First Cong Youth Mini-Madison-Mission-Expedition

First Congregational Church was well represented last week as a group of Youth ventured out into the Madison Community to serve those in need as part of their Mini-Madison-Mission-Expedition. 
Thursday, July 20
DAY ONE of the Expedition began at Karmenta Care Center.  First Cong youth were on hand to visit and play games with residents of the east side nursing home.  Numerous games of table bowling, checkers, Four Square, and the board game Sorry were enjoyed by all. Time was also spent reading the day's paper out loud to those with visual impairments. The afternoon took the group to the south side Boys & Girls Club where youth did yard work; carting piles of mulch around the site, laying border bricks, and filling sidewalk cracks with sand. The group decided to use some of their mission funds to donate a much needed new wheelbarrow to the Club. A store room was also given a thorough organizing and cleaning.
Friday, July 21
DAY TWO started with a focus on food insecurity at Second Harvest Food Bank on Dairy Drive. Youth learned that 1 in 5 children in SE Wisconsin are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity or affordable, nutritious food.  They were pleased to learn that their work with last year's Madison Area CROP Hunger Walk (First Cong Youth put up the signs for the Walk) supported Second Harvest Food Bank.  25% of funds raised at the CROP Walk stay in the Dane County area.  With last year's donated CROP funds, Second Harvest was able to secure over 21,000 meals. The Youth plan to again help with this year's CROP Walk on Sunday, October 15.
This being a WORK expedition, the group then donned their aprons and hairnets, and headed to the food prep room to cut up and package 2lb bags of assorted cheese.  Large blocks of cheese are secured, by Second Harvest agents, from area cheese producers who either donate, or sell the cheese at much reduced prices. The 2 lbs bags of cheese are then distributed to food pantries throughout SE Wisconsin.  In just under three hours, the workers were able to package 1,475 bags, or 2,950 pounds of cheese. That's nearly a ton and a half of cheese!
Following a lunch break at Culvers, the group then headed back to First Cong for an afternoon of cleaning toys in the Nursery.  The initial afternoon plans of swimming at Goodman Pool were cancelled due to a thunder storm.
MISSION and COMMUNITY are the goals of Mission Trips, and First Cong Youth worked hard in service, and built bonds with each other and their community. The two-day Madison-Mission-Expedition took the place of the longer planned trips which were not feasible due to busy Summer schedules. The local Expedition offered more flexibility allowing more youth to participate. The local Mission Trip also introduced areas of need right in their own neighborhoods, hopefully prompting an individual spark of service.
Early in the Fall, First Cong Youth gather for a planning meeting to set up the coming program year.  Youth choose a location for the Mission Trip, with the caveat that the location be within a one-day drive of Madison.  In most cases, Youth don't really care where they go, they just want to serve.  While more exotic locations may be beyond a one-day drive, we work hard to educate our young people to be good stewards of their mission funds and have them ask the question: Who/what are we doing this for?  I remind the kids "We don't have to drive far to find people who need help."  In his book Toxic Charity, Robert D. Lupton encourages organizations to be more mindful with their mission philosophy, thinking more of those being served than those doing the serving.  He offers examples of American church and university groups spending huge funds to travel to exotic locations to build one house when, had they just sent the money, 10 homes could have been built, and that using local builders, plumbers, and electricians supports the local economy.  Again, you don't have to travel far to find people who need help.
As I mentioned, our young people want to serve, and we work hard to give them the opportunity to do just that! Thanks go out to Laura Stephenson and Ann Beaty for tagging along, making the Expedition possible!
~ Jeff Rabe

Posted on July 25, 2017 at 11:18 am in Featured Content.

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