What do you get when you combine a mission trip with a local destination, and throw in 32 Ozark Christian Church members physically participating at sometime over a three day period? A very successful and rewarding experience that crossed off every item on the lengthy “to do” list, and saw over 50% participation from the residents at the location. That is exactly what occurred when OCC members traveled the short distance to Freedom’s Rest Family Violence Center in Ozark, July 19-21.
Each morning started with the group gathering at the church for a hearty breakfast prepared by the mission trip food crew, then journeying ten minutes up the road to begin the work day. Work consisted of skilled construction labor, yard work, painting (inside and outside), cleaning, assembling furniture, hauling away trash, as well as many other tasks. The first two days were challenging due to the tremendous heat indexes, but everyone took breaks when needed, worked in the shade or indoors when available and focused on the reason for being there. Lunch breaks back at the church were a good way to recharge for the afternoon (especially when the food crew brought out ice cream, fudgesicles, and popsicles).
The OCC team held an afternoon kid’s camp and separate women’s activities for the residents of Freedom’s Rest. The kids enjoyed three days of lessons, crafts, activities, snacks and of course, games, involving every imaginable form of water, because everyone wanted to get wet due to the heat. In the meantime, the ladies were bonding through testimonies, discussions, crafts, baking lessons and journaling lessons, in the cool air conditioning of the facility’s kitchen. Mission trip team participants outnumbered resident participants, so several team members continued with the physical labor in the afternoon, as well. All work was completed in time to gather back at the church for a delicious evening meal, as well as a devotion and discussion time.
The team hosted an onsite BBQ for the residents and staff on Saturday, as a special “thank you” for allowing the mission trip participants to be there for three straight days. After saying their goodbyes at the end of the day, the OCC team left with a sense of accomplishment from not only the completion of the items, but from relationships built, memories made and hearts touched. The first time participants, as well as the veteran mission trippers, also learned that being the hands and feet of Christ is extremely rewarding, no matter where the mission trip takes place.
Thanks to Marna Strahl for this story and photos.
In memory of Amy Johnson, Mission Trip 2018 Destination:Ozark participant.