For almost 5 years, John Gilbert, Headmaster of Yorktown Christian Academy, dreamed and worked towards getting students and families involved in missions. He desired to help them see the needs of the world around them—both locally and internationally. John’s ultimate goal was to make YCA not only an excellent academic preparatory school, but also make the school a CALLING preparatory school.
“I want each student to discover and develop their unique gifts in order to fulfill the callingGod has for each of them,” he explained.
“Thank God for STCH Ministries family trips! Families serving together has had the greatest impact on both children and the entire family,” John stated at the end of their second annual mission trip.
Last week YCA took all of the eighth graders along with at least one parent from each family to the Dominican Republic. They ministered to children in both schools and orphanages. They taught English, performed skits, delivered groceries to needy families. They also built stools for the computer lab—sawing, screwing, sanding, painting—although most of them had never constructed anything before. During their orphanage visit, they shared manicures with the girls, played games with the boys, and the YCA moms shared a special mom-to-mom time with the housemoms.
Language was never a barrier, although it gave students a chance to use even the limited vocabulary they had learned in school. One student reported towards the end of the week, “You know, the faces are so different, but the trials and the difficulties are the same, even the way we can get close to God.” And others reported, “I have learned to appreciate what I have at home.”
As far as the total impact on the eighth graders, many of them challenged themselves, overcoming their shyness and overcoming the egocentricity that is often ingrained in children. Most enjoyed every moment.
A parent summed up the impact of the week in this way, “During our stay I learned about another culture, I saw people with another skin color. I heard people with another way to speak. But you know, that is just what we can see with our eyes. When you open your heart, you don’t see or you don’t hear that anymore. I saw my brother and my sister. This trip changed my life deeply. I know now I would like to serve God in the way He wants.”
Mission accomplished! Each trip is unique. But on each trip, God speaks in a special way and has the opportunity to change our lives. Life, after all, is just a blink. Making it count—for the benefit of our loved ones, our communities, and ultimately for eternity—is what makes A LIFE WORTH LIVING.