It was the summer of 2008 and I had just completed my senior year of high school. I had been in church since the fourth grade and from Awana’s to youth group I found great joy in being a leader. I always admired those older than me who loved the Lord and served Him. I had this extreme desire to find my place, my purpose in God’s great plan. With what seemed like little planning and who knows what kind of budget, we loaded up a few vehicles to head to a small town in the middle of nowhere Texas. All we knew was our youth pastor, Zach, grew up in this town and felt like he had some unfinished business to attend to. He wanted to pour into his childhood community that was full of people he loved dearly and wanted to bring us all along.
I don’t think any of us knew what we were truly walking into. We had all been a part of vacation bible school and had gone to various church camps but this time: WE were the VBS. WE were the summer camp. We didn’t have a name or a title. We just went into a city full of strangers and loved, played, danced, and sang. What started as a small camp-like setting for an apartment complex in Madisonville, Texas eventually spread into a city-wide crazy, good time.
Each day there was a different craft, bible story, recreation game and of course: SNACKS! We soon learned the importance of water as we were in south Texas and surely y'all can guess how hot that truly is. We split the kids up into age groups and had different rotations throughout the day. Each group had a leader or two and each station had a few leaders running the activity. Each day was also filled with music, LOTS of music.
In the afternoons our group split into smaller groups to do various community projects. My personal favorite was going to a few local nursing homes and showing some TLC to the residents. We all got to hear so many life stories and painted the womens' fingernails. We also broke out in song at the nursing home. I quickly learned that no matter where you go, a love of music is universal. Young and old alike can relate to music.
A few years later we went to an in-between house called House of Hope and did clean-up projects. We also had a crawfish boil and worshiped together. I didn’t notice this pattern until I sat down to write this post. I’m realizing that no matter what you’ve done or where you’ve been, you can always find a reason to sing. People of all ages, all different backgrounds can find common ground and give praise to the Lord who created us all. Perhaps my favorite year was the second year, in 2010. We drove a few hours south of Madisonville to inner-city Houston and partnered with a ministry that serves the homeless. I got to meet a sweet woman named Dorothy and hear her life story.
Fast forward eight years later and we are super official. We are a registered non-profit organization with a name and a mission statement. Change The World Missions is the catalyst of change that builds communities by developing leaders within said communities. Since we are only able to spend one week out of the year in the city of Madisonville, we want to do them an even greater service year round. By casting Hope and forming long lasting relationships, we strive to equip our friends with the tools to change the world; the tools it takes to change their tomorrow.
In less than two months, a team of youth and young adults will head to Madisonville, Texas. We have all learned and grown so much. There are still some plans to finalize and lots of prayers to be prayed. We are encouraging people to share our mission before we go. By visiting the "take action" tab, you can invest in this God-given dream. As with most things, money is a vital and necessary tool. We are excited that you would consider being a part of this mission. I’ve always heard it said that those who cannot go, SEND. Thank you for sending us forward with your prayers and financial contributions.