Thursday, August 09, 2012

JUNE Project Mission Trip report

Well I said I was going to try to post every week and, except for last week's mission trip, I've kept that going... so far. Anyway, this week I'd like to bore you to tears with a little report about the mission trip that I participated in last week with several of the youth from Central UMC in Point Pleasant Beach. Above you'll see a picture of most of the people that participated in this year's JUNE Project, a mission experience for youth that takes place in central Pennsylvania. JUNE Project, which stands for Jesus Unites Neighbors Everywhere, has been going on for over twenty years now and has been ministering to the communities of Reading, Pottsville, Hamburg and Hazelton. This year the church that I am serving sent three youth and two adults to be part of the team of over one hundred twenty servants. Each day begins with a hearty carbohydrate loaded breakfast before we split up into teams and head out to our work sites. The Central group worked with youth and adults from Erma Tabernacle UMC, Edison New Dover UMC, and Millville First UMC cleaning up and beautifying an area of Pottsville called Overlook Park. Here's what it looked like when we arrived:
A wonderful plant called Japanese knotweed had taken over the park in the last year since a crew had cleaned it up. In fact, this was the fifth year in a row that a crew from June Project had been working on this park. Take a look at what it was looking like by Friday afternoon:
Our work included massive amounts of weeding, laying in mulch and gravel, reconstructing stone path borders and ongoing construction of a pergola. While the work was not completely finished when we left on Friday, our hope is that some members of the community will feel empowered by the progress that has taken place and continue the upkeep of the park. As you may have noticed from the pictures, there's not a whole lot of shade in this park and it can get fairly hot in July and August, so kudos to everyone who participated in that no one was overcome by the heat or the labor. Also, there was a lot of fellowship and worship that took place on this trip, something that the youth especially appreciated. This was my ninth mission trip overall and I'm already planning for numbers ten and eleven. I find that there is little in this world so satisfying as knowing that I'm serving God's people in the way that God would serve, and in doing so with brothers and sisters in Christ. I challenge all Christians to live out their faith in tangible ways by serving whenever and wherever you can.

By the way, if you'd like to see a video report of the trip featuring the youth that participated and some of the fun events that we shared together, check out the Central UMC of Point Pleasant Beach Facebook page.

Also, we're still looking at comic book super heroes and how their stories inform our faith each Sunday morning. This week will be all about anger, its risks and its benefits, as we try to understand Marvel's the Incredible Hulk.

Grace and Peace!

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