As a top priority of the Diocese, churches are always looking for ways to engage youth. One of the biggest avenues for them in the Diocese of Virginia is through mission opportunities. Each confirmand (under 19 years of age) receives a $200 youth mission voucher from the Bishop to participate in a mission experience. It provides them an invitation to be shaped through mission.
Sixteen-year-old Linda Lyons redeemed her youth mission voucher this past summer. Holy Comforter, Vienna gave 13 youth, one college student and four adults the chance to see their neighbors in God’s own image. They traveled to Boston, Massachusetts to serve with the City Missionary Society who has been doing missionary work in Boston for nearly 200 years.
In her own words, Linda writes about her experience and the impact of this transformational opportunity.
The youth mission trip to Boston in the summer of 2015 was a risk that I am so glad I took. Cities have always scared me and I was going to be going into places of Boston that weren’t necessarily the safest with a bunch of other teenagers that I didn’t really know at all. I was terrified when I got in that van on Sunday morning to drive up to Boston.
Throughout the week, our group went to different soup kitchens and farms to help out the community. Every time I was nervous about the next place I was going to, but at the end of every day, I felt at peace by all the people that I helped. This time I didn’t let my fears drag me down and keep me from helping so many people.
Every day was monumental for me; doing hard labor on the farms or hearing the stories at the elderly home changed my views and touched my heart in so many ways. But, there was one thing that affected me the most on this journey and that was how every place we went affected our group from the church. The final night, our group had a service where we reflected on the week and shared how we were affected by the work we had done. Seeing how all my friends were touched so much that there were tears during the service really got to me.
Our group had come to Boston set to help other lives, but in the process God and all the people that we had met had helped us so much more. I conquered so many fears and put myself out there to help the people of Boston, but in the end they were the ones who helped me. That service and seeing how each person in our group was touched by the work done that week really showed me how influential going out and doing God’s work is. I am so happy that I went on this mission trip; it touched me in so many ways and is something I will never forget.
Photos Courtesy of: The Rev. Margaret Peel