One of the things I have marveled at the most in looking back at last week on the Appalachia Service Project (ASP) Mission Trip is how many first-timers we had. The other group of missioners, from Cary Presbyterian Church in Cary, North Carolina, were surprised by the fact that almost 80% of our group were serving for the first time. The group from Cary was celebrating their 25th year of sending missioners to ASP so of course they had a large number of multi-year participants.
Another thing that has been a repeat theme, which is in some ways surprising to me…although that surprise has lessened each year: When asked, the youth–almost to a person–said they would like to stay a second week to work more, to give more to the families they had served over the past week. Service to others is like that, though–especially when that service is done in the name of God.
Over the course of this week I have received several emails from parents of youth who served on the ASP Mission Trip this past week. The emails tell of parents who have seen a positive change in their teenager; of how their son or daughter spoke at length about the relationships that he or she had formed with the other youth, with the adult leaders, with the family that they had served. Mostly they spoke of the excitement and sense of fulfillment their son or daughter had received by serving others and making new friends. Truly the Holy Spirit at work.
Take a moment today to think about how you have served someone else in the last year. What did that look like; who was served; how did you feel after your time of service to someone else? My guess is that afterward you felt pretty good about what you had done. So why not serve again? What is holding you back? Chances are you may even encounter the divine…come face to face with Christ. Yep, service can be like that.
In Christ’s name,