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We Do What God Calls Us For

This weekend, a group of people from our church, will be heading to Jacksonville, FL on a mission trip. There is a group of nine people from different ages and skills who will be going on the trip set to leave Saturday. All next week, there will be blog posts about the trip, updates and possibly a few stories from group members. Stay updated by checking back here next week and on our Facebook page.

If you have never been on or heard of a mission trip, here is a quick description about them. A mission trip should always include missionary activity. The activity itself is widely varied and does not require international travel: it can include volunteer work, evangelism, teaching, or in our case, labor work such as hurricane relief. The words "mission trip" speak to the purpose of the trip. The mission of a mission trip is to, either directly or indirectly, lead people toward God.

In 2017, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria swept Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico in deadly and destructive acts. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that these three hurricanes are now in the top five most costly hurricanes in U.S. history. Harvey was $125 billion, Irma was $50 billion and Maria was $90 billion. “Meanwhile, Irma was the strongest storm on record in the Atlantic — excluding the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico — with maximum winds of 185 mph and an unofficial wind gust of 199 mph.” “Both Irma and Maria soared to Category 5 strength, the top of the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity. Irma’s landfall on Barbuda and Maria's landfall on Dominica makes 2017 only the second season on record to feature two hurricanes that hit at Category 5 strength.”

Being in Ohio, sometimes it may be hard to truly sympathize with the people affected by these tremendous storms. We may see it on the news or hear stories on social media, but we may not ever truly understand what they are going through. The destruction hurts not only homes but also people. Lives are lost,homes are uprooted and souls may never be the same again. Ohioans have a reputation for frequently traveling to Florida on vacations, such as Spring Break. However, many resorts, hotels or vacation rentals were so damaged by these storms that they were not ready for their usual rush of the season. This affects people from outside the state because they cannot enjoy their vacation. But even more so, these businesses are losing out on money and customers. As if they didn’t already have enough to worry about, now they have to close down shop during a busy season.

Many groups travel abroad for mission trips, but it is true that much work can be done in our own backyards. Traveling to Florida for a week, this group will be able to open their eyes to another society who has been affecting in ways we can only imagine. We will open our hearts to them and hopefully, in return, we can open their hearts to God. It may be hard to see hope in such a tragic time, but God always looks after his people. We are going to be servants of Him for others.

Two great verses from Matthew about missionary work are: Matthew 28:19: “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” and Matthew 16:15: “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

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