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Rebirth In Christ

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As my mom drove me into the parking lot of the Christian Church my stomach dropped as I realized I did not recognize half of the people standing in the parking lot. Normally when I see a crowd of new faces I enjoy the thought that I will meet new people, however, this particular crowd intimidated me, especially since I knew I would be spending the next week with them. I was 14 and going on my first mission trip with Feed Your Spirit youth group. I could feel a panicked look spreading across my face as I thought to myself, “I thought I knew everyone in F.Y.S.” Luckily for me, one of my best friends, Michelle, followed in the car behind me.

We parked the car and began to get out our overnight bags, pillows, sleeping bags and bibles, since we had packed our tool bags and week bags into the vans and u-hauls the night before. Soon after all of our belongings were out in the car Ms. Pat, the youth leader, called all youth and parents together to form a circle in the parking lot and bless our trip, then our parents were off. Of course Michelle and I had dibs on sitting next to each other in the car, but the rows of seats were made for three and I was going to end up in the middle. At first I didn’t realize that I knew the girl who sat next to be, but it turned out to be someone I was a crew leader with the previous summer, her name is Heather, and I began to calm down a bit. Soon after we had all cuddled into our cozy seats for our 9 hour car ride the vans took off leaving the Christian Church, my home away from home, in the dust. And we were off on our journey to Zanesville, Ohio.
Heather is three years older than me, but if you met her you’d think she was my age. She’s a bubbly, immature, short, little redhead with glasses and a quirky personality, but to this day she is one of my best friends. The rest of our car consisted of Michelle, April, Allison, Julia, Tara, Pat and Steve, many of whom have are also huge influences on my life to this day. Many people sleep on long car rides, but none of us! We were up playing old maid with carebear cards, listening to Dane Cook, having pick-up line wars and they were all there comforting Michelle and me on our fears of being the youngest ones on the mission trip.
Since we left Friday morning and the camp didn’t start until Sunday, we spent the next two nights at a very hospitable church. We arrived late Friday night and made our exchange cross; each youth group on the trip makes one and takes home one from another youth group. Saturday was our free day; we went to a water park and a zoo! I had a broken arm so I wasn’t allowed to swim, which was kind of a downer, but if I had been able to I’m not sure I would have realized how caring that group really was. The entire time people were swimming one guy who had gone to my church for years, but we had never spoken sat out with me tanning and talking for hours. His name was Alex and like Heather, he was three years older than me. I felt bad that he wasn’t swimming because he didn’t want to leave me by myself. However, a little while after I had started to feel bad Collin, Scott and Mike asked me to join them in going to the zoo and I went so Alex could join everyone else in the pool. Collin, Scott and Mike were best friends, crazy best friends, all four or five years older than me and far from being perfect Christians, but they are some of the best people I have ever met in my life, and I grew very close to Scott. He isn’t someone I would exactly idolize, but he’s always there when you need someone to talk to and he honestly cares about what you tell him.
On Sunday, it was the moment of truth, we met our crews. The way crews work at workgroup foundation is that you are completely separated from your youth group during work hours. I was assigned to be in a double crew and from the beginning I could tell it was going to be a fun week. My group consisted of Tony, Steve, Shane, Jack, Keith, Kashaun, Rie, Ursula, Becky, Kyria, Alisha and me. We were assigned to our resident whose name I will never forget, Dixie Jones. She was extremely shy, frail and reserved. Our assignment was to scrap, prime and repaint the entire exterior of her one and a half story home.
By the end of the week we accomplished not only the labor work for the week, but we helped change Dixie’s life. She was a bible school teacher in her younger days, but once old age had hit her she lost her faith. By the end of the week she was not the same reserved women we had met Monday, she said to us before we left Friday, “you children, and your faith have completely reborn my faith in God Almighty and Jesus Christ by what you’ve done.”
The next day, it was time to head home. I found it difficult to believe that one week could go by so fast, especially when you are working. By the end of the trip I found I also found it hard to believe the amount of amazing friends I had made. Not only did I become friends with my youth group and my crew, but some of my best friends on this trip. Trina, Nolan, Rachel, Sara, Shelby, RiRi, Laura and I all have managed to keep in touch for over a year and a half, without being introduced to each other by youth group or crews.
A few weeks after that trip in summer of 2008 I was sitting in church as always in my itchy Sunday clothes wondering why my mom makes me come here. Then, my pastor began showing a slideshow of pictures from our trip and I began to tear up. A picture of Dixie and I came up on the white screen in front of the sanctuary and I thought back to her saying, “you children, and your faith have completely reborn my faith in God Almighty and Jesus Christ by what you’ve done.” From then on I knew why I went to church; I knew why I was a Christian. Being a Christian is not longer just wearing itchy clothes and sitting in a warm room listening to someone wearing robes talk for hours, being a Christian is trying to make the world a better place; it’s trying to rebirth yourself in Christ and be forgiven for your sins.



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Lily1 said...
Mar. 2, 2010 at 1:27 pm
That is amazing! I am a Christian and it's encouraging to know there are others on here who are Christians . I am new to teenink and I would like it if we could encourage each other and comment on each other's work. I could give you suggestions and you give me suggestions. Thanks for the post!!! Keep Shining the Light of Christ !
 
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