This past June, middle and high school youth from Calvary Church in Summit spent an exhilarating week on a “Youth Works” mission trip to Lynn, Massachusetts. Twelve youth and four adults worked five days helping young and old alike through several initiatives.
The first, “My Brother’s Table,” is a local soup kitchen serving over 100 families lunch and dinner. While the youth honed their kitchen skills and learned proper nutrition, they quickly realized the best part of the day was talking with the clients and getting to know them as individuals.
In the words of one teen, “It was so humbling and moving to connect with people whose lives are so different from mine. It was a window of understanding for the struggles that some are faced with daily. I met men, women, and children, who are at a rough place in their life and, yet, continue to fight and carry on every single day.”
The same was true for another group of teens who taught sports skills to under-served youth at a neighborhood park. After clearing the park of litter, the teens ran drills in basketball and soccer.
One teen remarked, “We played sports with the neighborhood kids all day and learned about attitude. I really learned a lot from that experience because I learned about how different people’s lives are and how they live and how you can’t go right in assuming, you have to go in open minded.”
The last group of teens spent daily shifts at an Adult Day Care center, playing games, assisting with arts and crafts, and most importantly, listening to the stories and wisdom of “The Greatest Generation.”
One teen told us, “The best part of my day was being able to sit and talk with many elderly people who came from all over. I had the pleasure of meeting two wonderful ladies who told me they had been friends for 80 years since 1936. That brought tears to my eyes as they were so close and even when one of them had gone blind they still were so close.”
Over the course of the week, the Calvary youth came to realize they had received much more than they had given. Said one, “I came on this mission trip looking for something, to help those less fortunate than myself. However, I quickly learned that it’s not just about giving or receiving. It’s about the way we all help each other through God. My Brother’s Table is more than just a charity, it’s a family under God.”