"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." ~Margaret Mead
Last July, I shared about our church's Youth Mission Trip to Blue Knob, PA. (7/23/18-Youth Ignite) The following week, Megan posted her experiences on that trip. (7/30/18-Guest Blogger-2018 Mission Trip) This year 15 youth and 9 adults flew to Puerto Rico for the 2019 Youth Ignite Mission Trip (7/21/19-7/27/19), through TEAMeffort. They worked in Ponce, named for Juan Ponce de Leon y Loayza, a great grandson of Spanish conquistador, Juan Ponce de Leon.
The team reported that there's still devastation in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria in 2017. Many homes and buildings remain untouched since the hurricane. Shells of buildings stand as a sad reminder. Also, political demonstrations occurred during the week, however they were peaceful and no one ever felt nervous or scared. One team member said it was like a parade without candy.
While there, the team built fences around homes, constructed covered structures for multiple uses, painted fences around a church and classrooms in a school. At the end of their last work day, they held a picnic in a park, served food to locals, and organized games with children. Through their work and service, they made connections, built relationships, and shared their faith. This small group helped change lives. They blessed folks and received blessings by doing. Their experiences and memories will last a lifetime.
The team's days were long and filled with hard work. Their sleeping arrangements were nothing like home. And their showers were often cold. One of the adult leaders shared, "They never complained or whined."
But it wasn't all work. Each evening they gathered with other youth on a TEAMeffort mission trip for chapel filled with music, games, as well as worship. They had sightseeing excursions, swam in the ocean, and shopped. All of them were particularly impressed with a boat ride on their last evening to a bioluminescent bay where they swam and experienced the marvel of a blue glow as they moved in the water. Awesome! Their energy and enthusiasm as they shared about the trip was infectious.
PS- Megan did not go on this mission trip as she spent two weeks in West Virginia, where about 45,000 gathered, for the World Scout Jamboree. She was part of the international jamboree band. Maybe I can get her to share about that. Stay tuned!