Monday, July 20, 2009

Pics from the 2009 Saint Matthew Mission Trip (Part #1)

Once again this year, youth and adults from Saint Matthew Lutheran Church in Logan, Ohio, the congregation where I serve as pastor, participated in a Group Workcamps Foundation 'Week of Hope' mission trip. This year, on June 14 to 19, a group of sixteen went to Nashville, Tennessee.

It was far from glamorous: We slept in sleeping bags on a church's basement floor. The basement was--sometimes--air conditioned.

The first two days brought us a few challenges and mishaps. One of our group had to be taken to an urgent care facility with heat exhaustion. Several got poison ivy. A few found and killed ticks before the little critters could cause them trouble. The challenges continued for several days.

But the last two days seemed to go better and most of our first-time mission trippers said that they'd go on another trip in the future.

Our group was part of a larger gathering of 74 people who, on this particular week, were drawn from churches (and one Girl Scouts contingent). The other work campers came from Minnesota, Iowa, Virginia, and South Carolina.

Once again this year, the experience was a concentrated, challenging, and fun reminder that service in the Name of Jesus Christ is our response to the goodness and grace of God.

[Here's our group on arrival at the church in Nashville, located close to The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home.]

The entire group of seventy-four people was put into work groups of five to eight people, most bringing people from different churches together. It's always great for our young people to make new friends from other places in this way!

[Jacob and Critter hanging out with a resident of the senior residence facility where they worked. In addition to joining in on activities with the residents, they did manual labor around the place, including painting the stairways.]

[Sam stocks a freezer with meat donated by a restaurant to a help center, which also distributed Second Harvest food.]

[Steven, on far right, works on packaging items for the Nashville distribution center of Feed the Children.]

[Kylen, on left, also working at Feed the Children.]

[Becky working hard on cleaning at a housing facility for mentally handicapped adults.]

[Jesse putting some muscle to some stubborn roots. This was at a residential facility for recovering addicts.]

[Stephen, far left, back row, who worked on a ministry with children.]

[Jennifer, on the right, dressed for the "fashion show" that she and other mission campers put on for residents of a senior facility.]

[Julie working at the Feed the Children warehouse.]

[A thumbs-up from Cory, working at a residential facility for mentally handicapped adults.]

[Some of the canned food offerings for hunger relief brought by mission trip participants. The cross was constructed by members of the Saint Matthew group. The crossbeams were made of boat paddles. Crosses brought by groups are meant to represent the churches and their areas. Hocking County, where we live, is a tourist destination, with its gorgeous hills, caves, waterfalls, the Hocking River, and Lake Logan. Canoeing is a favorite activity here.]

[You can click on all the images to enlarge them. More pictures tomorrow...I'm going to work out now.]

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