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Aug 03, 2015 | Ashley Flood, Kim Houghton

St. Cuthbert Youth Get Radical in Raymondville


"It will be hot, and we will eat lots of Mexican food," at least that's how my youth minister, Kim Houghton, described out upcoming mission trip.


Raymondville is a very small town located near the Texas/Mexico border--so yes, in short, it was very hot, and we did eat lots of incredible homemade Mexican food. But that wasn't the only thing we did. We painted three houses in three days, hosted a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the town's children, and took an afternoon trip to South Padre Island to celebrate our hard work. I couldn't have asked for a better mission trip, or a better youth group family with whom to share it.


Two kids came to the first day of VBS and, although we were expecting 10 times that many, we poured out all of our love and gave all our energy to those two girls. We taught them VBS songs and hand motions, played games, made crafts, and put on a skit about David and Goliath. Our numbers doubled on the second day and again on the third. We kept singing and making crafts, then we also gave the children a memory verse and explained who God is and how much he loves us.


The woman who coordinated our mission trip even told us that the kids went home and told their parents all about the VBS. They sang the songs to their parents, showed them their crafts and coloring pages, and one girl even told her mom that she had never seen so much happiness in one place.


It was such an amazing experience to see these kids praising our God along with us, and jumping and shouting for the Lord. I always love helping at VBS, because even though the songs can be "annoying," and you need tons of patience and energy with kids, it's these things that bring us closer to God. Those "annoying" songs get stuck in your head and remind you about God throughout the day.


One song we sang was called Love Round, and it told us to "love, love, love, love, Christians, this is your call, to love your neighbor as yourself, for God loves us all." This was definitely the most popular and repetitive song, and throughout the entire mission trip it reminded us to love everyone that we encounter.


I also love VBS because you have to bring things down to their level to help them understand and thoroughly explain the Bible stories, which then can help you understand it more, too. “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3


One night we also had a block party wtih free hot dogs, chips and drinks and games. Towards the end of the party, a van drove up with a family of 12 all squished inside. We had no idea what their story was, if they were rich, poor, doing well, or struggling, but we gladly gave them the remaining 20 hot dogs we had to help out this family so they would have a free meal one night and maybe lunch or breakfast the next morning.


Then we relinquished our air conditioning and painted houses in the heat of the afternoon. We power washed, scraped and painted three houses in just three days. A lot of the time we felt like we weren't doing any work because the paint would dry and fade quickly, and scraping was very uneventful, but it all paid off in the end just to see those people happy. "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters" Colossians 3:23


These are some of the reasons why I love mission trips so much, making people happy is one of my greatest joys, and being surrounded by people who agree with me makes it even better.


God calls us to go into the world and make disciples, to serve the least of these, and most importantly, to love. Going on mission trips helps me remember these callings, and reminds me to demonstrate these commandments in my daily life. After all, Jesus tells us to "Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds, and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16


Flood is a junior at Cypress Falls High School and Houghton is youth minister at St. Cuthbert