Have you ever been on a short-term missions trip? Are you excited about incorporating SERVICE into your holiday traditions? Do you regularly expose your kids to the valuable experience of giving to those who have less? Do we skip over these potentially rich moments with family and friends because something "better" or something "routine" takes up our time?
My perfect day might include snuggling up with a cozy blanket and a good read, music playing softly in the background, and kids all happily occupied in nearby rooms. It's humbling to recognize that in the New Testament, Paul strategically places himself in the travel hubs of large cities to share the good news of Jesus (large crowds, smelly streets, unfamiliar languages, uncomfortable experiences). Similarly, every year we send our Timberline students to New York City for a week before they head home for Christmas break. This proves to be an amazing opportunity to get in the midst of multitudes of people, learn from ministries that are already doing a great work in America’s large cities, and take a stab at sharing the love of Christ with an eclectic demographic of people. I'm excited to share some of our students’ and leaders’ thoughts and insights about the trip this month…
“I went into the trip feeling overwhelmed at how little our small group could do in only a week but was blown away at the amount of ministries already working and serving the people of New York. I do believe we had a positive impact, not only serving the less fortunate but also serving the servers; the people that have listened to God’s call for their lives and are expanding the kingdom, one soup kitchen at a time.” - Shyanne, TL student
“We learned the importance of alleviating the multiple dimensions of poverty - physical (feeding a hot meal, giving out warm socks, connecting people to a relief shelter), emotional (giving dignity to each person we spoke with by listening, giving kindness and warmth through attentiveness and interest in their lives), and spiritual (sharing the hope of Jesus Christ).” - Joseph, TL staff
“Organizations like Times Square Church, St. Paul’s House, and Bowery Rescue Mission are doing so much to not just provide short-term relief to those who are in need, but to provide ways and a plan for them to get on their feet and get off the streets. One place explained, ‘We offer a hand out and a hand up.’” - Kiki, TL volunteer staff
“…the trip to New York and sharing my testimony and life with all the homeless I met and others, made it so much easier to share my life story while I'm at home for Christmas break and seeing that anytime anywhere is outreach.” - Zac, TL student
“I learned this trip that both the well put-together or ‘successful’ businessmen and the person experiencing homelessness were both falling apart on the inside and desperately in need of a Savior. In some ways, those experiencing externally difficult circumstances were closer to receiving the help of a Savior because they recognized their need more. I think a lot of students were surprised how many born again Christians they met ‘on the street.’ It helped break down the stigma of homelessness always being about someone strung out on drugs and working the system.” - Joseph, TL staff
“…we had the opportunity to step in and serve at the Relief Bus. It was pretty cool because Sam Munk (TL student) was on my team; she had lived in China for two years, and a lot of the homeless people there were Chinese women. Sam was in a section of the bus where you can talk to people and pray with them. As Sam spoke to the people in their heart language, the full-time staff at the Relief Bus were amazed, saying, “We’ve never had the luxury of someone here who could speak Chinese to these women.” Sam stayed for 3-4 hours, talking with people and praying over people – it really felt like the Lord was using her powerfully.” - Sam H., TL staff
As we enter into 2019, in the midst of our resolutions and goals, let’s take a minute to think about ways we can serve those less fortunate or encourage those who are serving vocationally by coming alongside them in some way this year. Joseph Weissman (TL staff) reflects, “I think many of us on the trip found that it is truly ‘more blessed to give than to receive’ in that we often felt more blessed, encouraged, and enriched in Christ than perhaps the people we were ministering to!”
We look forward to all the living Lord Jesus will be doing in and through you (and us) in the coming year!