The weekend before last was exceptional. I would encourage every college student to try and go on a foreign mission trip. It does takes quite a bit of sacrifices to come up with the time and money. It also takes a certain amount of faith that God can provide. He can, of course, but still there are many people who never make it on one. We wanted these people to experience what a mission trip is like but on a little bit of a smaller scale. That is what mini mission trips are about. We go somewhere semi-local and help out a church. In this case I went with about eleven others from Chi Alpha up to Plains, MT. All it took was fifteen bucks, a weekend, and some hard work.
Plains is a small town where the industry has all but dried up. About 1,200 people still live there though, I suppose out of habit or because it is beautiful. Many people heat their homes with wood stoves and the average household income is around $26,000 a year.
God often does the most incredible things in the most unlikely of places.This was the second time I have been to "Church on the Move" in Plains. It is an amazing church. If you want a model of what a church should be to its community this is it. They have a soup kitchen where they provide two meals a week to those who need the food or fellowship; a clothing ministry which provides, among other items, much needed winter coats to families; and a wood ministry which provides wood to people who can't get it themselves or buy it. Even if you can afford to buy wood, finding someone to buy it from can be a challenge.
I really feel fortunate to be a part of this ministry for even a weekend. We helped them with the wood ministry. Some stayed and split wood with the hydraulic log splitters, and some went to the mountains to log. Scott, Dan, and I were with one of the logging teams. We went with a few members of the church, chopped down dead trees, skidded them onto the road, cut them into 18" rounds, and loaded it all into the truck and trailer. We collected four and a half cords.
Dan and I rode up with Ken. Like many people on staff in the church, he has an incredible story. He had, by many standards, a perfect life in Hawaii: Surfing, building hot rods, and flying to the mainland for a weekend whenever he wanted to go snowboarding. Then one day, just over a year ago, after visiting Plains, God gave him and his wife the message that is where he wanted them to be. They sold their stuff, and moved to Plains.
You might not expect something like visiting a small town in Montana to be anything like a foreign mission, but it really is. This church is meeting the needs of its community, and God is working in some really big ways there. I'm excited to see what happens. God often does the most incredible things in the most unlikely of places. Thanks Ken, B.K., Pastor Jim, the cooks, and everyone else who showed us such hospitality and gave me so much inspiration to really love those around me.