I was watching the Stanley Cup playoffs on the weekend and this ad came on the screen, and their slogan was: "Investing in tomorrow begins today". I then proceeded to watch the rest of the third period. As I was watching, I thought about that slogan. It was very catchy and true. In 2002 a couple of parents approached me about some kind of trip during spring break where their youth could work and serve as well as grow in their faith. In 2003 our first "Work and Grow” trip set out to Pender Island to serve at Hope Bay Bible Camp (HBBC).The reasoning behind going to the coast was obvious: it was green with lots of sunshine and rain! And we actually had a connection through a family in our church. There is something about being in a different and beautiful setting where God can work in our midst..
This last spring break trip March 23-30 marked our 13th trip to HBBC! There were 39 on the roster this year, 10 who had never been to Pender Island before. The 2 questions that usually come up after a trip is how was your trip and how does it compare to other trips? I would say it's like when you come home and you have to make supper (not that I make supper a lot) you see what you have in your pantry and freezer and you cook with what you have. Each year God brings a different flavour to each trip, with the many youth and leaders that come year after year. He stirs our hearts and minds (STIR IT UP!) and we learn to taste and see that the Lord is good!
I think of how God has been so faithful in providing great leaders for our youth on these trips! One of the keys we are learning on these trips is the value of having older leaders who are willing to spend a week and share their lives with our youth. That's what happens in a week, when you live, work, travel, and eat with people you get to know people in all different situations. It also leads to some great friendships after the trip as they see each other and connect in church. One of the things that really came out from our visioning retreat last month was the idea of mentoring from kids to youth to adult. How can we provide opportunities for young and older to connect, walk with each other and encourage each other in our faith? These spring break trips have been one way where adults have been able to connect with youth. When I was on the university campus the Navigators group were pretty intentional about investing and meeting with people, and one of the key verses we memorized during that time was:
You then my son be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 2 Timothy 2:1-2
This idea of investing in tomorrow begins today! These trips allow for young and older to connect. They get to know one another better and provide opportunities for our leaders and grade 12 students to start investing. At our Pender debrief time one of the stories was from a grade 12 student who heard about a grade 7 student stealing all the shoes from a cabin and bringing them to the dining hall. This grade 12 student said they did that when they were in grade 7 at Pender. There was a connection and desire to come back and lead these grade 7 students in a couple of years.
I would say one of the highlights on this trip was cross generational relationships. There was a strong connection between those new on the trip and the veterans, between our leaders and the youth. There was strong sense of unity and family on this trip. I am very thankful to God for that.
I want to encourage you whether it's going on a Pender trip or just taking someone out for a slurpee, working on your car, going for a walk, playing tennis, to seriously think about investing in tomorrow by investing people today. We need to be intentional about this and I know it is not easy. You might say what do I have to offer? How do I even do it? Whether you are looking for a mentor or wanting to mentor someone, talk to one of the pastors, we would be more than happy to chat about it.
Remember you are chosen by God, you have been set apart, you are dearly loved and you do have something to offer. I am praying that in the coming year we would have more opportunities to connect with each other and that we could learn from each other young and old of how God is working in our midst!
I also am so grateful for how VBC is so supportive of our youth! The parents, leaders and many people who donated their time and gifts to make our fundraiser so successful. To the many people who prayed during the preparation and the actual trip. God answered and is still answering prayer from the trip! THANK YOU!
Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:18-19 (MSG)