A Risk-Taking Mission! That is what a group of United Methodist youth from the Warrensburg, Missouri, First United Methodist Church have been doing over the past six years. The youth have conducted mission projects at a variety of sites scattered across the country, stretching from the Grand Canyon to the Great Smoky Mountains and from the Black Hills/Yellowstone Region of Wyoming and South Dakota to the Gulf Coast
Since 2011, the FUMC Youth have traveled over 12,000 miles and raised more than $100,000 in funds and resources for their missions. They have worked with the Navajo, Arapaho, Shoshoni, Kiowa, Apache, Seminole, Lakota-Sioux, Cheyenne, Cherokee and Houma Native American Tribes as well as various rural and inner-city mission sites such as Reelfoot Ministries in Northwest Tennessee and the Bethlehem Center in Nashville.
During this time the team has conducted eight mission Bible schools, 12 children’s festivals, countless puppet programs, Praise Band concerts and multiple work projects, including the remodeling of an entire Sunday School building. They have also provided dental kits, emergency supplies and over 10,000 meals to children and adults in a variety of locations.
“Louie and I have directed a lot of great mission teams over the past 25+ years, and every one of them have had their own special gifts and abilities, but the Warrensburg team is by far the most uniquely gifted collection of ‘young Christian world changers’ that we’ve ever worked with. We can’t wait to see the difference these young people are going to make for the Church in the future as young adults.”
The team often finds itself conducting their mission ministries in tents, under trees, and even in open fields, on occasion, because of limited indoor spaces. Sleeping quarters are primitive, showers are sparse, and the hours are long, but these dedicated youth know these are missions, not vacations.
The youth even take their own work crew with them, who not only do projects within the surrounding community but on occasion have gone in ahead of the mission team to prepare the sites for them. The creative versatility of this group is one of the reasons why they are so often invited to go to places that other groups will not or cannot go.
It takes a special caliber of person to participate in a mission like this, and this team has taken over 75 of them into the mission field these past six years, accompanied by 25 wonderful college-age adults, and parents, who have gone along with them as mission facilitators.