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The Power of Shared Mission Experiences Across Generations
A Conversation between a Retired Baby Boomer and a Gen Z College Student
What do a retired baby boomer and a Gen Z college student have in common?
As Harry Stone and Luke Kellet talked, they found that if you have participated in Northminster missions, age doesn’t matter - you have a lot in common. Luke, a 22-year-old Cincinnati State student who also works at the airport, has been on a number of youth mission trips - some in neighboring states, twice to Guatemala. As Harry and Luke chatted, several shared themes from their mission experience arose. First, it is spiritually invigorating to realize that God lets you actually make an important impact on the lives of others. Second, God changes your life as much as the lives of those you serve. And third, the community of believers at Northminster is strengthened through the shared mission experience.
Luke talked about realizing that through mission trips, God was using him to do things that really mattered. Those receiving stairs into their house, an addition to a mobile home, or prayer during a home visit in Guatemala are truly appreciative of the impact of the mission. And while Northminster gives from our abundance, we often experience those in the communities we serve sharing with the mission team and their neighbors from the little they have. We learn about generous giving from them.
Luke (and Harry) expressed that mission trips are a powerful time of personal spiritual growth. As Luke expresses it, “Mission trips changed my life. I get a God high,… refreshed, …see needs of others, …appreciate what I have.” Harry nods in agreement. Mission trips are a powerfully spiritually enriching experience at every age.
A spiritual community that persists beyond the mission trip is a third powerful impact. Luke recalled establishing a pen-pal relationship with a fellow “missionary” that is ongoing. He spoke of the close relationships that formed among young Guatemala mission team members. Luke said, “My life was difficult. It really helped having a group of Christian friends outside of school. It gave me space to be able to really express myself - to share beliefs and ideas.” Northminster, and the strong Christian friendships, sustained Luke through very challenging times. Harry, recently widowed and facing his own challenging time, smiles and nods in agreement - thinking of the friends from shared mission experiences whose prayers and actions support him every day.
Luke’s thoughts continued, “I look forward to seeing how this year’s mission trip will change the lives of the young adults who are going - like I know it will.” Harry chimed in, “That is truly what us older folks in mission are hoping for - the youth of our church to have the powerful spiritual experience of mission that creates a strong and expanding faith community within Northminster that we [older folks] have experienced.
Opportunities for Northminster youth to participate in mission is an important aspect of Northminster’s spiritual growth. The Second Mile offering for April will help provide funding to defray the expense of the mission trip for our youth.