My Week Working in a Rescue Mission
by Rachel Paxton
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Four years ago our church's high school youth group travelled to
a neighboring state to work in a rescue mission for a week. I
decided to go along to help...youth groups are always looking for
Working at the rescue mission had a powerful impact on my life.
It wasn't just the mission itself, but the entire trip. It's not
easy to work with a large group of people you barely know and to
give up your personal preferences for the sake of the group. The
trip was supposed to impact the lives of the teens, as well as
the people we helped, but it definitely affected the adult
While we were on the trip I wrote down some of my thoughts that I
thought might be worth sharing. If you haven't experienced
anything like this before, you should consider getting out into
your community with your teens and showing them how they too can
impact other people's lives. You won't regret it.
"I was really dreading the ride here because of how long we had
to spend in the car. The 14 1/2 hours we spent in the car seemed
like only 3-4 hours. I spent a lot of the time getting to know
one of the boys I hadn't talked to before. That night we all
slept soundly and I woke up to a flat air mattress."
"Today we went to church with our host church. We spent the
afternoon shopping for groceries at Costco. In the evening we
had communion and had sharing time, and many of the kids stood up
and shared their hearts, more than I've ever seen at once, and
more than a few who don't normally share."
"Today my daughter woke up with a fever of 101 degrees. She
spent all day sleeping while we went to the rescue mission. Her
fever broke in the afternoon and she joined us for dinner and the
chapel service. We spent most of the day sorting through and
re-organizing a food storage room at the mission. We trapped two
mice and two of the boys had fun catching and killing moths. Our
youth put on the chapel service at the mission and one of the
boys did a great job sharing the message. I heard he wants to go
to seminary. That's so cool! I heard we get showers tomorrow."
"My daughter worked in the mission kitchen today while my group
worked at the food bank. We sorted through huge cartons of food,
dividing them up and stacking them on pallets. In the afternoon
we formed an assembly line and packed almost 400 boxes with
cereal, dry milk, vegetables, etc. The boxes will go to
low-income elderly people. Two of the boys had fun playing on
the forklift and conveyer belt. The crew worked really hard with
hardly any breaks. It rained really hard most of the day."
"Today our group worked in the mission kichen all day preparing
meals, washing dishes, and cleaning. We served lunch to more
than 100 homeless people. It took a long time to prepare all of
the food and wash the dishes. This evening I rode in the
outreach van that drives around the town almost every evening,
handing out meals to homeless and poor people. Most of the stops
were to low income housing and motels. There were a lot of moms
with kids, and several of the men had been drinking heavily. Most
everyone we talked to was very nice. The van also hands out
shirts, hygiene kits, and blankets to people who need them."
"Today we took the kids on a 12-mile rafting trip. A couple of
times we stopped and the kids swam through the rapids. At
another place they jumped off a small cliff into the river."
"Today our group worked at the woman and family shelter. We made
lunch, but spent most of the day hearing the life story of Henry,
who runs the mission kitchen. His story was quite amazing. I
couldn't believe how much tragedy he had lived through."
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom of four. For more
inspirational articles and tips for everyday living, visit
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