Drew, a college student and attendee of RiverGlen, shared some of his experience on his recent mission trip:
"I went on the Pittsburgh Mission Trip in the spring of 2023 with my dad and younger brother. My parents have been on mission trips before and always wanted to take us on one. I had been thinking about it before but the timing hadn't worked out. I am so glad that I was able to work it out; it was such a great experience.
One of our days was spent helping at the food pantry. We got to offer services to the whole community. One man needed help walking home and so they asked me to walk him home. At first, I was a little on edge because I didn't know the area at all. But I said yes and I think it was God's work putting that opportunity in front of me. I could tell that the man I walked home and helped carry his groceries really needed that, and he was able to talk about his life. He just loved talking to me and I got to see a different side of the world that you don't normally see.
People that are out there just need someone to talk to so I was glad to get that opportunity.
You are 100% the hands and feet of Jesus when you are on a mission trip. I felt like a whole new person from that week. That spiritual rush is something I won't forget. I feel like I saw the world with a new awareness when I got back. I can't wait to go on another mission trip!
There are so many reasons to say no to going on a mission trip, but putting that aside for just one week... looking back I think why wouldn't I do that? I think everyone that has a relationship with God needs to go out and experience something like that."
Mission trips are highly beneficial for both the individuals who participate in them like Drew, and the communities they serve. These experiences offer a unique opportunity for personal growth, cultural exchange, and positive impact, making them a win-win for everyone involved.
Cultural Understanding: Mission trips often take participants to communities and regions that are culturally different from their own. Even within the United States with domestic trips, we see a melting pot of subcultures between states and even cities that we have the opportunity to step into. This exposure fosters cultural awareness and empathy.
Personal Growth: Mission trips challenge individuals to step outside their comfort zones. This can lead to personal growth in areas such as problem-solving, adaptability, faith, and leadership. It can help us put on a heavenly perspective on others and the world.
Empathy and Compassion: Being immersed in communities with various needs and challenges helps participants appreciate the struggles and hardships faced by others, promoting a stronger sense of compassion and a desire to make a positive difference.
Skill Development: Mission trips often require participants to develop a range of skills, including teamwork, communication, and project management. These experiences can enhance their skill set and be beneficial in their personal and professional lives.
Inspiration to Give Back: Many mission trip participants return home with a renewed sense of purpose. They are often motivated to continue giving back to their own communities and engage in volunteer work or charitable activities.
In summary, mission trips are mutually beneficial experiences that not only provide essential assistance to underserved communities but also offer participants an opportunity for personal development, increased cultural awareness, and a lifelong commitment to making a positive impact on the world. These trips bridge gaps, inspire change and leave a lasting impression on both the individuals who go on them and the communities they serve.