Christ Lutheran Youth Complete Mission Trip –

When the theme was selected for Christ Lutheran Church’s 2022 youth mission trip, no one realized how appropriate it would become.

Selected was Colossians 2:6-7: “So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with gratitude. ”

These verses became more meaningful when they participated in their work assignment with Habitat for Humanity in Lewisburg, W.Va., between July 10-15.

“We all gained new skills, confidence, and a sense of gratitude,” said mission trip leader the Rev. Amy Godshall-Miller, co-pastor of Christ Lutheran, Sunflower Drive, DuBois, with her husband, the Rev. John Miller.

“Our theme talked about foundation and we got to build one as part of our project.”

Youth participating in the mission trip were Aiden Keller, Miley Wanson, Devon London, Derek London, Ella Wilson, Amber Eberly, Hillary Beer, Gabby Horner, Madee Finalle and Lauren Hoover.

Adults accompanying the trip were Emalee Horner, Madison Barefield Deb Finalle, Ted Horner and Brandy Wanson.

This one, however, was a little different from previous years. Rhema Christian Center provided the lodging for its Pennsylvania visitors, but they had to do their own cooking and that took pre-planning.

Prior to the trip, the participants broke up into three teams to do the grocery shopping. When they got to Lewisburg, the teams took turns making the meals and cleaning up.

“It all went very well,” said Godshall-Miller. “Rhema Christian Center’s facilities were great. The area is beautiful, but once we were outside the town, the poverty was apparent.”

The mission group partnered with Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, organized in 1988, to eliminate substandard and poverty housing in Pendleton County, W.Va.

It later merged with Habitat for Humanity of Greenbrier County to serve three counties.

Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit housing organization working with local communities across the United States and in approximately 70 countries around the world.

Established in 1976, Habitat has since grown to serve more than 35 million people through new home construction, rehabilitation and repair programs.

The organization’s stated goal is: “Putting God’s Love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.”

“They were happy to have us,” said Godshall-Miller. “Habitat is still trying to get back on its feet after COVID. They were only building one house in the area.”

Christ Lutheran’s volunteers’ work included mowing and string trimming the property and creating primitive furniture at one Habitat site.

At the second Habitat construction site, they unloading materials, specifically the walls, and most meaningfully poured the foundation walls for the home and installed waterproof wrap.

“I was very impressed by how much they let volunteers do,” said Godshall-Miller. “Habitat wants its volunteers to learn new skills as they are able. All of us did things we had never done before.”

All was not work for the mission group. They visited Lost World Caverns, Blue Bend State Park and attended an outdoor concert at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg. Each day concluded with reflection and prayer about the day’s events.

On the final evening of the trip Godshall-Miller conducted a full communion service.

This was the eighth time in nine years Godshall-Miller has led an out-of-town mission trip. Past trips ranged from New York City to Virginia’s Eastern Shore to rural Vermont.

COVID disrupted the 2020 trip and instead of traveling the youth completed mission work at their own church.

“We developed new and deeper friendships,” summed up Godshall-Miller. “I am grateful to the adults who became involved in this trip.”

Christ Lutheran’s congregation supported the trip from an “Adopt-A-Mile” fundraiser, which totaled $3,378. Congregation members were asked to donate per mile for the drive to Lewisburg. The donations were used to supplement registration fees and buy food.

The first eight years of this mission effort found 25 Christ Lutheran families sending their youth on the summer mission trip. In addition, six guests youth and eight adults, participated bringing the total of participants to 50, including repeat participants.

The mission trip participants presented a full report to those attending the Christ Lutheran’s annual picnic at the church.

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