Faith Lutheran Church, Andover recently sent 27 youth and adults on an intergenerational mission trip to Asheville, NC where they partnered with The Timothy Project and Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry. This was Faith Lutheran’s third intergenerational mission trip. The group consisted of 10 youth, 3 college-age youth and 14 adults. Three trip members took a moment to share a reflection on their experience.
RoseAnn, Faith Lutheran member and grandparent-The Faith Works Mission Team was in Asheville, NC from July 28-August 3. The intergenerational team consisted of 27 members ranging in age from 10-65+. While in Asheville the team worked with The Timothy Project, a faith based ecumenical service agency that helps identify, support and develop mission projects in the Southeast. Our week of service included volunteering at the following project sites: Veterans Restoration Quarters, Manna Food Bank, Medical Free Clinic, Free Spirit Farm, Crisis Ministry, Donation/Thrift Store, and last but not least the Warren Home (a local family in need). This was our third intergenerational mission trip and having all ages creates a true bond of “church family” from the kids to the grandparents. Our mission statement comes from 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord”. In 1 Corinthians we are asked to step out of our comfort zone, and for one week we volunteered using our hands and heart to do God’s work, and share God’s love with others. In turn at the end of the mission trip we found that we were the ones who have been blessed tenfold in the smiles, the hugs, and love given back to each of us.
Jordan, Faith Lutheran member, age 26–My mission was to go to Asheville, North Carolina and change people and lives – or so I thought! I was very nervous about the trip- not about what we would be doing or if the people would be accepting of us- I was nervous about being accepted by the group I was traveling with. I knew some of my fellow missionaries before the trip, but I was nervous because I don’t really fit in with an exact group. I quickly found my fears were unfounded. I was accepted by a beautiful and diverse family created by God. I made new brothers, sisters, parents and grandparents. It was amazing how such a diverse group could spend a week together, grow as a family, and not have a conflict between members. We had many great talks learning about each other. We had deep conversations about faith, and many conversations about school, sports, farming, and personal stories. I truly believe that Faith Lutheran of Andover is a trendsetter in intergenerational groups working together. Members of Faith Lutheran can be proud and stand tall – we truly are God’s hand at work in our local community and in the communities we travel to and work in.
Makayla, Faith Lutheran member, age 15- This was not the first mission trip I had been on, but it was the first time I had been to Asheville, NC. While trying to decide if I should go on the trip I started to question my faith. I realized that I didn’t need to question anything because God was with me every second I questioned myself. God told me I had a mission. I was in Asheville for one week and my mission was to help the people of Asheville. I realized that you can’t change people, but you can help them. It’s impossible to change someone’s ways but you can give them all you got, whether they listen to you or not, you can give them all you got. Everyone had a reason to be in Asheville and I was called there to serve.
For the week I was in Asheville I spent most days with the homeless and those in poverty. I realized it’s really easy to judge someone based on what he or she looks like or what he or she is wearing. I had to learn that they were living in poverty, and didn’t have all the resources and things that are available for us. After I saw what the homeless people had, I realized that I had a lot to be thankful for, and shouldn’t take things for granted.
I learned there is no greater gift than the ability to give. Whether it is a smile or a simple little prayer. All forms of charity give us purpose and it is the BEST way to show your gratitude and awareness of the beauty life holds. I met so many amazing people I made great bonds with. This experience was life changing and has made me look at things in a different perspective. If you ever have the opportunity to go and serve others, I suggest you do. It’s so amazing how God’s working hands truly work.