This past week, our Junior High youth embarked on the first summer trip of the year: In-Town Mission! This three-day trip allowed the Junior High youth to create connections and friendships with one another while learning from and serving different communities in the Dallas area. During the trip we visited several sites, starting with Bonton Farms, which serves the Bonton community in south Dallas by providing fresh produce for sale and the opportunity to provide jobs and access to resources that would not be available otherwise. During our trip, we toured the farm and were able to go on a goat walk, guiding the goats as they walked around the property.
Later that day, we went to Hope Supply Co. and helped package donated clothes that were going to be distributed to homeless youth in Dallas.
We also went to the We over Me farm at Paul Quinn college to help farm and to a group home of Evergreen Life Services, that provides homes and services to adults with intellectual and physical disabilities.
Here are a few quotes from the youth on their experience at in-town mission:
“I liked how we went into places that required us to look into other people’s problems on a local scale.”
“I loved In-Town Mission because of the opportunity for us as youth to grow closer as a community while we serve others”
“One thing I love about In-Town Mission trip is that whether you're packing clothes, walking goats, or even doing paint touch-ups, you know that you’re helping someone.”
“I enjoyed In-Town Mission because we were helping people in our own community.”
“I liked being able to help others while being able to spend time with friends.”
At the beginning of the trip, the youth were asked to think about the words service, mission, community and change, and dwell on their meanings throughout the trip. These words converged to create the most meaning when talking with one of the staff volunteers who works at Bonton Farms. The volunteer used the analogy of Sequoya seeds, which have the potential to grow into beautiful trees hundreds of feet tall. However, if the seeds are thrown on a table without proper soil, water, and sunlight, they will never reach their potential to grow. The volunteer reminded our group that the same goes with the people and community of the Bonton neighborhood and other communities in Dallas at large- without opportunities to grow or thrive, they people of South Dallas and the Bonton community cannot reach their full God-given potential.
As a whole, the trip was inspiring, exhausting (in the best way!), life-giving, and transformative. We were blessed to get out of our own neighborhood and get our hands dirty, living into our call to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you’d like to see more pictures of our trip, check out our Youth Flickr Photo page here, and join us in continuing to pray for our city! This is only the beginning.