Sitting in a circle in the basement of a new space, surrounded by new faces, a familiar refrain began to echo.
Blessed be Your name / When the sun’s shining down on me / When the world’s ‘all as it should be’ / Blessed be Your name
Our voices were timid at first but as the strum of the guitar grew louder and the confidence built, the notes grew stronger. Their heads lifted. And together, in worship, the youth of First Wayne Street sung how blessed is HIS name.
For five days and six nights, the youth spent time in fellowship and service showing how God works not just in our lives but through our actions. Through leadership, risk taking and service, they grew stronger not just individually but as a group.
And together, we made our way through Chicago acting as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, showing people how mighty love can be.
The mission trip to Chicago, which was a LeaderTreks Adventure Serve trip, was unlike anything that the youth (or their adult chaperones) had experienced. And while it was not without its challenges, we all learned what happens when we show up, speak up, work together and be humble before the Lord.
Through daily Bible study, we explored the story of John the Baptist and what it means to be tasked with a mission. It might be easy to doubt the plan God has for us but we were all created with a special purpose.
Service activities connected us to underserved communities, and the LeaderTreks staff challenged the youth to do more than serve a meal. The youth took off their hair nets, pulled out chairs and ate among the men and women. Men and women, children of God, whom were facing different circumstances but open to talking … sharing … and breaking bread.
The conversations could have left the youth empty and sad, discovering a different part of the world. But together, our hearts were full. Full knowing that in his grace and love we are one.
Thank you to all of those how made this trip possible — the generous donations of the congegation and the UMW; the chaperones (Chris Ford, Sarah Warsco, Jessie North); the supportive staff of First Wayne Street; and all those who offered prayers.