Teen program director, Anne Vickers, has always had a dream to do a spring break missions trip with the Agape youth. Whenever Anne asks the teens how they want to serve the community, the teens pitch great ideas about serving the homeless. First Presbyterian Church of Houston has been volunteering with Agape for months and hoped to spend more intentional time with the teen participants. All three of these hopes came together this March for Agape’s first teen mission trip.
Anne Vickers along with Megan Stidham and Jonathan Ramsey of First Presbyterian decided to spend a spring break weekend volunteering with Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ homeless ministry, Community First in Austin, Texas. First Pres would provide the volunteers if Anne would provide the teens! Every year the teens participate in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine learning about global poverty. This annual event is what inspired the teens to have a heart for the homeless. A few weeks later, the mission trip provided a chance to put to action their desire to serve the homeless. This trip was especially meaningful because it gave the teens a chance to realize that they too had something to offer the world. It would positively affect their self-esteem, their neighborhood pride, and their leadership skills.
The mission trip was not without challenges. The first night, the twelve teens and twelve volunteers were sleeping outside in tipis. It was raining and freezing cold. The teens slept well, but most of the adults were up all night! The low temperatures and wind continued into the morning. Because of the poor weather conditions, they had trouble starting a fire to cook breakfast. But God provided and the local YMCA allowed the teens to spend the morning playing basketball until it warmed up and the wind died down. That afternoon the teens spent time clearing land for new homes to be built on the property. They met and interacted with the residents, disabled and chronically homeless individuals now living at Community First. The residents gave them a tour of the property. They witnessed the vision of community sustainability; bringing back with them knowledge of community gardens, goats, and chicken coops. Best of all, the teens recognized that they already have everything in them needed to impact their world and be community leaders! After a chilly night and a strenuous work day, the teens were rewarded with a visit to Six Flags Fiesta Texas to cap off the remarkable weekend!
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