North Broadway United Methodist Church

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My trip to Alabama

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My trip to Alabama was my fifth and final youth workcamp.  While I am sad that this was my last workcamp, I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had through this church over the years while in youth group.  I have learned many things throughout my five workcamps, but there is one thing in particular that I recognized from each of my trips.  That is to not be greedy and be grateful for what I have.  It is easy for us, especially teenagers, to want more.  We always want the newest clothes and technology.  But when it comes down to it, those possessions don’t matter.  That’s not what living our life to the fullest potential means.  What we should focus on is having those relationships and friendships with each other and with God.  My freshman theology teacher told us each day, “Life is all about relationships and the journey.”  This quote didn’t mean much to me my freshman and sophomore year but during my junior and especially senior year, it started to stand out to me and make a little more sense.  I realized that the journey isn’t always easy.

Each day at workcamp this year, we were asked to think about and point out our God moments that came up.  People had different answers while I just blew off this question because I didn’t know how to answer it since I didn’t think I saw God anywhere.  Now being back for a week, I have taken a step back and re-evaluated the question.  I now realize that God was everywhere that week.  He was in us volunteers who went down and served this community.  We were the hands and feet of God and He gave us strength each day to push ourselves to our limits to serve this community the best that we could.  God was in those who we served, prayed with, and prayed for each day.  Whether these people ran out of money or lost their wife like the gentleman we built the ramp for, whether they went through a huge grieving process or still are grieving, these people are some of the most positive and uplifting people I have ever met.

One thing that we all had in common in Alabama was our faith.  Just as Jesus told the crowds, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  I know I personally just as most of us, have had our struggles with our faith whether that be not listening to God or to completely stop believing in God.  We need each other to get through these rough times but once we do get through them, we are stronger people with a stronger faith.  All of us there in Alabama were children of God.  Another phrase that I blew off because I had heard it so many times growing up.  But now thinking about it, those words have a much deeper meaning.  We all have little features about us that make us special and unique, and when it comes down to it, we all want to serve God and make society, His world, and His creation the best that we can.  Jesus also told the crowds, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  It was great to be able to help comfort these people through all they have been through whether we were building a ramp, talking to them, listening to them, or giving them a hug.

I thank this church for the opportunities we have had to go out into the community and serve.  What we do though isn’t enough because we can always do more, especially on an individual basis.  I encourage you to think about this movie trailer we watched today and challenge yourself just as Trevor did.  I know this seems overwhelming, I totally get it.  There is a lot to do in this world and it never seems like we have enough time.  But imagine if we all stepped up and helped each other out and how much of a chain reaction that would have.  Whether we help one person at a time or a group of people…whether we do something huge or something small…no matter what you do, all of these changes will make an impact on this world.  Make a list if you need to, otherwise just go for it.  I bet you will be surprised because it will make a bigger impact than you might think.

Sarah Bertsch


Work Camp 2016 Final Notes

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For some of us, this week was the beginning of a journey, and for others, an ending. For some, it was an emotional undertaking, and for others, a physical exertion. But each one of us leaves Alabama a changed person, no matter how obvious that change might be. Whether tagging clothing or constructing a ramp, tearing down a roof or building up friendships, we have united for seven days in an adventure into the deep and dirty. The Sand Mountain Parish was filled with hard-working and painfully poor families, but every one we met was kind, caring, thankful, and welcoming. Even though some of us complained, we were honored to be able to help the not-so-well-off of our country. The experience of this week was a harsh and beautiful one. Who knows what a little more love in the world will do?

Interested in joining the North Broadway UMC youth group?  Contact Pastor Heather at hnordgren@north-broadway.org

 

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Work Camp Alabama 2016 Blog

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From the youth at Work Camp Alabama

Today (Monday) was our first day at our work sites in Alabama.  After only one day of helping and hard work, we all have experienced God in new ways, and have become closer as a group.  At the beginning of the day we were divided into three teams.  Two of the teams helped at thrift stores by sorting and organizing various clothing items, books, toys, etc.  My team worked on building a wheelchair ramp for a man who was severely injured in an accident.  After lots of planning and designing we started digging holes for posts and building the ramp.  We still have lots of work to do, and we will continue on the ramp tomorrow.  Building the ramp has helped me realize how truly lucky I am, and that we all bring hope to people who have lost all hope

Tuesday:  The second day of work camp was good and fun day. Today two of the groups went to garden at the community garden while the other group continued to work on the ramp. In the afternoon the two teams that were gardening went back to where they were yesterday. My group continued to organize and tag clothes at the thrift. When we were done Makenzie, Katie and I tried on formal and wedding dresses. I saw God in a man who was very thankful for the mission team working at the thrift today.

On our third day of workcamp, instead of working on our work sites, we went to Little Rock Canyon National Park to pick up trash and clean up the park. It was sad and amazing to see how much trash people threw in nature and how inconsiderate they were. It was great to clean up the park. After we cleaned up, we took a nice dip in one of the many watering holes in this park. Many of us jumped off the cliff into the water and swam around for a while to cool down and have some fun. Afterwards, we explored the national park some more.  Tonight, we went to Chaney UMC and ate dinner with some of the people in the church. It was great to see the joy in their faces and conversations. It was lots of fun to play games with them. After that we went and watched the sunset. It was peaceful and absolutely beautiful to see God’s creation in that way. That is one of the prettiest views I have ever seen.

It was a relaxing yet fun day and we are ready for another day back at work tomorrow. My group is hoping to finish the wheelchair ramp and everyone else is going to start a new project.

From Work Camp Team

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