A Local Mission Trip
by Leanne Prothe, Youth Coordinator, Grace Presbyterian Church (Vienna, VA)
As the Youth Group coordinator at Grace Presbyterian Church outside of Washington DC, I greatly desired our youth group to go on a mission trip. But I wanted it to take place somewhere different than our homes and home church. I wanted to see the group serving or evangelizing—focused outwards on others and their needs. I was also excited to see relationships flourish as we spent time together through service, as a mission trip uniquely encourages. However, it was already late spring 2023, folks had their summer calendars decisively parsed, and honestly, I didn’t really feel like I had the bandwidth to lead a group of youth for an entire week as we were all out of our comfort zones. Mission trips are not something I myself have been a part of very much and I was intimidated by the planning required and the energy necessary for a far-away week-long trip.
But then two ideas came together. First, on the OPC website, I clicked on an interesting opportunity: Churches Helping Churches - Short-Term Missions & Disaster Response. “We could pair your group up with a church that could use some help, but doesn’t have the volunteer resources. Let’s work together to lift one another up!”
That sounds good—we have energetic youth. We can help somewhere!
Secondly, a very missions-minded friend said “You don’t have to go far to get the benefit of a mission trip!”
Putting those two thoughts together, I contacted our Regional Home Missionary Charles Biggs and Allison Groot with OPC Short-Term Missions explaining the availability of an energetic youth group and my idea of a local mission trip. At first, I didn’t know if there would be a match - a place for us to serve. But soon, I heard of an opportunity at Trinity Reformed OPC in Lanham, Maryland, just around the DC Beltway.
We scheduled our trip to Lanham for a hot June Saturday. We tackled brush, dug holes, and helped in the monthly food pantry. We were less than 45 minutes from home but we got the experience of surviving alongside brothers and sisters we didn’t know, helping them care for their church property, welcoming visitors to their church through the food pantry, and growing in relationship with one another as we worked hard together…mission goals met!
If you are interested in a mission trip for yourself or for a group, churches helping churches could be a good fit! Make your availability known and see how you can be used by the Lord!