I just got back from Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Our church took a group of 10 high schoolers on a week and a half long service trip. Our primary work was on the Samuelito Daycare building, a project of the Mennonite Churches in Bolivia. Our church here in Harper, Ks has had a relationship with the Bolivian Mennonites for going on 20 years. For a fairly typical rural Mennonite church, it’s a partnership that is pretty special and really quite amazing.
One thing to know about our group is that the majority of the kids that we took aren’t particularly involved in church. Also, most of them haven’t really been out of the state or even our county, let alone to another country. That to say that this trip was the first profound experience of the working of God on a global scale for most of our kids. As with most service trips, yes we did do some amount of good work on the building project. However, we certainly received more than we gave and were changed in some profound ways.
As part of our reporting back to the congregation, I offered the sermon below. Hopefully it’s a helpful reflection. It’s specific to this trip and to Bolivia, but I think it really should to many cross-cultural situations.
Oh, yeah and it’s cross posted here.
I went to the Grand Canyon with my family when I was in High School. As my family toured various parts of the canyon and different times of the day it felt as though I was seeing new things about every 10 minutes. And of course, I felt compelled to take picture of every new thing that I saw. When we got back home and had our pictures developed I remember looking at all of the pictures and thinking, “yep, that’s a hole in the ground. Yep, another hole in the ground.” What had been so vivid when I was experiencing it lost it’s uniqueness when I tried to put it on film. read more »