Girls on a Mission
 
“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
 
This summer, three girls from North Pocono High School, along with approximately 50 additional youth group members of Parker Hill Church, headed south to Birmingham, Alabama on a volunteer mission.
 
The purpose of this two-week trip was to make an impact on the local community and serve others, while learning, worshiping, and building new friendships along the way. The group included high school Senior Ashley Dunn and Freshmen Amanda Moss and Morgan Quinn. They partnered with Habitat for Humanity to construct, repair, and rebuild homes in the Birmingham area.
 
Traveling to Alabama by bus and sleeping in a church basement were the easy tasks of the trip. While on the mission, the team of hard-working students spent eight hours a day on the location of eight abandoned homes. They painted the exterior of the homes, tore off and replaced old roof shingles, fixed broken shutters, cleaned and organized the inside of each house, and beautified the outside landscaping.
 
The girls chose to volunteer on this mission to afford them the opportunity to help others and bring joy to families less fortunate. After spending a week in Alabama, the group headed further south to Panama City, Florida for Camp BigStuf (a retreat full of friendship and worship).
 
When asked about the most memorable part of their journey, Morgan responded, “The hours I spent in the hot sun on a roof – facing my fears and helping my team finish the job.” She also explained how she learned just how difficult and laborious house construction work is and how so many people need help to have a basic roof over their heads.

Additionally, Amanda shared, “Just seeing the smiles on the faces of the community we were helping made it worthwhile.” She also learned that “giving back to the community is as valuable to those who give as it is to those who receive.”
 
Ashley explained why she chose to attend this two week volunteer opportunity the summer before her senior year began. She stated, “I chose this trip because I find service rewarding. So often we just think about ourselves and how certain things benefit us. By attending this mission, I was given the opportunity to serve others. Even more importantly, I was able to serve God!” Ashley also shared that making lifelong friends was an added advantage of the trip.
 
The mission and experience taught the girls and their travel companions the value of hard work, the importance of giving back to the community, and appreciation for what they have in life. The girls each stated they hope to return on another mission with Parker Hill Church next summer. They really had the time of their lives!
 
I commend their efforts, and I believe the girls would agree with Helen Keller on the benefits of volunteering and serving others when she said, “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.”