While many teens will fill their summer vacation with time around the pool, shopping and other leisure activities, more than 50 high school students who attend Andover’s Hope Community Church will be journeying to Chicago, Memphis, Tenn., and inner-city Wichita to serve others.
“One of the things we do is try to instill the idea that we are all created to live on a mission … serve others … venture across cultural lines to share God’s love,” Hope Pastor Mark Hershey said. “When these students are serving others from another culture, I believe they come away with a better awareness of the world they live in, a burden for people who are less fortunate, and a desire to continue helping, serving and giving of themselves.”
Hershey said he has seen similar experiences help place teens on life trajectories focused on making a positive impact on the lives of others and the world.
“When they take part in these types of trips, they’re obviously serving others, experiencing another culture, and learning leadership skills,” he said. “But they may also be spreading their wings for the first time, stretching themselves and finding out just what they are capable of achieving. It can be an incredible launching pad into adulthood.”
The three trips will involve multifaceted events and tasks.
“Our least experienced students will go to inner-city Wichita where they will be placed in situations that are probably out of their comfort zone,” Hershey said.
Partnering with the World Impact organization, they will get a glimpse of the struggles and issues unique to inner-city areas. The Memphis trip will involve more experienced students who will put on a four-day Vacation Bible School in an inner-city area and work projects including home repairs for elderly and other disadvantaged families.
The Chicago trip will involve different activities each day in a culturally diverse area of the city.
“Each day will be different and challenging, and the work will likely go into the evenings. It will be some long days for these guys,” Hershey said.
Activities include a prayer walk, basketball camp, Bible club for kids, a neighborhood BBQ and minicarnival for families, and work projects at people’s homes.
Hershey said he needed a strong economic engine to help fund the trips, so Hope Community Church is bringing back its popular “Hopemart” garage sale from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 31-June 1 and from 7 a.m to noon June 2.
“Hopemart is like a 100 garage sales packed into one,” Hershey said. “In the past it’s been huge, and we’re planning to make it even bigger and better this year.”
Hopemart is filled with a huge variety of donated items, enough to fill Hope’s main Worship Center and several additional areas of the church.
Page 2 of 2 - “It’s all good stuff priced low. We’re also having a silent auction for some prizes donated by local businesses, and some delicious baked goods,” Hershey said. “Customers can also have dinner here. We’re serving a barbecue combo dinner for $6. All proceeds from Hopemart go to help fund the student trips, so we hope the entire community comes here to shop.”
Hope Community Church is located at 1831 E. 21st in Andover, right next to the Andover exit on the Kansas Turnpike.
For more information, visit www.welcome2hope.com or contact Mark Hershey either at 316-858-9100 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.