Monday, September 22, 2014

10 Mission Trip Memories

I have written often lately about serving God by loving others, which has had me thinking about some of the great mission opportunities my youth groups had back in the day. Here's a vintage post featuring 10 thoughts about the various mission experiences we were involved in over the years. Are they random? Oh yes! Do they have meaning to me? Of course! So here we go:

10)  In the late 80's and early 90's the Springfield Friends Meeting group spent a lot of time serving at Our Father's Table, a soup kitchen in High Point. We usually prepared a basic soup and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I remember one week we had lots of leftover food from Furniture Market caterers that we served the patrons- really quality stuff. They couldn't eat it. It was too rich for them. They asked for more PB&J's...

9)  I think the hottest place I ever been in my life was inside the Orlando Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse on our middle school mission trip from FUMC-K in 1994. We also worked in another 2nd Harvest in Nashville in 1999, and it was not much cooler. But those places provide amazing support to the communities they serve in the name of Jesus.

8)  Jennifer Minnigan Kuramochi (FUMC-K) told me once that she was a little embarrassed to admit to the youth pastor at her current church that her high school mission trip was to the Bahamas- twice! We did good work on those trips, but we didn't exactly suffer for it...

7)  Although we sent a small group (see picture at right- and no, I don't know why Ben Thacker is scratched up!) and I didn't go, the Service Over Self trip to Memphis in 1996 was a tremendous mission experience that did great things in service to the people of the inner city in that poverty stricken southern town.

6)  The previously mentioned 1999 Nashville trip was the first time I partnered with the Center for Student Missions (CSM). It was an amazing experience. We worked our rears off in 100 degree heat and 200% humidity, slept on the floor, and had about 75 people sharing one shower (with a strict time limit!). It was awesome!

5)  I had only been at the Union Church of Hinsdale about three weeks when we departed on Work Tour 2000 (see picture) to Dungannon, VA. That trip has several posts of its own, and the poverty we encountered there was incredible. We actually built a wall inside a mobile home to split a bedroom in half. It was a week full of adventure...

4)  The following year we went to Tijuana, Mexico and worked at an orphanage. The children there could recite entire chapters of scripture in English and Spanish. Some of our teenagers couldn't even recite John 3:16. Plus those smart little kids conned us into eating habanero peppers and almost dying! UC's traditional Work Tour closing ceremony, called Candle, took longer than the rest of the trip- or so it seemed!

3)  The group from Wesley Memorial UMC headed to Washington, DC to work with CSM in the summer of 2002. We spent a fair amount of time building bunk beds for future groups to sleep on, so we made a long-term contribution to that ministry. We also delivered meals to AIDS patients. It is the only trip I ever went on, mission or otherwise, in which this peace loving Christ-follower almost killed a student. Several times. Thank you, Chris Morneau, for being one of a kind...

2)  In 2003 we went to Spartanburg, SC and served for several days with a variety of ministries. I especially remember sorting hundreds of pounds of clothing into gender and size specific piles, and then throwing them all back together in another room. Seemed pretty pointless, but it was what we were  asked to do. We also slept over a homeless shelter. Each night they locked us in and told us NOT to leave.  It was a little scary...

1)  In 2004 with WMUMC (see picture) and in 2006 with Trinty UMC we served with CSM in Chicago. Both trips were amazing, but the 2004 trip featured us gutting the inside of an unused Jewish synagogue to make way for a new church in a poor area of town. It was very hard work, and I still wonder how the church is doing now. That was also the trip with one of the most amazing youth worship times ever.

Great memories and great trips. I'd do it all over again if I could. We never go to work with CSM in Toronto, even though I planned it 3 different times. But serving others in the name of Jesus was - and is - a great thing!

Because of Jesus,


  1. Anonymous9/22/2014

    Chicago, Chicago...AHH, the memory still lingers...You should know we sold the Church Van that bore us up and returned us home safely from that trip just last week....Ahh, the memories! UBD

    1. UBD, you need to write a requiem for that old beast if it made all the way up to last week. It served you well! And yes...the memories!!!


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