STORIES FROM THE YOUTH
Why the Mission Trips are meaningful…..
By Julia Thompson
For the past four years I have attended mission trips with the church. These trips, while a fun bonding experience with some of my closest friends, are also eye-opening journeys into what other people’s lives are like.
In 2014, when we went to Longmont, I saw people’s homes destroyed by flood waters, and their belongings strewn across acres of land. They, however, were still smiling, optimistic, and very appreciative of our hard work. In 2015, when we went to New York, I saw some of the poorest and roughest parts of the US. The people there were hesitant with us at first, but eventually were very grateful we were there to help. In 2016, when we went to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, I witnessed extreme poverty and I heard some tough stories, but despite all this, I saw so much culture and spirituality within these people. Finally, last year in Albuquerque with the refugees, I listened to some horrific stories, and I couldn’t imagine going through what these kids did, but despite our differences, we still played and coexisted as children, not as refugees and Cross of Christ kids. Each mission trip brings me to new people and new stories and shows me how life is outside of Broomfield Colorado. This is very important to me because it broadens my world view and helps me embrace the diversity of the world around us, while making me grateful for the friends, family, and privileges I have.
Lessons of Appreciation
By: Abigail Hobbs,
We live day to day knowing we’re all blessed to have loving families, a safe home, and an abundance of restaurants, entertainment, and shopping malls. Surely we all appreciate what we have, but the youth trip to South Dakota two years ago was an eye-opening experience for me and many of the other youth, too.
As we drove in, we could see the run-down buildings and trailers the refugees called home, some looked to be in need of simply a new paint job or some yard maintenance, while others seemed to be barely standing. Half the people we saw didn’t have shoes, and some of them looked kind of sad. As we began our service projects for the next several days, we worked hard to remove graffiti from a nearby playground and skate park, as well as picking up tons of trash. Though we questioned how much of a difference this was going to make, we saw a man picking up trash in the same area the following day, and it showed us that maybe these people just needed someone to guide them in the right direction.
The day after we cleaned up the park, we hosted a skateboarding competition and games and crafts for the kids. Many, many kids and their families showed up to enjoy the sunny, but very windy day, and the activities we provided. The kids had so much fun making yarn bracelets and had a blast painting on card board. Though we came away from the day tired, hot, and covered in dirt, we learned a lot that day. As a youth group, we’d worked together to give many of these kids an experience they’d never had. Something as small as paint or yarn is easily taken for granted. And though the community in which they are living is difficult, they all came together to experience the day we brought to them. In the end, all we can do is have faith and hope that they learned how much better life could be and the children can grow up and go to college and have the opportunity to leave the reservation and do something amazing within or outside of the reservation.
I don’t think we always realize how much of an impact we can have on others. We start by learning to appreciate everything and everyone in our lives. We understand that what we do can impact someone, and then we can take this knowledge wherever we go, following our calling by sharing our talents and service with the world.
This is what I learned on the youth trip to South Dakota. Last year in New Mexico was another great experience, and I believe we are all looking forward to the new opportunities this youth trip will give us; allowing us to meet thousands of other youth just like us, grow closer within our own youth group and community, and serve the people living in Texas.
By Malachi Lofton
Going on trips to Rainbow Trail, Colorado Springs, and South Dakota helped my faith and perspective on life change. Before I went to South Dakota I thought we were just helping out an ordinary community like Bloomfield. But when I got there I could see that they had problems with how many people were committing suicide and how many people had to live in poverty. People there had to learn how to grow their own food and share it among themselves because the closest grocery store was 80 miles away. Only after that trip did I honestly start to realize how lucky I am to have food on the table or different clothes to wear every day. Now I keep asking God why He doesn’t help them and every other community like them but then He said that He did do something to help others. He created us. These trips also let me get closer to people in our youth group. I would never have really known the people in my grade if it wasn’t for the summer trips.
Why the Mission Trips are Meaningful
by Maggie Peck
The mission trip the Cross of Christ youth went to last summer was my first, and I’ll never forget it. We took a road trip down to New Mexico where I was squashed in a van and forced to listen to some pretty terrible heavy metal music, but the amazing people I was with made it worthwhile. I was brought closer to all my friends, chaperones, and people I didn’t know that well beforehand. We had some great times checking out fifteen jumbo cans of baked beans at Walmart, battling cockroaches, telling ghost stories well after curfew, playing telephone with the ziplining supervisors, and nailing each other on the ground with foam footballs from the roof of the cabin. I wouldn’t have changed anything.
One of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had was on service day, when the group helped out at a refugee school. I met kids the same age as me who had experienced such tragic events in their short fifteen years of life, I couldn’t understand how they were being so sweet to the privileged group of people I was with. For the second half of the day I was with a girl named Espadece from Tanzania. She didn’t like to speak English, being a native Swahili speaker. However she liked French, so I mustered out all of the French speaking knowledge I had from the two years I’d taken it. Even though I was talking to Espadece in a language I still have a great amount to learn on, I felt like I understood her better speaking this way. She liked similar things I did, and by the end of the day it just felt like I was talking to a friend. It was a connection to somebody different than anything I had before. I’m so thankful I went on the mission trip last summer. I learned I have a love for service and people while having a ridiculous amount of fun. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.