Are you a youth interested in serving and caring for the poor and needy?
By Gisele McKnight
The first one was outstanding, and organizers hope the second will be even better.
The Youth & Intergenerational Ministries team (YIG), coming off a successful mission to Boston in May, is planning a second trip, this time to Toronto, and it’s looking for volunteers between 18-24 years of age.
“Last year was a pilot,” said Colin McDonald, the director of Youth & Intergenerational Ministries. “We put an invitation out to some groups and 14 people emerged from that. But this year we wanted to open it up.”
The aim is a team of 28, including about seven leaders, to leave for Toronto April 29, returning May 5. Recruiting is now on, with a deadline of Nov. 13. You can find the application form here.
The team will likely travel in vans to Toronto and stay in a church basement. Toronto is the destination this time because of the low Canadian dollar, the opportunities for mission in that city and the fact that the diocese has a lot of good contacts in Toronto.
“We have great connections there, friendships and many of our clergy are Wycliffe grads,” said Colin, adding that three of the mission leaders — the Revs. Dan McMullen and Christian Persaud, and Maren McLean Persaud — studied in the city.
The team will do much of what it did in Boston — volunteer at various missions that serve the homeless, the poor, the addicted and the mentally ill. One thing they found valuable with the first trip was the importance of spending time with those they were serving.
“The most powerful pieces of that trip were when we were involved with people — hearing stories from the homeless of Boston, seeing a man as a person created by God and not just a homeless guy.”
Colin gives a caution on what this trip is not: “It’s not just a trip to go somewhere, do good and come back. It’s leadership and discipleship training. It’s about crafting a lifestyle where it’s important to spend time working in our own communities as well.
“They’ll be challenged and stretched beyond their comfort zones. Hopefully they’ll understand that as Christians, we’re always on a mission because it’s part of who we are as believers.”
That’s why preparation is important, he said. There will be spiritual preparation using the book of Ezekiel, led by Dan; plus team building meetings to get to know each other. And finally, there will be a requirement for 30 hours of volunteering to make sure they are aligned with and ready for the work they’ll be doing in Toronto.
Colin acknowledges that while the trip will give some help and care to the needy population of Toronto, it’s as much about shaping the lives of team members. Growing young leaders, increasing their faith and developing a heart for mission are all goals.
“We’re interested in young people who are looking to push further and grow their own faith, whether they’re someone already taking mission seriously or just beginning and wanting to know more,” he said.
Fundraising to help defray costs will begin soon. If you’re interested in applying, do not delay. If you’d like to read about the Boston mission, click here.