Jesus Thrives in Partnership: Reflections on Honduras Youth Partnership by Megan

Posted by Greg Klimovitz on OP12er @ 12:24 PM

 

The Honduras Youth-to-Youth Partnership is the on-going friendship between Imago Dei Youth Ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church and the Presbytery of Honduras.  We strive towards mutual learning, honest dialogue, supportive relationships, and shared mission as we follow Jesus in our communities.  However, for many of those involved, it has a much more personal outcome than just this definition. For many of the youth involved, both from Honduras as well as from Westminster, the partnership guides us to eye-opening learning about the kingdom of God and what it means to live as a Christian in some of the most shaping years in a person’s life. Through my interactions with Honduran friends that I have made over the years, I have come to realize that being a Christian isn’t just about saying you’re a Christian and regularly attending church. Rather, its about doing and living and being. When you realize that Christianity is one the most prominent sources of community in a culture yearning for a sense of belonging as Honduras, you realize just how important the latter aspects are.

For many of us, it can be difficult to see how Jesus is at work in our lives because we think that He exists only in the good. However, I have learned that reality is just the opposite.  Jesus thrives most in suffering, not in perfection. The Honduras Partnership in particular is a part of my life that has made me realize the unfathomable grace of the kingdom of God, which truly can stretch itself to fit into even the smallest nooks and crannies of corruption, poverty, and injustice while still thriving in happiness, partnership, and laughter. The partnership is so amazing to be a part of because this realization does not come while digging trenches or building houses, as is the stereotypical vision of a mission trip, but rather in lunch breaks filled with laughter despite language barriers, with on busses sounding with nursery rhymes jumbled by messy translations, through teary eyes in the airport at the end of another amazing week, and most of all through excited “welcome backs” as we return the next year.

Thank you to the church, benefit donors and the endowment fund for making all of this possible. These contributions, both monetary and spiritual, facilitate this learning, which truly is mutual and irreplaceable.

 

Check out the 2014 Partnership Video Here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5kLadPkjh4&list=UUq91gIYv8IeQvcaf8Dfrv2Q 

Going Local: Philly Project Reflections from Lucy and Will

Posted by Greg Klimovitz on OA10er @ 10:32 AM

Over the summer, we visited Roxborough Presbyterian Church with other middle school kids from Westminster for a week-long summer mission trip called the Philadelphia Project. The Project is an organization that works to connect and bring together the community of faith in the city of Philadelphia. They do this by reaching out to homeowners within the community who need help working on their houses. The goal is to fix up the homeowner’s house and make sure that they have a church in their neighborhood that they can attend and get involved with. Under the surface, however, the main goal of The Project is to build relationships with the homeowners, which, as we experienced first-hand, is something that changes their lives forever.

Aside from greatly affecting the lives of the homeowners, the Philly Project greatly changes the minds and hearts of those who come to volunteer there. The leaders understand what we as youth are going through in our lives and use the work and activities that we do to show us how following Jesus can still be a part of our lives even at a young age. We learned about how all people are part of the Kingdom of God and that we are all loved by God and are all capable of giving up our lives to him. Through the work, people, and relationships that are built, the whole organization has left something in both of our hearts that is unlike anything else we have ever experienced. The Project put following Jesus into a real life perspective for both of us, and all of the other students there. It helped us begin to understand the humility that comes with being a follower of Christ and helps us understand how we are all loved and how we all have a purpose in the Kingdom of God.

Throughout the Philly Project, our faith grew so much stronger, and we grew to understand that seeing God’s work in action can build your faith up in a way that nothing else can. We began to understand that this love and passion for helping others that we saw and experienced is all part of God’s mission for the world. God wants our lives to be made for helping and loving one another unconditionally. We could see that God’s dreams for the world could become reality if we somehow were able to consume the whole world in this work and faith. The trip brought us so much closer to understanding God’s true hope and mission for the world.

We are so thankful to all of the donors and church members who make trips like this possible, because it really can change the lives of the youth who get involved. Without all of the donations and church leaders who are able to organize and contribute to mission work like this, all of the youth wouldn’t be able to have these life-changing experiences become a part of who they are.  I would encourage all youth and adults alike to get involved in these trips and mission work because they have a lasting affect on the hearts and minds of everyone who experiences them. Aside from the fact that you get to see the difference that you make in the lives of others, you also get to feel your own heart change as you become closer to God and the plans he has for you in the world.

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We currently use www.imagodeiyouth.shutterfly.com  our Photo Blog. Check out all the recent happenings...maybe you will recognize some faces!?  Also visit us on the Imago Dei Youth Group on Facebook to see links for photos from recent events.  Feel free to follow us on Instagram and Twitter too: @imagodeiyouth.