Twenty-nine youth, eight adults, four work sites, and one fantastic weekend! The youth family recently traveled to Asheville, NC, for our annual Middle School Missions Blitz. We served at a variety of places including a children’s home, a community garden, a rescue mission, and a campus ministry house. At the children’s home, we cleared a creekside for an upcoming beautification project. At the community garden, we planted beautiful plants and learned what it takes to make them grow. At the rescue mission, we served lunch to a vast variety of people whose stories often go unheard. At the campus ministry house, we weeded and mulched flower beds in order to provide a more welcoming place for college students who are seeking refuge from the chaos of school.
The weekend was extraordinary. I watched as our church’s youngest youth grew by leaps and bounds as they were presented with a variety of challenges. For some, this was their first mission trip, and there was a significant learning curve as they experienced what it means to live out their faith in the service of others. We concluded our weekend by attending worship at First Baptist Asheville, the church I attended when I was the age of our youth, and were treated to a beautiful Youth Sunday service. Mack Dennis, First Asheville’s pastor, presented a challenge to any youth present upon the conclusion of the service: “You might have felt a spark this morning. Know that every minister here once felt that same spark.” I do not know the futures of any of our youth, but I like to think that several of them felt some sort of spark after our incredible weekend.