Making a Difference and Making New Friends

2012 mission trip pic

Rev. Chris Everson of First UMC Royse City offers perspective on Labors for Neighbors trips

Mission activities are a vital element in the life of a thriving church. They help focus on needs outside the walls of the church. And, they give those who attend the opportunity to grow closer together while being Christ’s hands and feet. 

But mission projects aren’t just for the young disciples in our congregations. Mission projects are a critical element for Christ followers of all ages. 

That’s what I love about Labors for Neighbors. It’s a mission trip for almost all ages and abilities. Practically anyone can find a way to get plugged in to this weekend mission project. And, there really are no excuses not to sign up.

In late November, a mission team from various churches will be departing the Dallas area and heading south to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Our task will be to put a roof on a house. That means the old roof will need to come off first, and then a new roof will go on. And, we’ll do all this in a weekend.

Chris EversonDoes that seem hard to believe? It was for me, too … until I saw Christ’s body in action. I’ve gone on four Labors for Neighbors mission trips, and every time I was amazed to see what a group of willing volunteers can do to revolutionize a home in a matter of days.

As their website states, Labors for Neighbors provides a “no excuses” mission trip experience for those with busy lives. Do you work full time? No problem … trip participants don’t depart until Friday after work. Afraid of heights? Not an issue … there’s plenty to do on the ground. Never done roof work before? That’s all right … most participants haven’t, and there’s plenty of guidance to get the job done right.

A lot more work will likely need to be done to the hurricane-ravaged house we’ll be working on, but no other work can be done until the house has a good, sturdy, leak-free roof. Getting the roof done first is critical to being able to return a family to their home.

The funny thing is, you never know who you’re going to meet on a trip like this, since members from various United Methodist churches sign up to participate. I had such an experience back in 2012 on a Labors for Neighbors mission trip.

At that time, I was involved in church planting and as part of a team building exercise, I mentioned to my launch team that I would like to do a mission project together. I had gone on previous Labors for Neighbors trips, and I thought it would be the perfect mission trip for our group. So several of us signed up to go.

Unbeknownst to me, members from my current congregation were on that same trip (I’m now serving at First UMC Royse City). And we only just realized that we were on the trip together when we began planning the November trip. I was on the website looking for more information when I ran across this group picture (above). 

I’m in the middle in the blue shirt and ball cap, with my wife Tracy and members of our launch team on the right side of me. To the left are Jana Hebron and Dean Gilkinson, members of the congregation I’m currently serving.

I asked Dean to share a little bit about what he loved about Labors for Neighbors. Reflecting on this trip Dean said, “I honestly signed up so I could be a blessing, but I wound up being blessed by those we were serving.”

Sign Up for a Mission

If you are interested in signing up for the upcoming Labors for Neighbors trip, scheduled for Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, email Rev. Andy Lewis.

The North Texas Conference is committed to sending 300 work teams to the Rio Texas Conference in 2018, 2019 and 2020. To date, we are well on the way to our goal with more than 70 total trips. To help us keep an accurate track of upcoming trips, be sure to text 300toRio to 66866 with information.

Also, be sure the remember Harvey rebuilding efforts when making plans for summer youth mission trips.

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2018