Why Did You Take A(nother) Trip to Allendale?

Dinner Latisha 13Apr

Over the past three summers, several hundred teenagers and leaders from Grace Church have come to Allendale. Many of them are eager to come back, to continue building relationships. One young man came to Allendale 4 times in a span of less than 12 months.

In the past two summers, we’ve had five college interns. Most of them have come back to Allendale at least a couple of times since leaving — again, to continue building relationships.

And in this second year of doing the Elevate Soccer Camp, we were excited to have so many adults and families take their first trip to Allendale. But what encouraged me was the handful of families who came back to Allendale, to pour themselves out in love.

And it makes me wonder why. Why do these families want to come to Allendale, and why do they want to come back?

First-Timers

For one family of three children (plus they brought along a classmate of their oldest son), here is why they made their first trip to Allendale, SC:

“To see and experience where the Espinosas have been living and serving for over the past 2 years. . . . To help us and our children see that we have great needs and opportunities for serving and loving others for Jesus within our own state. . . . To open our eyes to the needs around us, whether in Allendale or even in the parts of Greenville that we forget about or fail to see that they are here. . . . For our family to use some of our time off we have from school and work to be missional for Jesus, to serve together as a family, and as a discipleship/growing opportunity for us.”

Did you catch their reasons?

  1. To encourage local ministers / missionaries
  2. To show love to others
  3. As a part of their discipleship of their children
  4. To help them grow personally

Very similar to what I wrote in The Benefits of Short Term Mission Trips.

Adults Who Came Back

There is no way around it — when you serve on a short-term mission trip, you will get tired. The travel, the service project, catching up with things once you get back home. And yet people often do this again and again.

Why would someone knowingly and joyfully take this opportunity? Listen to why some folks came back to serve for a 2nd year at our spring break camp:

From one dad:

“We came back to Allendale as a family because we have grown to genuinely love serving others. I say “grown” because recognizing the true appreciation and reward of serving others is a process. . . .

Additionally, there is nothing better than watching our young children see how young men and women, teens from our church and the local Allendale area, come together to give to others. Yes, it is good times and good memories, but the impact on our children while interacting with other families and individuals as we serve a community is invaluable.

On a personal note, how unique to participate in a cross-state relationship that allows for me to be able to spend a quick few minutes with Pastor Mole of Vision Ministries in Fairfax, SC and exchange heartfelt prayer request. . . .

The efforts of many people and organizations, but specifically the Espinosas, have allowed us to grow very fond of Allendale County and our short time at the spring soccer camp. We are humbled and thankful to be able to participate. So much so that I felt guilty this year when thinking about next year. In other words, maybe we should not ask to go next year in an effort to allow some other family this same opportunity and exposure to serving our God.”

Dobbs 12Apr Elevate

And a mom from another family says:

“We believe in what you and your family are doing in Allendale for the sake of the Gospel, and we want to be involved. God has planted you there, and we support that!

God calls all of us to serve in some way. It’s an easy way for our entire family to serve, serve you by volunteering and serving the community there by helping with the camp. It’s good to leave our comforts of home and give our lives away for a few days.

And we have FUN!!!”

Students Who Want to Come Back

And then there are the teenagers from Grace Church who love coming to Allendale. More than 150 came last year, but this summer the trips will be much smaller. As you can tell by what they have to say, some students will be sad to not come down.

“The kids down there are great and I love seeing them and being around them. I also have such a great passion for the people down there and their great attitudes and thankfulness for what they have.” C.B. (on his fifth trip to Allendale)

“I would love to go back to Allendale for many reasons. First off because of all the amazing, beautiful kids I met! I feel like I’m making a difference. . . . I met some great guys my age like DC and Courtney, and want to get to know those guys better.” N.M.

Elevate Students Basketball 13Apr

“I want to continue the building of relationships with the kids and people there, and to show them love.” J.O.

“I want to return because some of the kids really latch onto you. Even in four days, it’s easy to see how much of a liking they take to you. Even the harder-to-handle kids open up eventually, and I feel like what we do there actually makes a different in some of the kids’ lives.” J.L.

Do you want to visit us this summer? We’d love to host students, adults, and families. See this post for more information.

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