Summer Youth Mission Trips
This summer, Fourth’s Youth Ministry sent two groups to communities in need: rising seniors traveled to Puerto Rico to upgrade a Christian school and rising 8th graders served inner city kids in Baltimore, MD. Read about their accounts here:
“Our rising seniors served at the Puerto Rico Christian School, just outside of San Juan, where they revamped the property in preparation for the school year. That week, our students painted, pressure washed, did yard work, mowed, weed-whacked and moved books into classrooms. We stayed at the school, sleeping on air mattresses, and ate each meal in the cafeteria. We were blessed by the school’s willingness to host and serve us. We also had the opportunity to worship at La Iglesia Presbiteriana Westminster Church, a fellow EPC church. That Sunday we shared a little about our ministry and brought greetings from Fourth. Our seniors worked hard and bonded together as a class. The school administration said this was the first time in a while they were totally ready for the school year, and even mentioned they felt they were ahead of schedule in large part due to the work we did for them.” —Rob Henneberg, Youth Director
“If you were to ask our high school students what single thing in the youth ministry had the most significant impact on their faith you most likely would talk about the 8th grade mission trip. This trip is a time for us to put our faith in action as we are called to. It is a time for us and our youth to reflect on the blessings and gifts God has given us, and to imagine how we can most effectively steward these gifts for His glory. This past July we had the pleasure of serving alongside two ministries in West Baltimore: 10:12 Sports with Jeff Thompson and the Christian Community Center with Tom Homans. Both of these ministries serve in the inner city and are committed to seeing the Gospel take root in their communities through the local youth.
In the mornings we served at the Christian Community Center where we would simply be present for the kids through playing games, worshipping together, and listening to the teaching of the Word. Afterwards we would head to 10:12 sports by helping Jeff set up and take down “pop-up” day camps. These camps are led by local high school and college age youth and the day camp is for elementary school students where they learn the fundamentals of basketball and football and have the gospel presented to them in that context. Both of these programs have a similar goal which is to keep children off the streets and drive them towards the embrace of their savior; that Christ might shine through them in their households, neighborhoods, and schools.
At one point Jeff told us that ~90% of the kids involved in his program are fatherless. Serving these kids was invaluable in getting our 8th graders to recognize how fortunate they are to have the families and lifestyles that they do, and it was this recognition of their blessings that drove them to work hard and sweat for the sake of Gospel, for the sake of somebody other than themselves. We set out to answer the question of what Jesus meant when he told us to “consider others more significant than yourself”. We left the mission trip meditating on the answer which is that this call to humble, hard working, honest service does not just exist on missions trips or within the walls of our church. Instead it should fundamentally change the way we view ourselves and neighbors.” —Clay Stevens, Middle School Coordinator