I’ve prayed about this trip for months. Because I knew it would be the third week of three incredibly full and busy weeks away from home. Secretly, I prepared myself for the worst, thinking our family especially would be exhausted at this point and that the goal would be to just get through it, as graciously as possible. Friends, let me tell you, I had absolutely no idea the great things that God would do on our LeaderTreks Myrtle Beach Missions Trip and the goal of this post is to share as best I can, some of these great things. So here goes…
First off, it’s about a 13 hour drive from Eastport to Myrtle Beach. And considering we had just spent 9 hours driving home from camp a few days prior, well, that is a long time to be driving around in a church van. However, the company was great, and the chicken was enormous so by the time we got to South Carolina, it really wasn’t so bad.
Friends had referred us to LeaderTreks which is an amazing organization that provides opportunities for domestic missions trips. We chose South Carolina because it was one of the locations that was closest to us. We had no idea what we were getting into, but let me tell you, it was absolutely amazing. One thing that LeaderTreks provides in addition to giving opportunities to serve locally is this amazing leadership training. From day one, our students were given these awesome opportunities to lead, and by the end of the week, every single one of them had grown in leadership.
Every morning after our devotion time, we went to serve at Ms. Paula’s house for our worksite.
Our goal for the week was to serve her and her family by painting her kids’ rooms.
We had some great opportunities to clean as well.
And we also had teams working on some outdoor projects. We spent our mornings working at Ms. Paula’s and I’m so proud of all that we were able to accomplish there.
Shoutout to this sweet girl. Clearly, she wasn’t a fan of getting pictures taken during the missions trip, but that’s okay. She stepped up in the most wonderful ways and I was so proud of her that I mostly didn’t mind when she didn’t want to smile for the camera.
In the afternoons, we had the opportunity to team up with some of the local ministries in Myrtle Beach. To be honest, I never thought of Myrtle Beach as an area that would be terribly needy, but outside of the tourist areas, there were lots of opportunities to love and serve in this community.
One big way was teaming up with a local food bank that was doing a community food distribution. We helped to package up vegetables for the families in need and it was an awesome, but daunting task. Also, if you look in the background, there was an endless line of cars ready to receive the food that was being given away.
This sweet girl and I sat and picked through all of the bad carrots to salvage the useable ones. It was a humbling experience but full of joy in knowing this was one small way we could serve the families in need.
On Wednesday, we got to go back to the Food Bank and help sort through donated food items that would be stored in their warehouse.
This was a hot task (there wasn’t A/C in the warehouse) but I was so proud of our students who did it all without complaining.
It was fascinating to see all of the food that was donated. The Food Bank was connected with area grocery stores who would give them boxes of items that were about to expire and they in turn were able to hand them out to those who were in need in their community. Volunteering with this organization was a great and eye opening opportunity.
When we weren’t spending time serving the community, our team was helping to serve each other. Every day our students would work together to do meal prep, cooking and clean up.
We had about an hour each day of “free time” and quite a few in our group used this time to go and play volleyball down at the beach.
On Thursday we went to a Community Kitchen that serviced the “working poor” of Myrtle Beach and we handed out Hygiene Kits to those in need.
Our students were able to share God’s love in this small act of kindness and it was a great opportunity to serve.
In addition to the service projects, we had an incredible time each night to get together and learn more about each other and the Bible during our Group time. Our LeaderTreks leaders were Alyssa and Laura and they did an incredible job leading and encouraging our team all throughout the week. We could not be more thankful for them.
A favorite highlight I think for everyone, was the act of sharing Encouragement beads with each other. Every team member had the opportunity to share one bead per day with another team member. With the bead, they shared ways that they saw that person lead or serve or take risks or show compassion. It was probably my favorite part of each day.
By Friday, we had accomplished much of what we came to do.
Our team took time to write notes of encouragement to Ms. Paula’s family.
And I’m proud to share that both rooms were painted and finished beautifully.
Friday afternoon, we enjoyed some time down by the Boardwalk.
We also finished our evening with a Talent show that brought many laughs and was the perfect way to end our trip together.
I’m proud to share that personally, our own family thrived in so many ways. Our kids had incredible opportunities to lead and to learn and to grow closer to Jesus and Jeremy and I felt a strengthening in our own ministry with the teens as well.
I’ve spent the past years telling parents that they need to send their kids to camp (because it’s amazing and I’ll continue to share that message). However, after our experience with LeaderTreks, I’ll also add that if you want your teen to grow in leadership and be challenged outside of their comfort zone, you HAVE to send them on a LeaderTreks missions trip. The knowledge and opportunities that we gained were incredible. Our team bonded in beautiful ways and we are so thankful for the many great things that God did in and through us as we served.
A huge thank you to Eastport Bible Church and everyone that helped to support our team both in prayers and finances. God worked in mighty ways and we are so thankful for you helping us!