Hi everyone! I'm your guest blogger for this week! The first one actually! My name is Megan Bockelman and Lynda asked me to write on her blog this week about the mission trip I went on with our church last week (see previous blog post for details). The technical difficulties last week, not being able to post to Facebook, would usually have been delegated to me. But since I was on the mission trip Lynda didn't want to bother me about it. So here I am! First off, you should know that I'm the behind the scenes tech person for this website and blog! I think Lynda has mentioned me before in an earlier post. 😊 I handle all the back-end work, updating the site, and answering all of Lynda's questions! It's nice to finally talk to you all directly!
I have attended our church since I was a baby and I became a member when I was in about 7th or 8th grade through our confirmation class. (Lynda was my spiritual mentor!) I have been attending our youth group since about the same time, but I aged out last year when I graduated from high school. Since then, I've continued my work with the church and the youth group as a sound and technology person during worship times and gatherings. In addition, I now serve as an adult leader on field trips, mission trips, and also during regularly scheduled youth fellowship. This past trip was my 4th mission trip with our church and it was just as amazing as always. It was really interesting to view things from the perspective of an adult leader rather than a youth participant though. It's so amazing to see how God is working in these students' lives and in the lives of the Team Effort leaders.
Our youth worked on two different sites, just one mobile home apart. The first site added a smaller deck extension onto an existing deck while the second site (where I worked primarily) built a deck attached to the side of the owner's mobile home. There had been a group at our site during the previous week, so each of our groups built the floor, ceiling, railings, and stairs off of the foundations that were built the week before. It was fun and challenging work at times, especially considering the fact that we had to battle the rain almost every day we were there!
I was able to see the youth working together on building porches at our two sites, even during the rain most of the time! It was great watching how patient and loving they were with one another, even when things got difficult or time consuming. In addition, I got to see them at free time enjoying each other, playing together, talking, as well as pouring their heart out during worship at chapel. I love seeing the youth experience the same things that I did for many years, and how a trip like this can really provide a spiritual rejuvenation in their walks! I hope I am able to serve the youth group for many more years and continue to watch the youth of our church grow! 😊
Here is a link showing the youth of our church talking about the trip! Also included at the end of the video is the PowerPoint presentation that was made with pictures from the trip.
The original post this morning did not make it to FB... possibly "operator error," but in my experience there have also been glitches. That being said, I hope you'll take a look at the original posted earlier today.
"Take me where love is needed." ~Unknown
Sunday afternoon (yesterday) fifteen youth and seven adults from our church headed out for a week on the 2018 Youth Mission Trip. Each one sported this year's "official" shirt printed with the goal and inspiration. On the front it simply said, "Go. Serve. Love." The back quoted Galatians 5:13 - "Use your freedom to serve one another in love." (NLT) Their destination was near Altoona, Pennsylvania where they will be God's hands and feet. Next Sunday will be devoted to sharing their experiences and how God used them, along with a slide show of their week. The details will be specific to this trip and their experiences, but some things tend to be the same each year for the kids who go. I've seen Youth Mission trips:
~create a lasting and often strong sense of community among the youth, as well as with the adults who have come alongside them. Everything they do, they do together - traveling, working, eating, playing, staying up late, waking up tired, etc.
~help kids see beyond their own world. They may have never before experienced the real way others may live - below the poverty level, in a small town, in an inner-city, on a reservation, etc.
~take kids out of their comfort zones to learn new things. They may need to work on building projects, painting, playing with young children, conducting VBS, serving meals, handing out food to homeless people - to name just a few.
~reveal possibilities and passions. Kids find out they are capable of things they've never done before, and confidence grows.
~help kids to anchor their faith and move forward in their walk with God.
Yesterday as kids arrived with their luggage and "stuff," their enthusiasm was the evidence they were eager to "Go. Serve. Love."
"Ladies and Gentlemen, my mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you!" ~George M. Cohan
VBS is over, and it was a great time for all the kids and volunteers at Rolling River Rampage. The grandkids had a good time with Papa and Grandma Lynda playing games inside and outside, swimming at a neighbor's pool, going out for lunch, and let us not forget the ice cream stops. Yum! They went back home to get ready for their next big thing, and we've had some time to rest up and catch a few naps. I often say there's a reason parents are young.
And before we knew it, it was the 4th of July. I have a dear friend who often said summer was half over when we got to July 4th. I preferred savoring the rest of July and much of August before heading back to the classroom and a new group of students. Sure, there were years I spent part of the summer taking classes or workshops, preparing for curriculum changes, and developing materials for my students and classroom. Even so, summer meant slowing down, recharging, vacationing, and enjoying a more relaxed schedule.
But getting back to the 4th of July... This year was pretty quiet for us. We did grill hot dogs, our typical All-American 4th of July fare, but opted for an inside picnic because of the heat and high humidity. Later in the evening, we settled down to watch Yankee Doodle Dandy. For me it's comparable to watching It's a Wonderful Life at Christmas time. I love the story. I love the music. I love the feeling of patriotism. And I love James Cagney's portrayal of George M. Cohan in the 1942 film. We have "Yankee Doodle Dandy," "Over There," and "You're a Grand Old Flag" in our heads for days... sometimes even bursting into song. It reminds me of learning "You're a Grand Old Flag" in elementary school. Do children still learn those good old patriotic songs? And there are some modern songs, too. Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" stirs up much patriotic pride.
May your summer days linger with making many memories.