When I spend time with our youth I always come away with hope. Hope for our church, community and world, because they bring such fresh perspective on life and positive attitude about service. At the end of July I had the privilege of being with 16 of our wonderful youth and 4 adults on a mission trip through Urban Immersion in the Minneapolis area. Each day we prayed and shared inspirations, had meaningful conversations and laughed together. We served at various non-profit organizations and were immersed in learning about poverty. The maturity and wisdom our youth showed was amazing. One of the most inspiring things I witnessed over and over by our youth during the week was their ability to take down walls between people, to build relationships rather than separating. Some examples include:
· Our youth interacted with kindness and respect while helping refugees, recovering addicts, homeless individuals and others whose lives are so very different from theirs.
· Our youth initiated conversation with a youth group that arrived mid-week and recruited them for a game of kick ball at a nearby park. While playing kick ball a couple of our youth invited two kids from the neighborhood to join in the game. Seeing the joy on those kids’ faces was wonderful.
· Despite the 7 year age span of our youth, they interacted beautifully and I did not see any youth being left out of social opportunities.
Our youths’ actions inspire the following question: What are we doing to model taking down walls between people? Our world has become so divisive making it all the more important to follow Jesus’ example of connecting people rather distancing them. I pray the seeds sown during this mission trip continue to grow and spread throughout our congregation and into the world beyond.