by Elizabeth Nowlin
Do you ever let fear stand in the way of getting involved? In our Sunday youth class, we are learning how to live unafraid. Participating in service projects has been my favorite part of being in Acts 2 youth and has made me more confident in my faith.
One of my favorite service projects was spending a weekend volunteering at Cookson Hills Center United Methodist Mission in northeastern Oklahoma. First, our group installed a French drainage system to fix an area of flooding. We dug a large trench, hauled rocks, laid the pipe and put gravel over it. Everyone was exhausted but kept working together to finish the job. It was the hardest physical work most of us had ever done! We also cleaned out a gymnasium where the Cookson youth spend recreation time together. It was rundown and filled with spiders, dust and a lot of broken sports equipment. The Acts 2 youth like to spend our time playing games together and we learned how fortunate we were to have a safe, clean space at our church to play. I was impressed with everyone’s teamwork and how much we got done in one, short weekend. I liked meeting some of the people we were serving and getting to know them. They shared stories about how God called them to their work. Something I took away from that weekend was knowledge on how to share what God was telling us to do.
Our youth group also served at Skyline Urban Ministries in Oklahoma City. This is a place that helps people in Oklahoma who are living in poverty. It has services like a clothing closet, eye clinic and food market. We served lunch, organized the clothing store and worked in the grocery market. Helping in the market was my favorite part. Each family could fill up their basket with food and items for free. It was cool to see the people you were helping and how appreciative they were for the smallest things. Nobody there complained about what they were getting because they were very happy to get it. It’s very eye opening to meet people who live so close to us but live so differently.
We also helped at Feed the Children in Oklahoma City after the 30-Hour Famine. We were tired and very hungry after fasting, yet we still found enough energy to serve. It seemed like we worked so hard for a very long time, but it was nothing compared to what kids feel when they only get one meal a day or sometimes even less. I was proud to see how happy all the volunteers were and how organized everything was. There was very little complaining even though it was very difficult work. I love after each service project when we gather together for a recap. It’s interesting to see how different the experiences were and also how similar.
Overall, I love doing service projects with Acts 2. With every project, all the people involved grow closer to each other and to God. In these service projects, we learn how fortunate we are to live where we do and have what we have. No matter how young you are, you can make a difference by helping in small and big ways.