Tonight we had a Gift Wrap Party. Phase 2 of our Teen Mission Trip. Phase 1 was taking the wish list of sponsored children and shopping for them. Phase 2 is wrapping all the gift.
We had 45 people (men, women, children) all wrapping and working together for an hour and half. I believe based on the number of labels printed, we wrapped over 300+ gifts for 11 sponsored children and extra generic gifts. Our troop personally sponsored 2 of the 11–teen girls that are T1′s age.
In the past we have done the Opperation Shoebox campaign and we have wrapped gifts for Uruguay and Kenya missions. About three years ago, at the urging of a congregation member, we began sponsoring children at a residential school and facility in an economically challenged part of our state. The private organization relies of the generosity of sponsors to provide Christmas for the students. These are not orphans but the children cannot be cared for by their birth families and yet not released for adoption. They have infants through 18-year-old students at the school.
Phase 3 is the mission trip our teens take to deliver the gifts. They get up early on a Saturday morning and drive 5 hours to the school. They will unload the gifts and help the school log in each one so that everything is accounted for and that the generic gifts can be listed and properly distributed. They will feel good about the work, the wrapping, the giving.
They will tour the school and the housing facilities. It will hit home that these students live there full-time, not able to go home, not able to be cared for by their families. They will see how the school is trying to provide a better future for these children.
They will have the opportunity to meet with the sponsored children and to take them off campus to dinner. They will see how we take for granted being able to run through a drive-thru as these children have to have a chaperone with them just to leave the facility for a few precious hours to go eat a fast food meal. They will see how just being able to purchase their own clothes means the world to them as they have to accept whatever comes as hand-me-downs.
The teens may not realize it but the “mission” is really about them–showing them service is a joy and showing them to count their own blessings and to share what has been given to them, not taking anything for granted.
This will be T1′s third trip to the school. T2 is finally old enough to go. Two of their scout friends have asked to go–seeking opportunities to serve others. My children will have the opportunity to show and share God with these friends as well.
I hope this “local” mission will turn into a love of seeking out active mission trips and opportunities to serve others face to face, not just out of our monetary blessings. I’ve said before I would love to do the Mercy Ships with the Chief and the girls at the end of his career.
I am attempting to link up with Simply Beth and her Three Words Wednesday. I can’t remember how to grab a button… hope this works…