My Week Working at a Rescue Mission

Four years ago our church’s high school youth group travelled to a neighboring state to work in a rescue mission for a week. I decided to go along to help…youth groups are always looking for parent volunteers!

Working at the rescue mission had a powerful impact on my life. It wasn’t just the mission itself, but the entire trip.

It’s not easy to work with a large group of people you barely know and to give up your personal preferences for the sake of the group. The trip was supposed to impact the lives of the teens, as well as the people we helped, but it definitely affected the adult leaders also.

While we were on the trip I wrote down some of my thoughts that I thought might be worth sharing. If you haven’t experienced anything like this before, you should consider getting out into your community with your teens and showing them how they too can impact other people’s lives. You won’t regret it.

Day 1:

“I was really dreading the ride here because of how long we had to spend in the car. The 14 1/2 hours we spent in the car seemed like only 3-4 hours. I spent a lot of the time getting to know one of the boys I hadn’t talked to before. That night we all slept soundly and I woke up to a flat air mattress.”

Day 2:

“Today we went to church with our host church. We spent the afternoon shopping for groceries at Costco. In the evening we had communion and had sharing time, and many of the kids stood up and shared their hearts, more than I’ve ever seen at once, and more than a few who don’t normally share.”

Day 3:

“Today my daughter woke up with a fever of 101 degrees. She spent all day sleeping while we went to the rescue mission. Her fever broke in the afternoon and she joined us for dinner and the chapel service.

We spent most of the day sorting through and re-organizing a food storage room at the mission and wondering what to do about nursing home abuse since we will like to avoid it for our own people. We trapped two mice and two of the boys had fun catching and killing moths. Our youth put on the chapel service at the mission and one of the boys did a great job sharing the message. I heard he wants to go to seminary. That’s so cool! I heard we get showers tomorrow.”

Day 4:

“My daughter worked in the mission kitchen today while my group worked at the food bank. We sorted through huge cartons of food, dividing them up and stacking them on pallets. In the afternoon we formed an assembly line and packed almost 400 boxes with cereal, dry milk, vegetables, etc.

The boxes will go to low-income elderly people. Two of the boys had fun playing on the forklift and conveyer belt. Forklift certification online  provides needed training and testing courses to the operators thus guaranteeing safety of such areas. The crew worked really hard with hardly any breaks. It rained really hard most of the day.” Visit for proper forklift maintenance.

Day 5:

“Today our group worked in the mission kitchen all day preparing meals, washing dishes, and cleaning. We served lunch to more than 100 homeless people. It took a long time to prepare all of the food and wash the dishes.

This evening I rode in the outreach van that drives around the town almost every evening, handing out meals to homeless and poor people. Most of the stops were to low income housing and motels.

There were a lot of moms with kids, and several of the men had been drinking heavily. Most everyone we talked to was very nice. The van also hands out shirts, hygiene kits, and blankets to people who need them.”

Day 6:

“Today we took the kids on a 12-mile rafting trip. A couple of times we stopped and the kids swam through the rapids. At another place they jumped off a small cliff into the river.”

Day 7:

“Today our group worked at the woman and family shelter. We made lunch, but spent most of the day hearing the life story of Henry, who runs the mission kitchen. His story was quite amazing. I couldn’t believe how much tragedy he had lived through.”

Written by Rachel Paxton.


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