Each year, the High School Youth who are completing grades 9 thur 12 travel to another area of the country to participate in a week-long mission trip. This is just one of the ways the youth participate in the “externally serving” part of our mission statement. It has become a custom that we choose our mission trip locations on a 3-year rotation of urban, rural, and Native American; this way, all high schoolers are exposed to each type of mission site during their high school career, and they repeat one site type. These experiences give the youth an opportunity to work in cultures that are not our own. The youth are involved in various activities and work, such as serving in soup kitchens, watching and playing with children, sitting and visiting with those in the nursing homes, and working on home improvement. They also spend time in worship and reflection with other youth from other parts of the country. The youth who have gone on these trips express a profound experience where they see God in new ways. These trips can be a transformational experience.
“Before we left on Friday, she gave us all a T-shirt, Steelers bracelet, and a big hug. It was amazing to see how much of an impact we could make on someone’s life in five days.” — Hanna Langley [age 15]
“Every year, I deeply believe that I’ve had the best experience while on these mission trips but every year tops the last one. This one was by far the best one I’ve ever been on so far and I sincerely thank each and every one of you for giving me the opportunity and the confidence I need for these trips. I grow closer to God every year and every day because of you and for that I am eternally grateful and in your debt.” — Taryn Clarke [age 16]
“Brandon [Thies] and I saw God through Ms. Paris this week in many ways. No matter the amount of money she had, she always put us first. Since she took such good care of us, we decided to return the favor and help her by paying for her water bill when she couldn’t afford it for the month.” — Maddy Kolek [age 16]
“It was my favorite day because we helped Mrs. Burgess feel proud of her home again.” — Carolyn Hayes [age 16]
“We were able to see God in ways that we might not have thought of before. We could see God in each other and in the kindness that the community and other churches showed us. Doing God’s work in the world is one way that we can feel fulfilled in our lives.” — Isaac Langley [age 17]
“God used this woman to bring hope to our homeowner and group, which was incredible since hope was the theme for our trip.” — Maya Deuso [age 19]
“This was the first mission trip that I really, truly, felt like I received far more than I gave, which makes me sad that this will be my last high school mission trip, that I’ll never get to go on one of these with my youth group, my friends and my family again, but I know that I’ll always cherish the lessons, experiences, and memories I got from every single moment of every mission trip I’ve been on.” — Logan Bogert [age 19]
2019 High School Mission Trip to Pittsburgh, PA.
Middle School Trip
The middle school youth, those completing grades 6 thru 8, go on a shorter, partial-week mission trip each year. In the past few years, we have gone to Minneapolis, Chicago, Waterloo, Omaha, and in Marion/Cedar Rapids.
“The trip was an eye-opening experience that both helped me grow spiritually and made me realize how much help others need, and how much the needy struggle on a daily basis. The relationships we made and strengthened are now a forever type of thing, and the people we met, we impacted forever. “ — Arthur Schaub [age 14]
“It really doesn’t matter where you live or where you go, we should always be looking for ways to make a difference because even the smallest things can maybe give someone enough hope to keep going.” — George Joyner [age 14]
2019 Middle School Mission Trip to Omaha, NE.
There is also opportunities for adults to participate in the transformational experience that mission trips offer. For example, previously a group of 16 adults traveled to Joplin, MO to helpe rebuild homes from the E5 tornado that went through in May 2011.