By: Emma Lavender
As students, we have so many opportunities to go out not only into our own community but to others as well. This summer the youth group had two separate opportunities to impact communities outside of our own through the student choir tour and our summer mission trip.
On choir tour, we spent the week doing VBS-style outreach at the Gulf State ParkPavilion and helping out at the park itself with whatever the management needed to be done. During the week we also brought a normal event for us down to the area. Student Jam is where we learn, and this time teach, how to be a student band. We got the chance to worship and grow with the students and youth leaders.
Our second trip took a bus of about 47 students and adults to Orlando to work with serve Orlando. We worked at many different locations during the week. In the mornings we volunteered at the Orlando Union Rescue Mission and at the Orlando Day Nursery. At these locations, we worked with kids and teenagers to spread the message of God’s love to them. We learned that even when you cannot directly speak the word of God to someone, just being a godly example by loving and caring for people can make a difference in peoples’ lives.
During the afternoons we worked at different locations. We had the opportunity to help out at United Against Poverty, TheSharing Center, Coalition for the Homeless, Straight Street, and the Christian Service Center. At each of the locations, we cleaned up the areas and facilities, painted rooms, organized and packed items, and stocked a grocery store. While at our afternoon sites we were able to talk and reach out to some of the people who worked at the facilities and others who were seeking help from the facilities.
These organizations strive to help people in need, giving them places to sleep, food, showers, clothes, and anything else they may need to help them get back on their feet. We helped serve the people they work with for four days, and it allowed each of us to have a new perspective and respect for others. Over the week I saw so much growth in the youth group. Whether that be someone reaching out to someone they saw sitting alone or a deepened faith, growth took place, not only in the lives of others but in the lives of the students at Eastmont