A is for ASP
Every year our youth group goes away to the Appalachian Mountains for a mission trip. For one week out of the summer, we pack up vans and head for the mountains. While we are there, we spend each day in teams of 7 going to separate homes and working on them to help make them safer, warmer, and drier. It is an exhausting week where we sleep on the floor and eat food that is basically school cafeteria food.
This year as well as every other year, I dread ASP. It is so much work to keep everything straight. From the beginning of January until we go on the trip, there is this constant nagging about whether or not we will have enough money to go, is all the paperwork in, people dropping out, all kinds of crazy stuff. This year we had to charge all participants an extra $50.00 to attend ASP and on top of that, someone broke into the church and stole a deposit of money that was for ASP. There is just so much to do and honestly, it is so expensive to go on this trip between van rentals, food, t shirts, work crew fees, participant fees, etc. Every year I get the same feeling. I say to myself “We are not doing this trip next year!”
The funny thing is that when I get to the ASP center where we are saying, all that changes. I watch the youth of our church, of our youth group, go to work. They work so hard. They don’t complain at all about the devastating heat. They do their chores at the center, they live by all the rules, they eat the food without a single complaint, they sleep on the floor, and they volunteer to help the center staff. This year, one of my youth even asked me to lead devotion one morning. Youth are amazing. I look back and I know that I was never this motivated when I was a kid. They are so dedicated and they love the experience. They make me so proud of them.
So every year, after I complain and fret over the costs and the details and the grind of putting it all together, I just sit back and watch our youth do their thing. Every year, I get reenergized and reminded why we take this trip. Yes, we help people in need with their homes, yes we build relationships with the homeowners and our work crews, yes we spend a lot of time together becoming closer as a youth group, as a family.
But the most important part of every year when we go to ASP is when I get to witness our youth, my youth, live into Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
So next year, I will gripe and I will moan but then I will be reminded, through our youth, as I sit on the mountain top that Christ strengthens us all. See you at ASP…