I returned from our 1st SOS Mission Trip to Memphis Saturday! If you are unfamiliar with SOS, it stands for Service Over Self Memphis. It is a missions organization that makes homes in Memphis, TN warmer, safer, and dryer and shares the love of Christ with the homeowners. Every home that is worked on by SOS is guaranteed a new roof. I may of said this last year, but I can honestly say,…SOS is a well oiled machine of an organization. It is by far the best mission camp experience I have experienced as a youth leader. I highly recommend it to any youth leader!
This year we had/have the opportunity to take 2 different groups of high school students to SOS. This past week, we took 35 to SOS, and in July, we will take a group of 106!
As you can imagine, the week I just had was different than most I have with Trinity. Due to the sheer size of our youth group, it is rare that we get to have such an intimate group. It truly had it’s own sets of perks…the one I noticed the most was that everyone on the trip actually knew everyone by the end of the week. That generally doesn’t happen on our other trips due to the large numbers. Therefore, bonds were able to be strengthened as a whole, not just in small groups.
Some highlights for me this past week…
-Definitely bonding with all the students and adults on the trip. I felt like I was able to have 1 on 1 conversations with everyone on the trip, and that is a treasure!
-My team was awesome. We called ourselves “all the shingle ladies.” We did some major work on that house. On a 7 plane house (I believe), we took off shingles on 1 plane, tarred 4 planes, shingled completely 1 plane, built a fence for the yard, and picked up all the shingles from our homeowners yard and neighboring yards. Our team was able to bond but also work hard together.
– We have 3 previous students on the summer staff at SOS as interns, and one of them was our leader…Ben. He did a fabulous job making that transition from student to adult leader. I shouldn’t be surprised, he has always been a great leader! He did such a great job with our devotions at the work site. They even spurred on further conversation afterwards on most days. Ben was full of thoughtful advice…one he shared with our group really relayed well with us as we all were looking at our tar encrusted fingernails. He said, “Keeping your hands dirty keeps your heart clean.” True dat.
-Lastly, our speaker for the week at our nightly worship services was a Doctor who purposely moved to Binghampton, a suburb of Memphis, in order to be a light in a broken community. I didn’t agree with everything he said doctrinally. However, something he did say one night did strike a cord with me. I have been thinking on this a lot lately due to some conversations with friends about relationships and priorities. He said, “I just want to be a happy little slave for Jesus.” He was talking about what we worship and are enslaved to…what do you love and proclaim (Proclaim was our theme for the week)? If the answer isn’t Jesus then you need to reevaluate things. Are you proclaiming your love of honor, pride, prestige, social status, people, work, religion, addictions, a certain person…? The only (yes, I said only) thing we should be enslaved to is Christ. We should all want to be happy little slaves for Jesus.
Ultimately, trips like SOS are there to help our students (and it’s leaders) become happy little slaves for Jesus… proclaiming His name in all that we do, wherever we go, and no matter who we are with at the time!