Report from Kristin Wensel:
In June, I took four teen boys up
to Rutland, VT for a week long work-projects mission trip through
provides Christ-centered mission trips for more than 20,000 teenagers and adult
leaders in over 45 communities across the U.S. and beyond. YouthWorks
believes that God is already moving around the world, and the best thing
we can do is to come alongside local churches and groups and ask how we can
help. During our time in Rutland, we camped out in the basement of a local church as our home base,
along with 3 other church youth groups from Maryland and PA. All told,
there were 38 people in Rutland through YouthWorks for the week, with kids
ranging from 12 to 18.
As they were the oldest
and strongest on the trip, our boys were assigned the hardest jobs of the week,
and they were eager to serve!
For the first two days,
we partnered with the local community volunteers to rebuild a mountain-bike
trail in the city-owned Pine Hill Park. Following the great depression,
this park had been neglected for 80+ years. In 2003, YouthWorks
began partnering with a few local volunteers to build trails, beaches and
playgrounds for public use. Now the 273 acre park is widely used and well
maintained. Our job was to refinish a downhill “S” curve on a popular
mountain bike trail. That involved lots of digging, stump removal,
boulder shifting and rock carrying. The boys joyfully moved large
boulders for 2 days, to build a retaining wall for the trail. We built berms,
dug drainage ditches, found more rocks than we thought possible in one place
and came away tired and happy. We finished the section we were assigned
to, and the boys received many compliments for their hard work!
Day 3, we were assigned
to work with the nearby town recreation department. The town’s elementary
baseball team had won the state semi-finals, and the town was scheduled to host
the finals game the next day. Unfortunately, their only field had been
neglected - it was overgrown and in need of love. The boys spent that day
ripping out crabgrass from the infield, edging, putting down fresh gravel and
re-leveling the field to ready it for play. The team arrived to practice
just as we wrapped up, and were pleasantly surprised to see their newly spiffed
Our final day on site,
we spent painting. We gave the local park picnic tables a fresh coat of
paint, and ended the day by re-painting the floor of the 300-year old town hall
When we weren’t serving,
we were cooking meals for the group, in devotionals, worshiping or spending
time getting to know the other kids on the trip. We had such a good time!
And, though the boys each thought they were going on the trip to serve
others, God had something deeply personal prepared for each of them as well.
There were some profound spiritual lessons learned on this trip - ones
that I hope will make lasting impressions on them all.
We are already looking
forward to going again next year!