We live in an area that doesn’t experience much snow and has received very little in the past three years. But for whatever reason, three weekends in a row we have had winter weather and freezing temperatures. The third weekend, my Acteens group gathered to help with Leah’s Hopes and Dreams, which is an organization that provides homeless people with necessities and helps set them up for success.
One Friday evening we assembled together for dinner at church, and after dinner we helped to prepare the jeans and sweatshirts to be passed out the following morning. These had been collected even prior to us working to sort them.
Missions involves many people working together toward a common goal. We split into groups and sorted through the donated clothes. We labeled them by gender and size. Then we tagged the clothes, made sure they were in good condition, and put them in organized bins so they could be distributed the following day. When we finished, we loaded up the car to send the clothing.
There’s so much to learn through missions experiences. While we were sorting the clothes we commented that the clothes were really good quality. Our leader followed that up by saying, “That’s why you can’t judge people based on what they’re wearing.” She made a valuable observation that when you see a person on the street who is homeless, you don’t really know how they received their clothes or where they got them from. You don’t know what they were given by others. This was a good reminder for me to not judge, but also to know how to respond when others comment about what someone is wearing. Missions can certainly adjust your perspective.
Look around, there are probably many people in need near you. Even if you live in an affluent area, I encourage you to look at the town just ten minutes down the road. There is so much to be done right where you have been planted. Get involved and find out what others are doing.
Missions is a great way to connect with others. As you take part in a missions activity, you will get to know the people you are working with a lot better. It is great to be able to serve those who are in need. When you are given the opportunity to work alongside a group of people toward a common goal, this can be encouraging for both you and others.
Missions is a great way to put feet to your faith. As Christians we are called to help and meet the physical needs of others. Missions is a great way to show others God’s love. As you get more involved, make an active effort to show Christ’s love. Pray that God will give you opportunities to serve others while also looking for ways to serve with others.
One of my best friends was at this event with me. I suppose that doesn’t matter, as I would have gone either way; but community is valuable, especially in this day and age. I encourage you to find a friend to be involved in missions with you or even a group of friends.
No one is designed to do life alone. Getting involved in missions can help you make new friends, but it can also be a good opportunity for you and your current friends to come together, grow together, and help others.
This experience was nothing fancy, it was really just some teenage girls and their leaders that gathered together to help where they could locally. I thought it was really cool to know our group was able to help people who were probably quite cold during those freezing weeks and couldn’t afford to purchase their own winter clothes.
Missions doesn’t have to be something big and spectacular. It can be something people do on a smaller scale. You don’t need to go somewhere far away to do missions. Missions can be done right where you are.
There are always needs to be met. Be aware of the needs that you can meet and take the opportunities that are placed in front of you. You never know what it could mean to someone else. Everybody has hard days ahead of them. Life is unpredictable and no one really knows what is next. Don’t be quick to judge people in need, they may not have as much support as you. Get involved with local missions opportunities. They will probably be encouraging experiences for you as well.
Grace Carter, a 2022 National Acteens Panelist, is from Harrisburg, North Carolina, and attends University Hills Baptist Church.