Seven Students Go on Mission to Winthrop, Maine
On Wednesday, July 19th, seven youth-aged students gathered in our church parking lot to start the journey of partnering with God to make His Name known in the earth. The calling this summer was four hours away in the small yet beautiful town of Winthrop, Maine. The group knew that there may be an opportunity to help with a project constructing and deconstructing a teen crisis center in town, but God had other plans. By His power and through committed mission groups that had gone before up this summer, that project had been completed, and our group was needed for various other projects in Winthrop as well as at United Methodist Camp Mechuwana.
Camp Mechuwana has a great presence in the Winthrop community with staff and groups regularly serving at nursing homes, thrift stores, community buildings/organizations and more. In the next few days we would have the privilege of doing the same.
Once our team made it up to Camp Mechuwana, we figured out our sleeping arrangements than walked down to the sport field where we played soccer and wiffle ball. This was a great way to use up some of the stored up energy we had from the car ride. After laughing and playing against one another, we walked back to the Commons for dinner. We then changed into our bathing suites and headed down to the lake. We took our swimming and boat tests so we could swim in deeper water and most importantly, jump off different platforms. Once our swimming time was up, we went back to our cabin, showered and got ready for our evening devotion. We discussed how God has a greater purpose than making Himself known to us while on mission. Although it is certain that God would speak to us while we served Him in various different capacities, His concern is far greater than us…
“I have raised you up for this very purpose…that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:14-16)
God reveals His glory to all nations in order to receive glory from all creation.
That is why our group went up to Maine, to further God’s glory in the earth. Not for us…but for God and for others.
The following morning was the first day of our humble service for God. Our group fueled up with a pancake breakfast then fueled up spiritually with our morning devotion about how evangelical and compassion ministry is needed in order to reach the earth. Jesus was concerned with both, and so are we.
We walked to our first job site where we would be laying styrofoam around a building foundation and covering it with dirt. Our team had to cut the foam and then level the foam so it could be flesh with the foundation. Load after load of dirt was dropped so we could cover the pieces of foam and make it level. Partially through this project, half of us were sent to the maintenance area of camp where we started to stain a barn. Although we didn’t have much time at this location to finish the project, we knew other groups would pick up where we left off. And…this was good preparation for tomorrow’s assignments!
After lunch we drove into town and served at Tabitha’s Closet. Tabitha’s is a free thrift store that is open to the community Saturday mornings where shoppers can pick out 3 items free of charge. Donations are accepted and stored year-round for all seasons. Our group was responsible for going through a recent donation; identifying if the clothing was in good condition and then grouping them. Our students really enjoyed this task, even so much as to model some of the clothing. After our time at Tabitha’s, we made our way to Heritage Rehabilitation & Living Center where we met with an played Pokeno with the residents. Pokeno is like Bingo but uses card suites and numbers to win. Our group helped the residents who were unable to find the number/suite themselves and conversed with them. It was an awesome time visiting with them! Our students blossomed laughing and having fun with them. The residents competitive nature was something our group definitely enjoyed participating in! And let the record be set, the boys did win. After our visit, we drove back to camp, ate dinner, swam more in the lake, went to the all-camp bonfire, recapped on the day and enjoyed talking and playing games in the cabin. A great full day of work and ministry for sure!
The next day our group spent the whole day serving at Camp Mechuwana. Over the years, Mechuwana has transitioned all of their camp buildings/cabins from a dark red stain to dark brown with green trim. There was one cabin right when you enter the camp that wasn’t in good condition. We were responsible for beautifying that building as well as having the honor of painting the last red building in the whole camp. We actually thought we were going to run out of time on that cabin, as it was getting late in the day and cambers were coming back to it. However, the following morning, our adult chaperone Russ Brown, finished the front part of the building, which was actually very difficult to reach! So looking back, we did a lot that day up until the morning we left!
After painting all day, we had pizza for dinner and had our last swim in the lake. We hurried back to the cabin, showered and got ready for our bonfire…which was of course equipped with s’mores! While the fire was being made, the kids came up with their own game, entitled, “Fruitball.” Very similar to baseball, but since the wiffle ball was no where to be seen, oranges and apples were the next best option for a ball. If it was a powerful at-bat, the fruit would smash into pieces, leaving a citric aroma in the air and on our skin. It was awesome and was some of the students favorite memory!
Once the sun started to set and the logs were turning into coals, it was s’more time! Each student had a different technique and marshmallow preference. We really could have been on Food Network’s “S’more-Off!” We went around and talked about our favorite memories from the trip, some including working at Tabitha’s Closet, playing games at the nursing home, painting the different builds and so much more. We also discussed what qualities we saw and enjoyed in each person that was there. We recognized those who worked hard, made an effort to include everyone, could make everyone laugh, etc. It was a nice way to recognize all the good from the trip and encourage growth in those areas. Once the mosquito’s started attacking us, it was time to head inside where we played charades, did skits and played hide-and-seek game, “stalker.”
This mission trip was one for the books. Students bonded well with one another, worked hard while serving, learned more about God’s purpose for the world and how they can be involved with it. It is our hope that the experiences and lessons learned from this trip will live on forever in each participant. That their love for God would grow even more richly as they grow into mature, God-fearing individuals. Thank you for serving in this capacity, it is eternal.
To view more photos from the trip, click here.