I learned to fold origami on a mission trip. I also tasted green tea ice cream for the first time on a mission trip. I met people whose ancestors have a story that’s written about in the history books and still inform how we interact with one another today. These experiences occurred when I stepped out my front door and hopped in the FUMC bus headed south to Four Corners and Los Angeles and Red Bird Mission in Kentucky.
For most of my teenage life, I traveled on mission trips every summer. Our youth group’s intention and efforts focused on helping others through labor, clean up, and activities like Vacation Bible School. I met others along the journey that understood mission work to be preaching the gospel through creative expressions like theatre, art, and conversations on the street corner.
In either expression of mission, however, the intangibles left the lasting mark. The ways hosts greeted us with meals larger than they would ever prepare for themselves. The ways the natural surroundings influenced neighborly connection or kept people isolated. The ways music crossed barriers of language, hugs expressed gratitude from all involved.
Early this summer, May 31-June 3, you have an opportunity to participate in a mission trip. This particular trip includes work and talking with people and LOTS of intangibles, what I will call the thin places where God shows up. We will travel through Southeast Colorado, helping out communities with fire clean up, food pantry organization and property upkeep. We’ll also dive into the culture, history and justice dynamics that continue to inform the area and our world, including visits to Sand Creek Massacre Site, Amache Japanese-American Location Center, and the Great Sand Dunes.
Jesus cared for the vulnerable and asked us to open our eyes to all people especially those who have suffered injustice and with whom we need to repair relationships. This mission and cross-cultural trip will be an opportunity to learn about our history as Methodists, Americans, Coloradans, and Christians. As we recognize God in each other and the ancestors of this region, we can come to recognize how we can be God’s hands and feet through work, partnering with others to bring about love and wholeness in communities.
Hope you can come along for all or even part of the trip. Please contact me to go.