Students on Mission

Students on Mission

IMG_0436Spring Break Mission Team to Boston, MA

March 2 – 9, 2013

     Our 2013 Mission team had a great trip to Boston, MA during Spring Break to work with The Boston Project Ministries.  We met up with students from Grand Valley State University with whom we had a great experience of learning about and serving the Boston area.

     We divided into several teams during the week and work at a variety of sites learning the stories and efforts of those who are on the front lines of much needed Boston Project Ministriesministries in Boston.  Some of these included the ministry to the homeless through Starlight Ministries, The Seafarers Mission, which serves those who have been out on the cruise ships and commercial boats for months at a time, after school programs in two parts of the city, including the Boston Project Ministry House, Jubilee House (a Salvation Army ministry, the Greater Boston Food Bank, and Rosie’s (a shelter and ministry for women who have suffered Domestic Violence).

Starlight Ministries is a ministry to help its congregation be trained to serve the Starlight Ministrieshomeless population in their community in Boston.  So, note, it is not just a ministry for the homeless but really serves as a discipleship training opportunity for congregants and other volunteers to come in and learn about why this kind of ministry is important and how to do it well, respecting those who are struggling with homelessness.  This particular place was a very transforming and powerful experience to me (Pastor Dave) and our students who served there.  Starlight Staff & Some of Our TeamOur students served here with humility and compassion, getting to know those who came and their stories, which were all different.  It helps us to realize that the homeless are not people who just don’t want to get a job.  They are people from a broad spectrum who have mental and developmental disorders, those in their 50’s or 60’s who have been laid off and few if anyone would consider hiring them because of their age (yes, age discrimination does

exists), or people who have gone through serious medical conditions and have been financially wiped out because they have no health insurance, and more.  The Starlight team were very gracious, patient trainers and mentors as we off

ered ourselves to their service

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WATCH FOR MORE BOSTON STORIES SOON!

Seafarers Mission

Second Church, Dorchester, MA (Where we stayed).Jubilee House

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The Oasis had a great mission trip to Northfork, WV over spring break in 2011.  Below you will find some pictures of some of our experiences and the area.  We will be adding more pics and some reflections from students who attended.  Also, we are adding a report here from Ryan Swayer, who is now serving this summer as a missionary intern at Mustard Seeds and Mountains where we served over Spring Break.

Ryan Swayer’s Report from July 3, 2011: Our first team of the summer was amazing.  They were from Mississippi and itwas made up of several families.  This was their first time working with Mustard Seeds and so they really didn’t know what to expect, but then again neither did I.  All but 4 members of the group worked at a church in Crumpler by organizing a VBS program.  The others worked at the job site for the week.  The job site consisted of scraping and painting a house that Mustard Seeds worked on about 13 years ago, doing the same thing.  Some of the siding was falling off, so we have had to replace parts of it.  The home owners are very amazing people. The second team came from Georgia and there was also a family from Ohio.  We were able to start two other job sites that week and get quite a bit accomplished.  I had the opportunity to stay in the same house as the Georgia team and it was a blessing.  Most of the team was made up of younger teens that were willing to work almost all day.  The next group that came through was made up of 5 different teams.  There was a church group from Michigan, another from Georgia, a group from Florida, a family from New Jersey, and another family from Wisconsin.  We had a total of 7 work sites going that week.  One of the work sites is where The Oasis worked during spring break this past March.  This week there is a team from Canada that arrived yesterday.  With the Fourth of July falling on a weekday and having a smaller number of team members in this week.  Only 3 work sites will be continuing on this week. During the lunches it is required to give devotions with the families at the houses. Almost everyone that I have sat through, the home owners are always ready to speak about what Christ means to them, and how he has changed their lives.  All throughout the community people know who Mustard Seeds and Mountains are.  It is quite amazing to meet people who have had their houses worked on in the past, or a friend or family member of past home owners.  There is always a thank you and generally a hand shake or hug.  People are so happy that teams come through to do the work.  Randy always tells the teams that it is possible to repay the money that is donated, but the time people take off from work or spend time away from their family and friends can not be repaid by us.  Anyone can write a check, but those who volunteer are sacrificing so much to be here. Please pray that everything continues to go smoothly and that the health and safety of the teams, families, and Mustard Seeds staff is well.

Ryan Swayer’s Report from June 12, 2011: The first few weeks here have been pretty much laid back. I was the first intern to show up and they just had me doing random work around the different facilities and mowing the bosses lawn because he had been in California for a couple months.  We have been fixing up the houses where the teams will be staying for the summer, mostly scraping and painting the walls. One of the houses had pipes burst and I had to go underneath and replace them.  It was quite muddy.   Randy and Lacy have just been trying to keep us busy by giving the other interns and I as much work as possible.  There are two other college interns that I work with, Abby Eggers who is from around Atlanta, Georgia and John Meadows who is from Wichita, Kansas.  I haven’t yet had to work with any teams because the first one comes in tomorrow from Mississippi.  This week we will be scraping and painting a house and also helping with VBS at a church in Crumpler.  Trying to keep up is kinda tough sometimes.  It’s so easy to forget stuff that we’re told because so much is being said at the meetings, and if you don’t write it down then Randy gets mad.  The roads are quite crazy around here too.  So many curves and hills to go around, I have already lost track of how may times I got lost my first week.  When the teams get here, I have been told, it will be gettin even tougher.  It’s supposed to be an almost nonstop work week.  I will try to keep everyone posted about what’s going on about once a week.  Please pray that everything goes smoothly and that everyone makes it through the summer safely. The common mailing address for here is:  P.O. Box 686, Northfork, WV 24868 Getting mail is pretty nice even if it is just a card or a letter to see how things are going.  It allows us to slow down and take some time for ourselves and it’s nice to know that someone is thinking about us. If anyone has any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer.  I can be reached at the above mailing address or by email at rjswayer@gmail.com.  I am also gonna try to get the other two interns to put in a few words every now and then so that it’s not just my point of view all the time.                    Ryan Swayer

 

Sarah Hutner’s Reflections on the 2011 Spring Break Mission Trip: My experience in Northfork, WV. working with Mustard Seeds and Mountains, was one I hold dear to my heart and will never forget. I really liked working with the local family, getting to know them and learning about their history and day to day life. The family we worked with was so appreciative for the smallest of tasks that we could do for them – like painting. I was impressed by what Mustard Seeds and Mountains are doing for their community. They seek out the critical needs of families and they try to fill them. This experience has truly humbled me and opened my eyes to how blessed I am and how fortunate my family really is. One of the really neat things about this town is the trains. I liked hearing them all day and they actually helped me fall asleep after a hard day’s work. Working with this organization was awesome because they knew the needs of the community and they efficiently and effectively worked with us to find out our skills and knowledge to best accomplish tasks. If we didn’t possess a certain skill we were taught how and it felt good to gain that knowledge. They helped us help others. It was also a wonderful feeling being able to work with my brothers and sisters in Christ to accomplish tasks and projects as a group.  I am proud of the work I did and I felt that God was by my side. This experience has made me want to further my volunteer work and find needs in my own community requires attention. If I ever get the chance to work with Mustard Seeds and Mountains again, I would do so in a heartbeat.