Tuesday, December 7, 2010

FUMC Youth: Serving while Waiting!

At FUSION Gathering, for the second week of Advent in our series "the Advent Experience," FUMC Youth discussed the topic of "Serving while Waiting."  We read Luke 1:26-38, the story of Mary hearing the message from the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the son of God.  Miraculously, Mary's last words to the angel are "I am the Lord's servant.  May it be to me as you have said."  Though Mary was "troubled" and most likely scared, surprised and maybe even doubtful, she accepted Gabriel's message from God and proclaimed her servanthood to the Lord most high!  She was willing to do whatever God asked of her...even giving birth to God's son! 

Last week at FUSION Gathering, we talked about waiting quietly and listening to God's message and plans for us.  This week, we realize through Mary's story, that God calls us to serve others as we prepare for Christmas.  We are called to love God and neighbor as we prepare for Christ's birth!

So, we watched the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas and talked about how the Whos in Whoville loved their neighbors and community so much that having all their Christmas presents, decorations and food stolen from them didn't stop them from celebrating and loving one another.  In fact, they even loved the Grinch through his unkind acts and welcomed him into their community to feast and celebrate together.  In discussion, we came up with many ways that we can be in service and show love to our neighbors this Christmas season: caroling, sharing food, providing warm clothes, visiting others, giving rather than receiving, and much much more. 

To kick off our commitment to be in service while we wait this Advent season, the youth packed 100 bagged lunches to give to members of our community who come into our church seeking assistance.  We also made cards to give to those receiving these meals, and we decorated Christmas cards to give to our nursing home residents.  We challenge the whole church to find ways they can be in service and mission this Advent season!

-Lyndsie Blakely

Friday, December 3, 2010

Operation Christmas Child Mission Trip

Our Group led by Sarah Stokes travelled to Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday, December 2 for two days.  We worked in the Samaritan's Purse Warehouse from 2-6 on Thursday and 10-2 on Friday. 

Our group did various jobs.  We processed shoe boxes in an assembly line order.  1st by opening them and taking out the shipping money, the next person was responsible for going through the boxes to make sure there were no inappropriate items such as food or liquid.  We also put extra items in the boxes if they looked a little skimpy!  Then there was a person responsible for taping the boxes shut and another person loaded them back into the big cartons! 

 It was neat to see the creativity that other people had when it came to items they put in their boxes.  Today we saw a hammer & screwdriver, bag of rubber bands, princess shoes, and much more.  Debbie Lehman said the most interesting thing she saw in a box was the original pair of shoes that came in the box .  Jen Roller found a box that had a pink teddy bear that had "Jesus loves me" written on it.   It was hard when we had to remove items such as bubbles, gift cards, cash etc..  These are things you can't send but you know people took time to put them in - bummer!  I think we were all touched by this amazing experience!

The boxes we packed during our shifts were going to the Dominican Republic & some very special countries like Pakistan & Afghanistan!

The other thing I thought was super cool was how the warehouse was broken up.  There was a break area for us to rest where they sold chick- fil- a and dominoes pizza.  There was the filler station which was like a shopping mall for shoe box items.  There was the hospital for broken or ripped boxes and much more!