One of the most incredible things about high school youth is their depth of compassion, willingness to serve and sense of adventure. With those three ingredients - they really can change the world. So what needs changing? When there is a need not met - that's when change is needed. When there are children or families in our communities who are hungry - elderly who are lonely or neglected, when mental illness is not addressed and homelessness becomes a way of life and not just a temporary thing - change is needed! Service and mission trips help us to keep our hearts pliable and our eyes searching for those in our midst who need the love of Christ. A high school mission trip with YNIA makes changing the world an everyday event and it empowers young people to stand up, choose to be the salt and the light that changes things - that brings hope, healing and joy.
With the ALS bucket challenge all over the place this month - it made me think about a part of social justice that is really important and that is ADVOCACY! I am so excited that this debilitating disease is getting so much attention - the awareness about it is just as important as the money raised. Raising awareness is a way to advocate for those who can't always do it for themselves - a way to bring attention to a need, an issue or a problem. When we know about something - we can act! Dumping a bucket of ice water on our heads for a cause is crazy - but cool and definitely effective!
We have finished YNIA summer mission trips for 2014. I am always a little relieved - every one is home safe and sound and so much incredible service and outreach happened with just a few bumps and bruises. It's part of the whole thing though - you don't know what kind of adventure is ahead of you when you sign up to be on a YNIA week. Who will I meet? Will I have to do something or go somewhere I am a little nervous about? What will the food be like? The people?