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Youth Ministry

For more information about Youth Ministry in MUP,
contact Audra West, audraw@fpccolumbia.org.

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A Worthy Mission

Putting faith into action was the goal for this summer’s mission trip. On July 9th, I traveled to the Quad City area of Illinois and Iowa along with five youth and two other adults representing our Missouri Union Presbytery. Our group was composed of three youth from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Versailles, two youth and two adults from First Presbyterian Church in Columbia and one adult from First Presbyterian Church in Kirksville. This was our presbytery’s first youth mission trip since before COVID and even though our numbers were small, I believe it was a week well worth our time and efforts.  I know my goal was to serve God, to learn about what it means to get involved in the community, and to fellowship with others while strengthening our faith. 1 Peter 4:10 calls us to, “use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”

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This was my first mission trip as a leader, but I clearly remember the impact of mission trips on my life growing up. The one I remember most clearly is when members of my church youth group carefully packed our things into the church van and traveled from Oklahoma to Texas. It was about a 9-hour trip and as the week unfolded, the impact our group made became clear. Even though our mission trip was to a different part of the country serving different people, I know that the impact we made was a positive one, just like the impact that our MUP group made the week of July 9-14, 2023.

We spent the week partnering with two other church groups, one from Columbus, Nebraska and the other from New Berlin, Wisconsin. We worked with the ARC of Quad Cities, Camp Excel and Active Day. The work ranged from indoor cleaning and organizing to outside yard work. During these projects our group also had the opportunity to interact with special needs adults by playing games and doing crafts. Our Blackhawk workgroup also got to spend an afternoon with the children and youth at Camp Excel. We played games in their gym, enjoyed their playground, and taught them our favorite dance, “Church Clap”. 

After our work during the day, we were able to have a little fun each evening. Monday’s activity was playing at White Water Junction, a local waterpark. On the second evening we enjoyed a treat at Whitey’s Ice Cream and explored the Davenport Skybridge. Listening to a community speaker from project PUNCH (People Uniting Neighbors and Churches), enjoying pizza and a lip sync battle kept us busy on Wednesday night.  On our last evening we had a whole group cookout and enjoyed playing at a local park.

Each evening we had meaningful worship led by the Youth Works Staff which included music, scripture, prayer, and a message. Following our whole group worship we spent time in church groups for further discussion, prayer, and scripture. This time allowed us to talk about our experiences from the workday. It also gave our group, which represented 3 of our MUP churches, a chance to get to know each other on a deeper level.

So, I pray that the other youth and adults who worked alongside me on this year’s mission trip felt the same type of blessing. Galatians 6:9: says, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” I know the harvest will be worth it.  We were able to grow closer to one another and have memories to relive: the funny, the misfortunate, the heartfelt, and maybe even the miraculous. 

Thank you for the financial support through the presbytery that allowed four members of our group to attend without causing financial hardship. As we move into the next program year, please keep an eye out for further opportunities for the youth of our Missouri Union Presbytery. These activities are an excellent way to help strengthen the faith of our youth and we need your help in getting the word out and helping provide leadership.

 

Blessings,

Audra West

MUP Youth Committee

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