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  • Writer's pictureSt. Matthews

Mission trips impact everyone.

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Big Sky Country aka Montana
Big Sky Country aka Montana

Big Sky Country. Those three words carry with them so much feeling and so many memories.

We left the airport headed out to an Indian reservation with no idea that our understanding of modern Indigenous Peoples would flip upside down, and what it means to see “forever.” Bag laden, and the Montana sun beating down on us, our twelve person vans gleamed white in the summer sun, like speckled eggs ready to be scrambled by an equal number of teenagers.

Upon arrival, we put our sleeping bags and pillows on the floor, staking out our 6x2 area that would be our personal space for the next six days. During that time, we learned the difficulties of the Montana Indigenous Peoples, wrote palancas (letters of encouragement) for one another, painted the church, taught, played games with the elderly and ran VBS. It was a week showing the group how we must be like Jesus as we serve those around us in both fun and boring jobs, and it felt as if everyone was leaving these experiences changed, except me.

After the mission work was complete, we were driving through the Montana mountain passes on our way to the two vacation houses Father Rob arranged. I greatly enjoyed that drive playing Vanessa Carlton’s “White Houses” as many times as we could until the other passengers complained… was 32 times. Despite the humor in that drive, the fact I’d not felt a greater impact from the experience was stuck in my mind.

Youth Group Mission 2005
Youth Group Mission 2005

Finally, that night with stars glistening overhead, I sat on a teenager-laden fence watching a lightning storm raging miles away. I finally felt connected to every person God has created on his Earth. It was at that moment I finally felt that change. It hit me. This was my first mission trip as a leader, and I connected with these teens far more deeply than I had in two dedicated years of leading youth ministry.

Mission trips impact everyone. I grow most when working side-by-side with the teens and adults toward the common goal to share God’s Love through our hands, our hearts, and our minds.

I’m so excited to make these connections July 19 –23, while we serve the local community during mission work and get crazy during VBS. I encourage YOU and your kids to take part in each day of our mission work and VBS leadership. Learn about our 2021 Youth Mission Work and register HERE.

Learn about VBS opportunities to volunteer and/or participate HERE.

Peace, Tom

Tom & Erin Leary
Tom & Erin Leary

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