Our experiences in life determine who we are and who we become as a person. Recently, I had an experience that was very profound for me, in the form of a mission trip to Charleston, South Carolina with Group Week of Hope.
On July 11 some kids from my church’s youth group and I embarked on a long trip to South Carolina that we had been planning for and fundraising for nearly a year. On the first day we were welcomed by the staff and settled in. At night our youth group and the three other groups there convened for a worship service. After that we were separated into fourteen crews, each with representatives from the four different youth groups. My crew was number one, literally. We broke the ice and had devotions with our youth groups afterwards. At the end of this first day we were exhausted but ready to help people.
Breakfast duty on the first day forced us to wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:00. After breakfast our crews assembled and prepared to depart to our given locations to serve other people in the community. My crew traveled out to the Rural Mission Head Start for migrant workers’ children. Since our contact wasn’t available at first to instruct us, we worked with the children. Soon we began to really connect with them. When our contact showed up we were asked to move some items such as tables and play sets so that we could clean them. After we did that our contact let us off early. Back at the church we relaxed until dinner and then worship service.
Day Two was started off with “The Hairbrush Song” to wake us up. At the mission we had to organize a shed that contained almost all their supplies (chairs, tables, toys, shelves, etc.). So we emptied it and put everything back so that there was more space. After helping out in one of the classrooms and taking a shower we were finished. For the remainder of the afternoon we had fun, relaxed, and made new friends. Since the church was having an event and Week of Hope couldn’t use their buildings, the four youth groups had the night to themselves. My group went to a place called Frankie’s Fun Park and then to Golden Corral to eat.
For the next two days we worked at the residential part of the Caring Heart Hospice. Even though we weren’t working with patients, we did spend time with the various residents. While not much happened on the first day there, the residents warmed to us on the second and had a lot of fun. The service on Wednesday back at the church was profound. Everyone connected and came closer to God in a positive way. Thursday was the last official day of the Week of Hope and emotional for many. After somber goodbyes to our crews we had fun in the form of a variety show and a rave.
While the three other youth groups have gone their separate ways back to North Carolina, Florida, and Maryland, the connection that we had there in South Carolina will never die. Through this mission trip I received an opportunity to travel to a part of the country that I otherwise wouldn’t have, while making lasting friendships and doing genuine good for the community. Week of Hope offers opportunities for mission trips in various cities all over the country. If you’re interested in learning about these programs that are more than just your ordinary summer vacation, check out www.groupworkcamps.com/weekofhope.
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