Service With a Smile
We recently took a group of 24 teenagers out of their comfort zone and into some areas of real need. We spent half the day walking around the Tenderloin of San Francisco. If you’re not familiar with that area, it’s pretty much the slum. Drug abuse, mental illness, extreme hunger all abound in the Tenderloin.
We took some time to just observe how the “regular” citizens interacted (or completely ignored) the homeless. It was sobering because as we watched the realization came over my group and me that we often do the exact same thing we were witnessing – complete avoidance as if the homeless didn’t exist. That was humbling to recognize our own prejudice and come to terms with it.
to show Christ’s love to anyone they encountered
For some, this was the first foray into talking with people that live way outside our norm. For others, this wasn’t going to be a big challenge…or so they thought. We’ve given out lunches to homeless people before, no biggie, right? Ha! This was MUCH different! We’ve not typically been in areas where active drug use is going on, where people are being arrested right in front of us, where violence and mental instability are on every corner. This WAS a stretch. But it was a good stretch! Many of the kids were able to see how blessed they truly are in their own life circumstances.
No complaining. No begrudging. Many different methods with the same goal in mind – to show Christ’s love to anyone they encountered and to actually see people and let them know they’d been seen. And they executed this with amazing grace. The students actually SAW the people, touched them, spoke with them, ate with them, shared with them. IT. WAS. AWESOME!
If you have or know a teenager that went, pray that they will continue in the mission they’ve begun. If you have or know a teenager that wasn’t able to go, pray that they will desire to join in the mission. If you don’t know a teenager, you should get to know one – they’re awesome and they can love on people like none other.
If you want to find out more about short term missions with Center for Student Missions, check out CSM here.
Live in Elk Grove? Looking for a great youth group for you or your student? Take a look at Renovate Student Ministries at LifePointe Christian Church.