Youth Mission Trip 2016 – Lame Deer, Montana

For the past 10 days I had the privilege of joining 12 youth and adults on our 2016 summer mission trip to Lame Deer Montana. We spent the time on a reservation for the Norther Cheyenne Native American People. This is slightly different than our usual work camps as we were serving a Native America tribe that was both incredibly proud of its heritage and yet also struggle with deep social and economic problems. The level of poverty as evident in the condition of both the local school we stayed in as well as the homes we were attempting to repair was greater than most of our students had encountered in the past. The reality of the lives many of these Native Americans lived as well as the challenges and obstacles that they faced in just surviving each and every day was startling and helped all of us to realize how privileged we are to be able to live in the environment we do and attend the relatively well funded schools that are available to us.  Seeing and experiencing this helped us to appreciate more the things we take for granted everyday (like clean drinking water).

Most of the biggest highlights of these trips revolve around experiencing God as we serve others. These come in the form of:

  • God sightings (each youth is encouraged to report each day how they have seen God at work in their lives)
  • Great worship services each and every evening
  • Bonding and fellowship time with new and old friends as we travel and work together
  • Powerful lessons centered around a special Biblical Truth each and every day. Often these lessons involve a physical object or lesson that helps us to remember and apply these truths to our lives.

The theme of this past week was Extraordinary. We examined how God takes ordinary things (our lives, our talents, our relationships) and makes them Extraordinary. Many of these lessons came from Acts 4

“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

It was this story – of how God had taken two ordinary men (Peter and John) and done something miraculous with their simply words and actions – that moved us to have the faith that God could do the same with our ordinary skills of painting, woodworking, dry walling, and cleaning as well as with our ordinary words of encouragement and hope to bring something extraordinary into the lives of the people we served. It is a lesson that we all have brought home with us and can’t wait to implement in our everyday lives back in Rockford. Come join us on Sunday August 14th as the work-campers will be sharing (in both services) what they saw and learned through this trip.

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