Every year, we leave for our mission trip on a bus. We’re a happy group. We love each other. And we’re always excited to go have a lot of fun and serve complete strangers. This year, we went to Philadelphia, PA, which I learned yesterday is the one city that has a higher death rate than rural counties. So that’s a comforting post trip fact to mull over. But the city treated us well, despite some of the frightening sights and sounds we witnessed.
The mission trip this year was unlike any other I have experienced. Last year kind of set things off, and we knew this year would be good, but I know I had no idea how good it would be. Last year, most didn’t really engage until Thursday, because they were still unhappy that we had switched who we did mission trips through, and the impact was still really high. This year, everyone started out ready to go with a good attitude, and the outcome was unbelievable. We came back different. There has been a dynamic shift in youth group culture as a result. I’ve always been pro-Bible reading, but that has sometimes fallen on deaf ears. Now the high school guys want to study the Bible together as part of our small group. Shift. We had a few people place their faith in Jesus for the first time on this trip. We had an outdoor baptism in a creek that ran throughout the campus. A number of people surrendered to the call of ministry on the trip. Other people surrendered to the call to follow God in their lives, every day, no matter what. Shift. We are different than we were when we left.
I cannot go too into detail about any of these things, because that would be a spoiler. Instead, I will leave you with that faint glimpse and invite you to come hear for yourself how God moved. On August 18, during the 11:00 AM service, we will recap the mission trip for you. Yes, there will still be worship music. There will still be a message. But there will also be testimonies from people whose lives were changed. I hope you can make it.