Last week, about 30 high school students (plus leaders) from Grace Church (see the Student Ministry website) spent 7 days in Allendale. Now we are in between 2 four-day mission trips, in which several dozen middle schoolers will be here as well.
These students have worked at our summer camp, did yard work, visited a nursing home, and went on trips with Allendale students. And besides all that they did, it was the relationships that were built that will have the biggest long-term impact. They brought a ton of energy and excitement, which was noted in this video from last year's trips.
One thing was encouraging for Joanna and I is how we've had long-term relationships with many of these students and their parents. For example:
- We had more than a handful of these students in our classes when they were in nursery or preschool, including some we've known since they were born.
- One girl told us that her sister (who we taught when she was 4), still talks about us, though that was 9 years ago.
- We were in Small Group with one girl's parents when they had two kids born 13 months apart.
- One boy was the son of a woman that discipled Joanna in college, whom she last saw when he was about 2 or 3.
- One of the college interns was a girl that I first met when she was 9, and her parents later did our premarital counseling.
These past two weeks have been a reminder that we have the opportunity to pour into others, including the next generation. And God often uses that down the road to return the blessing back to us.