Ministerial Musings – “Mission”

I have been highly influenced by the church in my life. Now, yes, I realize that, as an ordained minister, that might seem like something of a statement that would make one go, “Well, duh,” but allow me to clarify. The church has afforded me opportunities in my life that I never would’ve experienced otherwise – opportunities to serve others and experience other cultures in ways unimaginable.
In my three decades of life, the trips I have taken thanks to the church have been to places as close to home as Tucson (barely two hours from my parents’ house in Phoenix), and as far away as the Taizé Monastery, in southern France. I’ve traveled to cities across the U.S., from San Diego to New York; I’ve helped re-build a church in Ensenada, Mexico; and I’ve even spent a week of isolation, with no cell phone or email access, at a remote retreat center in Washington State known as Holden Village.
The opportunities for these trips have been provided to me by the church, and they have been life-changing. Next summer, the high school youth of Gower Christian Church will experience a similar opportunity.
On June 3rd, 2015 – God willing and the creek don’t rise – eighteen of our youth will be headed to a land which is so incredibly different from northwest Missouri that it might as well be a different country: Southern California. Zack and Tabatha Craft, along with my wife Caitie and I, will be leading this group. We will be staying at Loch Leven Disciples Camp & Conference Center near Redlands, California, and will be working with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, Helping Hands Community Gardens of Redlands, the Foothill Unity Center of Monrovia, and Carol’s Kitchen of Riverside County. These organizations are all dedicated to helping the impoverished and homeless populations of Southern California.
Of course, this trip is intended to have some cultural experiences and some fun as well, so we will also be taking the youth to Santa Monica State Beach and Disneyland, as well as sending them forth on a (very well-supervised) all-day excursion of the City of Los Angeles, using the extensive Los Angeles County Metro rail and bus system. But in order for this to happen, we will need your help.
First of all: we need people. Specifically, we need two more adults to go with us. It’s an eleven day commitment – June 3rd-13th. Ideally, we would like to have a third couple join us in supervising this group of youth. Secondly: we need financial support. We would like this trip to be completely underwritten so that no financial commitment on the part of our youth is necessary. This will be accomplished largely through fundraisers, so the youth will certainly have to work for this trip to happen.
More information will be available on our website, http://www.gowerchristianchurch.org, in the coming days. In the meantime, I ask that you would pray for our youth and their leaders, as we approach a very exciting time in the life of this church!
In Christ,
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