Middle School Mission Trip
Yes, you read that correctly. Middle School Mission Trip. Well, technically, it wasn’t a trip because we stayed in Greenville (other than our fun day at Carowinds). However, there were definitely middle school students doing mission work all week long!
For some of you that have older kids, you likely remember what it was like to have middle school children. I think it’s safe to say, eleven-year-olds to fourteen-year-olds aren’t the first people most of us think of when thinking of local missionaries or cleaning up around the community or considering the needs of others. You will be happy to know that our Buncombe Street UMC Middle Schoolers did just that one fine week in June. They represented well our families, our church, and God as they learned about some of the needs in their very own community.
Two of the highlights for me were the OXFAM Hunger Simulation and a learning activity that is called Meet a Need. The OXFAM meal gave participants an idea of just how bad the hunger issue is for 80% of the world’s population. Fifty percent of our group waited in line to eat nothing but a half cup of rice for lunch. Thirty percent of the group waited in a shorter line to eat a half cup of rice and a half cup of beans. Finally, the remaining twenty percent of our group was served a full meal while seated. Can you imagine the conversations that came out of an exercise like this? There was talk of fairness and looks of guilt on the faces of those served a full meal. Most of all, the participants recognized and appreciated their own life circumstances.
The Meet a Need activity had our students split into small groups. Each group had twenty dollars to spend meeting someone else’s need. One group met a man named Robert shortly after leaving the church. Robert needed some food, and the group was happy to provide him with a meal. He, in turn, shared with our middle schoolers why it is important to stay in school, how important his Christian faith is to his ever present positive attitude, and that we “shouldn’t hang out with knuckleheads.” Another group passed out fresh fruit and cold water on a hot day, while another group was able to replace a few articles of clothing that had recently been stolen from a man named Sam. The key to this activity was that it required of us things to which we all have access. Those things were an hour of time, twenty dollars, and the willingness to learn the needs of those around us.
Over the course of the week, it became clear we weren’t perfect missionaries. We didn’t have all the answers. We didn’t have unlimited resources. We are still developing our understanding of our faith. But, we showed up. God was already at work, and we tried our best to join in. Special thanks to Cody Puck, Rev. Kristin Dollar, Elicia Johnson, Rev. Justin Gilreath, Rev. Bob Howell, Blair Bailey, and John Tomlinson for making this trip a success.
– Andy Fox, Director of Youth Ministries