Recently I took 9 youth and a couple of chaperones on a 3 day mission trip to Calgary to serve at the Mustard Seed, a shelter for the homeless people. It is a trip that we have taken for about 8 years during the Easter break. It is a trip that doesn’t cost the youth anything except a few meals. Years ago it was decided that if the youth are going out to serve we don’t want finances to get in the way and to keep our costs down way we stay at a church in Calgary and eat a number of meals at the shelter.
Our work consisted of serving and preparing meals for about 350 residents that stay at the shelter, disinfecting their living quarters which consists of a 4x8 foot mat, washing down the lockers and going to the sorting centre where we sort clothes that will then be brought to the shelter. Some of the reasons why youth came on this trip were to see what it actually is like for a homeless person, not a movie interpretation, in the Bible it says we are to help people in need by serving others, prayed about it and God called me to go to the Mustard Seed to be humbled.
The youth found it interesting how thankful and appreciative the residents were towards the volunteers and the staff and that the staff related to the ones staying at the shelter as guests. It was interesting how many people are actually homeless in a country like ours, and this is only one city. That all the belongings that they owned were carried on their back, it was a very humbling experience to see how much more we have in comparison and we probably grumble more than they do. The guests felt very thankful and blessed that we would drive 7 hours to come and serve.
So what did the youth get out of this short mission trip? Maybe our problems aren’t that big, more appreciative of what I have, putting yourself out of your comfort zone for the sake of others and that no one is above serving, serving is a command. Matthew 13:31-32 He told them another parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” The youth were given this verse and were asked how they related that to The Mustard Seed homeless shelter. “The mustard seed, a very small seed becomes a big plant where birds can perch in its branches, the shelter started small with one person having a vision and look what it has become, a home that shelters many people.” “How the love of one person becomes the home of many people, something small becoming something big.” “The example of one person volunteering becomes so huge to the many residents that they have shelter.” “Volunteers show their love like Christ did and that this love be passed on by the homeless people and that Christ' love will spread and grow into something big.”