This Sunday, ABIA will get the joy of being filled with many faces of UCC youth and adults as we prepare to head out on our summer mission trip. For one week, we will serve with Appalachia Service Project doing home repair in Appalachia, where 21% of the community lives below the poverty line.
ASP’s theme for the week is Love Strong and is based on Luke 10:27 which says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and your neighbor as yourself.” As stated in our introductory email from ASP:
This verse is a call to action, urging us to live as people who love God with everything we have and who extend the love of God to all people in need, our neighbors. We love God when we live fully in relationship with God and our neighbor. We love our neighbor when we reach out with compassion to all in need. This connects deeply with ASP’s core value of “accepting people right where they are and just the way they are.” When we accept all people, share God’s love with them, and embrace them as neighbor--we become those who Love Strong.
I couldn’t think of a better theme for our group of youth who work tirelessly to live out their faith and live out their call to love one another exactly as they are. I am grateful to our youth for constantly leading by example.
My gratitude doesn’t only extend to our youth though. I am beyond grateful for a congregation that continues to support our youth through all of their various programming. Through fundraising, mentoring, volunteering, words of encouragement, and of course - donations of snacks, you help to make these important trips possible. These trips are foundational to building a program that lets youth know that they can be the hands and feet of Christ in this world through their service to others, as well as through their welcoming and inclusive nature.
Please be in prayer for all of our participants over the next week, that they may grow together and may learn from each other and from the homeowners that they will serve. Please also keep all of the homeowners in your prayers, as well as the staff of Appalachia Service Project.
Peace be with you always,