Image credit: Morning Star, Matthews
Middle school youth from Morning Star, Matthews, participated in our annual GLOCAL Mission trip along with youth from Messiah Lutheran, Mauldin, SC, in August. Together, we experienced three days immersed in community at The Dwelling in Winston-Salem. We worshipped, played, and prayed together. We literally blessed each other as we washed each other’s feet. On Sunday, we joined with the full Dwelling community for worship and served lunch for nearly 300 neighbors.
Our first morning, we broke into small groups to walk the streets of the city for a Poverty Pilgrimage. Each of our groups was given a common challenge to navigate, such as washing clothes. For those living the experience of homelessness, even seemingly small tasks are filled with frustration and roadblocks. For us, this was an afternoon event, but for our neighbors, this was their lived reality.
As we walked and talked, we listened to their stories. We heard the messages our unhoused neighbors hear daily…“be invisible;” “out of sight, out of mind;” “you are nothing.”
Words have power. Over time, these lies seep into the core of their being and change how they see themselves.
But, we know that Every. Single. Human. is precious and loved by God. No one is ever abandoned by God…therefore, neither can we, as followers of Jesus, abandon our neighbors.
We came home from this weekend reflecting on our call to work for justice. This powerful weekend together was humbling and inspiring. Our youth have begun the process of understanding the layers of poverty and they are leading us on the journey of change.
We were grateful to receive funding from the Kaelke grant to offer additional scholarships to our families and to make this life-changing trip a reality.
Linda Kaelke served as Director of Christian Education for several congregations in the NC Synod and was the first advisor for LYO. Upon her death, she left the NC Synod with an endowment fund to support youth, used primarily to help fund mission trips. Grant awards are up to $800. Apply for a Kaelke Grant for your congregation! The 2023 deadline is Sunday, April 30. Questions? Contact Pastor Melody Simpkins, Children, Youth & Family Coordinator.