Youth Summer Mission Project 2011 – Calvary Presbytery Church of Berkley

Pastor Karl Shadley’s reflections on the mission service project undertaken by teenagers in his congregation:

China 2011 076-600 China 2011 027-600 China 2011 006-600

A little background of our church and our youth… Calvary is a diverse church with a unique ministry blending English and Mandarin speaking communities in one united church. Almost all of our Chinese speaking members where born outside of the US. Because of our parents high expectations for their children to perform academically we have found it hard to get the youth involved in Christian service. We are so pleased that we had 5 youth participate in our work project this year. Of the five youth three of the youth were born in China, their families speak 4 different Chinese dialects, they range in age from 13 – 22 and they all speak fluent Mandarin.

Our Project Team

Our Project Team

Goals for our work project… Give our youth a chance to catch a vision for being agents of change in their community and world as they follow in the steps of Jesus. Our plan was to have the older youth of our church to join with youth from Trinity Presbyterian Church in West Sacramento for a long weekend of doing hands-on mission in that community.

What we did… Visited the Dixon Immigration Center where Church volunteers run a Friday night program for kids-fun-day

Met over breakfast with young people and their adult leaders for fellowship and discussion about Christian Service in the community as well as what it is like to grow up in an immigrant family.

Mission Team Training

Team Training - Discussing Solar Curtains

Spent a day installing solar curtains in five homes in local trailer parks. We did this in teams made up of members from both youth groups.

Attended worship at Williams Memorial Church, a large African American Church, on Sunday morning and a Hispanic Church Sunday evening.

Assisted in serving lunch and handing out clothes to about 100 homeless folks who are encamped on the American River just across from Sacramento Old Town.

They helped in running a “kids-fun-day” at an impoverished trailer park. They helped serve a meal to the families, play with the kids, did face-painting, sang, told bible stories and just made friends, showing them some “Jesus Love” as our Mentor called it.

Spent an afternoon being tourists in Old Town Sacramento, building community within our youth group and our new young African friend, visited the historical Train Museum. For a different perspective than most groups would see we realized that the ancestors of one of our youth born in the Chinese Provence of Toisaan helped build our railroads.

A youthful evaluation…

The youth from the trip made a report during worship at Calvary after the trip. Their reflections on the work project where energetic and insightful.

They loved being together.

With the age range of the group the older youth really took care of the younger kids and served as role models. Living together in the house that was shared with us for the weekend they had a chance to be together 24/7. During our time together there was lots of laughter and even some tears. There was lots of learning not just about Christian Service but about growing up and facing the issues that face Asian youth growing up in the U.S today.

They gained new perspectives.

Taking Communion at the Hispanic Church

Taking Communion at the Hispanic Church

They integrated quickly with the youth from Trinity Presbyterian Church. In planned conversation and casual conversations during the workday they discovered the differences and similarities of growing up in immigrant families. They shared the values that their parents pass on to them and the frustrations of being in families that don’t always share the values that other “American” families have. They loved the experience of worshiping in an African American Church with its energy and hospitality and blended in well with the Spanish language service that was translated into English much like the style of worship in their home church which is in English and Mandarin. They teamed up for working with the Trinity youth easily and began making plans for our next project together at our closing refection time. They learned about how the Church Volunteer Network (CVN) is working with those in need in Sacramento and West Sacramento. They spent time with the Executive Director of CVN learning about their work with the homeless and those in-need. One youth shared how different it was to be told how to befriend a homeless person rather than avoid them as they had been instructed by their parents.
They discovered…

Shared smiles of those whom they broke bread with in the church and at the riverside.

New friends who share a love of God and a love for “the-other”.

The friendship of an African American young man who just wanted to spend time with them.

A vision of what they can do together in serving the needs of those in their community.

Plans for the future.

As we reflected on our weekend work project the Calvary youth decided it would be good to invite their new work partner to the East Bay to work with those in need in their community. They are already planning a weekend trip in the Spring of 2012 and are planning on returning to West Sac next Labor Day for their next project. They loved the trip but before they had even finished their first day of work decided that the adults had underestimated the work that they can do and are determined to do more work on the next project.

Pastor Karl’s reflections.

I am so pleased that we have planted a seed in our youth for responding to their faith with service to their community. This was our first work project but now our youth have a vision for future projects and are already thinking bigger about what they can do and how they can involved more of our youth and our church community in the projects. I am sure that we could not have planted this seed and vision without the generosity of the Pacific Network for Mission Education. Thanks so much, PNME, for your support and vision.