On Saturday July 14th, I returned home from my final youth ministry trip of the summer. After six straight weeks of craziness alternating travel and planning, it’s good to be home. But, it was a great six weeks of new experiences for the Forest Hill Youth. This post will focus on the third trip, the senior high mission trip to Cherokee, North Carolina. If you missed the earlier posts, read here about Camp Aldersgate and here about Mid High Mission Week.
Where did we serve?
We spent the week in the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina. Our work days were spent on the Cherokee reservation and our nights at Western Carolina University. The mountains were a beautiful backdrop for the week.
What work did we do?
Most of our group spent the week painting the exterior of two houses. One small group travelled to another site to paint the interior of a house. I also worked with a small group to finish the vinyl siding on a house.
What did we do for fun?
We went whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River and hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on Friday. During our free time during the week, our group played tons of card games and frisbee.
What did we learn?
The Majesty of God’s Creation
I may speak for myself here, but I loved being in the mountains every day. The towering mountains remind me of the majesty and sovereignty of our God. When you work with teenagers, it’s comforting to be reminded that God is control, not me.
The Culture of the Cherokee Nation
On Wednesday night, we went to the outdoor theater to experience the show Unto these Hills. On Thursday, we explored the Oconaluftee Indian Village, a living history of the Cherokee Nation. Our group enjoyed both experiences and learned about the Cherokee Nation, past and present. The Cherokee are an intriguing people with a rich history.
To Be Invisible Workers for God
This trip was much different than last year’s mission trip. Last year most of our mission work was relationship driven, while this year the work was task driven. On the main worksite, our group had no interaction with the homeowners. On the two side projects, we did have some time to talk with the homeowners. However, overall there was very little interaction with those we were working for. We didn’t know much or sometimes anything about these families. And so this week, we learned how mission work doesn’t have to be relationship driven. Sometimes God calls us to do our best work to simply get the job done and we accept that God will take care of the rest.
What’s Next for Kristen?
For the next two weeks, I will be home catching up on sleep, reading, writing and time with Brian, the pug, family and friends. In August, Brian and I take our final trip of the summer to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for vacation with his family. In the next few weeks, I will get back into writing gear and hope to update you on the projects I am lining up. Until then, happy summer!!