Teams Work in AZ
Before Spring Break, seventh-grade students teamed up with an organization called Praying Pelican Missions and GAP Ministries to perform many different service projects for six days in Tucson, Arizona. These projects included yard work and landscaping at several GAP Ministries homes, cleaning rooms in churches, emptying and repainting storage containers, and sorting and organizing at various thrift stores. There were eight teams working at different locations, and not one team did the same job two days in a row.
Gaining Skills Forming Friendships
While this type of work gave the students new experiences and skills, what the kids remember most were the people they served and the friends they met along the way. They played with kids who live in GAP homes, spent time with those in the veteran homes, served homeless in the parks, served at the Salvation Army, and played with kids at the refugee complex.
“We talked a lot about missional living over the week,” Grant Stephenson recounts, “On the last night, I challenged them to continue to do missional living when they got home by serving those they see daily, or at a Salvation Army, with veterans, or at one of many food banks — even if it is only once a month.”
A Memorable Impact
Grant Stevenson, trip speaker, and chaperone, thoughtfully explains, “Many of the homeless people shared encouraging words with the kids and enjoyed spending time with them. Building these types of relationships makes an impact on the homeless population and our students at SFC too. The stereotype that the homeless are scary people hopefully was challenged during this time. I hope the kids saw them as a dad, mom, son, or daughter– who all love someone and are loved by someone– but for whatever their reason, homelessness keeps them away from those people. Ultimately I hope the students see how much their Heavenly Father loves all people.”
Looking back, eighth-grade students say the Tucson trip opened their eyes to the less fortunate and was the most memorable and impactful trip in Middle School.