Written by Ashley Bendickson
In a culture that often shouts the message, “Me first,” Grace Fellowship Junior High students chose to spend summer counteracting that message by spending a week putting others first. About 70 junior high students and leaders recently volunteered whole-heartedly in Houston. Throughout the week they spent there, students served in a variety of capacities. Most of this was done by partnering with many local ongoing ministries that serve “the least and the lost” of Houston on a regular basis. Some groups spent mornings serving food to the homeless, making hundreds of sandwiches to distribute for free lunches, and others spent time learning from the kind people at an Alzheimer’s facility. It was a joy for students and leaders alike to meet many people that love and serve the Lord in this city.
In addition to the morning service projects, each afternoon, students were given the opportunity to spend time with kids through partnering with the YMCA, Salvation Army, and many Rainbow House locations. Whether it was through dancing, swimming, playing basketball, or doing crafts, the consistency of the afternoon allowed for building Christ-focused relationships with these kids and teens. Watching our students from the suburbs of Katy bond with teens in inner-city Houston over things like music, favorite colors, and favorite ice cream was a blessing. These small commonalities built bridges to deeper relationships, and these new friendships helped to bring greater understanding and light to God’s plan for the unity of His church.
Upon returning from the Houston mission trip, eighth-grader Whitney Picket echoed the heart of many who attended. She wrote, “I was shocked to see that so many people who have nothing can still praise the Lord, but many people who have everything seem to want everything. I went on this mission trip to change people’s lives, but they were the ones who changed mine.” Many of us often enter into mission trips to serve, but to our common surprise, we tend to find that God simply opens our eyes to the beautiful work that He’s already doing. Grace Fellowship’s junior high students did serve Christ by serving the city of Houston this week, but for many, what was learned is so much greater. Wherever we are and whatever our means, we are desperately in need of God’s grace. Even better, God is faithfully in the business of pouring it out. Open our eyes. Open our hearts. Open our hands. Come, Lord Jesus.