Friday, July 4
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The Presbytery of Great Rivers
How does a congregation in Peoria, Illinois, in the middle of the United States, break through the cultural noise and allow the message of Jesus Christ to speak to young people? Well, they take part in summer mission trips. Getting out of familiar surroundings and leaving the comforts of home and patterns of everyday life creates an opportunity for visions to change and hearts to be broken open.
In 2012, four adults and 11 youth from First Federated Church partnered with Back Bay Mission (BBM) in Biloxi, Mississippi. Lodging at BBM, the group worked on a home that had burned, leaving a family homeless. They removed insulation, walls, flooring, and ceilings and even spent a week gutting the home of a stranger. On other days they volunteered at a BBM center that provides showers, laundry service, mailboxes, coffee, and respite for people going through a period of homelessness.
One youth remarked, “I never thought of all the pieces to the puzzle when you don’t have a home,” thinking about how hard it is to get a job without an address. Job applications require identification. Identification requires an address. Job interviews require showers and clean clothes. Each person on the team reflected on how they were getting in touch with the complexities of other people’s circumstances. As the week came to a close, conversation shifted toward people in other parts of the world and how we are all connected.
The Presbytery of Great Rivers serves 16,001 members of 102 congregations.
—Amy Sabbert O’Brien, First Federated Church, Peoria
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray
Empowering and energizing God, source of life and light, grant us the vision to see the kingdom of God on earth and the courage to sacrifice to bring that kingdom right here, right now. Amen.