Youth Waco Mini-Mission Trip
A homeless shelter on a Saturday night in Waco, Texas is not where one would usually find any of the students of Vista’s Youth Ministry, but for a few hours during a recent weekend, students ranging from 6th-12th grade gathered to sing, laugh, and share with individuals, spending the night at Mission Waco’s Meyer Center.
The weather outside that evening was absolutely perfect, and the sun was beginning to set. It was like a group of neighborhood friends gathered together at a spring backyard bar-b-que, and as our small chapel service began, we worshiped with traditional songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and “Amazing Grace”. During these songs, I took a moment to listen to the voices, ranging from 13 year old Vista students to homeless men and women well into their 50’s. It was truly one of those moments in which the only proper response is those “Holy chill bumps” one gets when they are so knowingly in the presence of the stirring Holy Spirit.
Several students shared their personal stories of brokenness through experiencing divorce, finding their identity in Christ through the community of a youth group, and growing to understand their faith as truly theirs, not just their parents’. In response, several of the men and women attending the service shared their stories with groups of students. I realized that regardless of what the specifics of each of our stories were, one thing transcended all of them. Each of us there, despite background and status, were all broken and washed up sons and daughters in need of a Savior, in need of Jesus. The separate melodies of our stories and worship weaved into one harmony for a little over an hour that evening, and it was in this moment and through the course of this weekend that I was reminded of what the Kingdom of God really looks like.
Prior to the chapel service Saturday evening, we also had the opportunity to minister to the hearts of children through Mission Waco’s King Club Ministry. Our awesome teenagers (some maybe for the first time) entered government subsidized housing projects to play with, love, and truly be the hands and feet of Christ to around 30 children. To step back and watch the love that our students poured out on these children in a short few hours was deeply heartwarming. Vista’s youth put together several skits to perform for the group of children, and the laughs and applause they received in response brought many smiles to their faces as well. Through games, skits, and song we were again reminded of what the Kingdom looks like. Though our time with these children was limited, several of the teenagers shared in a debriefing time how greatly these children impacted their hearts and altered their view of what those living in poverty face daily.
To cap off our weekend, the group attended Church Under the Bridge, which for many of the students was a very different experience than they’d ever had on a Sunday morning. However, it was evident that the teens understood and believed in the mission of the group of believers gathered under I35. Though different from what we were used to, it was refreshing for our group to worship with a group of people so different from ourselves. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with these awesome students and to watch the way that Jesus is shaping and molding each of their hearts.
At Vista, we believe that we are called to “Love God and Love People.” This conviction reaches all the way down into the hearts of our 6th-12th grade students. Kyle, myself, and the rest of our youth ministry team are so blessed to work with our Vista Youth, and to see how they are truly working for the Kingdom of God both in their own cities, distant cities, and in countries all around the world.
Jonah Fox is a youth ministry intern with Vista|Youth and a Christian Studies major at UMHB. He loves hanging out with students in the youth ministry even though they can school him in Ultimate frisbee.