Participation in a YMCo mission immersion experience includes a challenge to continue the conversation about mission and justice in your home context. Pleasant Hill Presbyterian is doing just that! In November their high school youth participated in World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine. This is an event whose aim is that “students will grow closer to Christ and each other as they fast together for 30 hours and raise funds to fight hunger.” The 30 Hour Famine created a space for youth to form an awareness, on a small scale, of what people dealing with hunger face daily, and for them to learn where this awareness intersects with scripture, faith, and the call to do justice. While they were fasting, and experiencing the mental and physical effects of hunger, they spent time learning about how lack of food effects people worldwide. They reflected on this experience through worship, prayer, and an art project known as a Smash Book. They also used these 30 hours to serve the hungry in their own community by working in community gardens and serving breakfast at a shelter in Atlanta, and raising more than $1,000 for hungry children worldwide.
Martha is a 6th grader in Asheville, NC who goes to Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church. Among the many things that Martha enjoys, she is a performance poet. She wrote a poem recently about seeing one of our neighbors in Asheville who is living without housing. It’s powerful. In fact, it’s so powerful that we made a video recording of it so we could share it with you.
I’ve been at this “youth mission” gig for a while now. Almost 20 years as a youth minister, and about eight of those through Asheville Youth Mission.
It’s been wonderful to watch what God has done through all of this— more and more youth groups coming to work with us at AYM from a wide variety of places and denominations. It’s been amazing to see all the partnerships grow, including our work with more and more ministries and help agencies around Asheville, and partnerships with multiple camps and conference centers in the mountains of NC. Most importantly, it has been a blessing to see the impact that so many youth have made on the community of Asheville, and how our friends and neighbors who are living on the streets, in poverty, or otherwise on the margins, have also made such a huge impact on our youth.