Celebrating God through Mission
Salem Belleman’s UCC, 3540 Belleman’s Church Rd., Mohrsville, PA 19541 sent three Mission Teams to disaster sites throughout the eastern United States in 2012. The first team worked in Bertie County, North Carolina. The second team drove to Joplin, Missouri (picture). Both teams worked on tornado recovery. The third trip to Northfield, Vermont focused on flood recovery from Hurricane Irene. This was our first Youth Mission Trip with 16 youth and adults participating. More pictures on bellemanschurch.org .
The spiritual blessings received on such adventures are many. The bonding together of “strangers “into one “family” is a blessing that does not often happen in our busy lives, the Youth Mission Trip is a case in point. Youth and adults from different churches and communities joined forces to make this trip possible. By the end of a week of traveling, eating, praying, and working together, a new community of faith was created. Taking a week out of our normal routines to offer ourselves to the Lord’s work is a gift in and of itself. It allows us to refocus on what is important in our lives.
We believe it necessary to be open to whatever work we are asked to do. This attitude of openness allows God to do his amazing work by sending us to people who truly bless us with their stories as well as their gratitude.
Thinking beyond ourselves and our needs is a blessing that is slowly being instilled into the whole congregation. Even though a great majority of the congregation does not go on Mission Trips, they now identify with the concept of reaching out to help others in this way and will proudly tell others of our outreach in this way.
Looking for “God’s Moments” is as important for the team as the physical work we do. So often we do not intentionally look to find God in the circumstances of life we encounter, nor in the people we meet. Mission Trips teach us to keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open to how our LORD is working in others and God is intimately involved in our lives every day. Our job, as Christians, is to watch and perceive the Spirit stirring in and around us.
Yes, Mission Trips take time to organize and raise money. And yes, the sense of uncertainty of what we will encounter can be unnerving for some, but the spiritual blessing and benefits for the participants and the congregation alike are well worth the effort. God bless you and guide you as you take your own Mission Trip in the name of Lord, Jesus Christ.