Jr. High Mission Trip Recap

Following the students' example

In Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus commands His followers to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Our mission statement at Southport Pres is "Love God. Love Each Other. Serve The World." and that's why the Jr. High Ministry went to Shepherd Community for our mission trip this summer.  

Our neighbors on the east side of Indianapolis often lack love and support in their lives. Shepherd Community responds to that need by providing a church, a school, community support, training, and several other outreach ministries. We had the opportunity to be in classrooms with students helping them catch up on their academics. Many families in this community don't have access to the internet and many students fell behind during online schooling. I really enjoyed seeing our students help their students with academics. They set a great example and were able to foster some good relationships in the short time they served.

We also had the opportunity to go out into the community and serve our neighbors by handing out food with Gleaners, paint fences, garden and show God's love by following Jesus's example of serving with gladness. Our students served boldly and were eager to work hard to support the community. They continually asked me if we could do more to help. I often find that these trips are just as meaningful for me as it is for them because I get encouraged seeing our students moved by the Spirit and excited to make much of the name of Jesus.

Highlights!

One particular highlight for me was exploring the chapel in the church we were staying at. The chapel was built in 1946 and was intentionally design around 100+ year old stained glass windows.

Melissa and I sat the students down in there and started to explain the symbolism that fills the space. Honestly, I thought the students were going to hate it and be bored but the opposite was true. We ended up staying in there for 2 hours answering several questions about God, the Gospel, the early church, and much more.

A significant moment was when we stopped and and looked at 3 very old bibles that were translated and transcribed from Martin Luther's Bible. We took the opportunity to discuss the protestant reformation and how we came to where we are today. The students really enjoyed it and that was my favorite part of the whole trip.

If you've never gone on a mission trip or have never taken the opportunity to serve, you may not realize how sobering it can be. Like most people, I enjoy being comfortable. So much so that I often find myself expecting and assuming a certain level of comfort in my life. This trip was uncomfortable at times.

We stayed in the basement of an old church in a concrete room. We had one shower to rotate through. We spent a lot of time in the hot sun face to face with people in great need. Even in all of our ups and downs this week, we still had much more than the people we were serving. I can get caught in the "out of sight, out of mind" mindset, and it was convicting and encouraging for me to be a part of serving with Shepherd Community and watching our students push their comfort zones to "Love God. Love Each Other. and Serve The World."
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