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Youth Mission Trip Recap!

Matt Hartman July 27, 2022

During the week of July 9th-16th the OFC youth group went on a mission trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with 11 youth and 7 adult leaders.

The trip went really well and really smoothly! Due to the driving distance, on the way down we stopped overnight at a church called Lake Forest Church in Huntersville located outside of Charlotte, NC. We made contact with them months before the trip and though they knew nothing about us they were happy to let us stay there for the night. The people there were so kind and hospitable to our group, we couldn’t thank them enough. So that was a blessing and great start to our week.

The next day, we arrived to where we were staying in Myrtle Beach. The youth were surprised to see their same trip leader from last year’s Chicago mission trip was leading this year in Myrtle Beach! Her name was Emily and she did a great job!

The “home” location for our trip was a renovated movie theatre that was now a youth group center. It is well known in the area and around the country for hosting many Christian artists over the years! Very cool!

We found out that our service project for the week was not building or carpentry work but actually landscaping work. LeaderTreks got connected to a local ministry called Lifelong Impacted Teens Program and the lady who runs it named Ja’net Wade. She then connected us to someone local who we found was really in need.

The first day we showed up for the service project it was at a house of an older gentleman named Raymond whose wife had recently passed away to Covid. We learned that she used to be the gardener of the family and kept the outside looking nice. Once she passed, the outside was really in need of some help. The trees and plants on both sides of the house were all over-grown and it was clear that it was in need of a total overhaul.

The youth took direction and went right to work. Every day the they worked really hard completely redoing all of the landscaping at this house by: cutting down trees, hauling brush, planting trees and planting flowerbeds. The most difficult job may have been leveling out the entire backyard with dirt. There were other little jobs that needed completed including, clearing the way for an old Mustang that was stuck in the mud in the backyard that needed removed and hauled away.

We as adults were helping but also taking notice of the work the youth were doing. We were all really proud of how they worked so hard in the very hot and humid mornings and afternoons to get jobs completed and this gentleman’s house looking nice again! Raymond and Ja’net were very appreciative of everything that was done.

The other really cool thing that the youth did that week was lead a Vacation Bible School near a mobile home park. It was kind of from scratch but they did great with it. The youth went around and knocked on doors told people about it and a couple days later, kids came out to this clearing in the front of the park and got to learn about Jesus. It was great to see the youth lead something like that in a new place with kids they just met.  

Finally, my favorite part of the trip was seeing the youth grow closer to the Lord by doing these things as well as spending time with God. Each morning, they spent in the Word, time in prayer and each evening they spent time encouraging each other. It was awesome to see them go out and serve others all day and then have a time where they could encourage one another each night in front of the group and say “I saw God working in your life today by… how you served well, or showed compassion here or took a risk there or stepped up and took leadership in this situation.”

And through all the serving and encouragement, the overarching theme of the week was, “how can I put someone else’s needs before my own.” And that was so awesome because it helps youth live out their faith in a model that Jesus taught us to where we put others before ourselves. It was just great to see youth live that out over the week and really make it their own.

And now they can take these experiences and that servant attitude with them as the move into the upcoming school year!

Thank you so much Old Fort Church for giving to these youth and for praying and supporting them in this journey. It could not happen without you!  God Bless, Matt

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