians and kept the faith throughout their lives. I realized if Job and the slaves trusted God even though they lost everything, then me and my first-world problems were nothing compared to that. God has blessed me with an amazing family, awesome friends, and all of my basic necessities filled. I have no reason to complain and in fact I need to praise God in everything I do.

The last thing I want to talk about is the community that I built. I knew everyone on the middle school trip and was pretty close friends with some of them, but now I feel like I could go to anyone with anything I want to talk about. We became a close-knit group that could work hard when we needed to, goof off and hang out together, and yet also get into deep conversations in very holy moments.

I want to tell anyone who has reservations about going on a mission trip, maybe because they don't really know everyone or they think that it’s all work and no play, that this mission trip was one of the most fun and impactful experiences of my life so far.

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