Courtesy of Erin Murray
“I love to do mission work because I know that I’m not just making a positive impact for myself, but also for others,” sophomore Ellie Forney said.
Forney’s church, First Presbyterian, rotates their missionary work through different locations. This summer her church is going to Baltimore to do work in the inner city.
“I decided to go on a mission trip because it was an opportunity to help people and travel while spending time with people from my church,” sophomore Erin Murray said about her about her trip to Ensenada, Mexico with Maple Grove Christian Church.
Junior Karin Turner has been doing mission work since the summer after her freshman year, when she traveled to Ensenada with Murray. “While I was there a group of about 20 to 30 of us built two houses. I worked on one of them for a family of four– two kids, a mom, and a dad. We spent five days building a two bedroom house for them and we got to know the family, go to church with them, and really just spend time with them as well as creating this house for them.”
“One part about my mission trip that really stuck out to me was after we had built the houses, we went to this family’s church and there was this little girl named Paula,” Murray said. “We couldn’t speak at all, I only knew a little bit of Spanish and she didn’t know any English, but she stayed by my side the whole night. She taught be to say stuff in Spanish, like I would point at something and say its English name and she would say it in Spanish, then we just went around like that for hours.
There was also music at the church and we would dance and when it came time for us to leave she grabbed onto my legs and wouldn’t let go,” Murray said. “That was my favorite memory, getting to know all the people and becoming close despite the language barrier.”
“Be prepared to be unprepared,” Turner advised. “If you’re considering doing missionary work, your schedule might not be what you had planned. You might think that you’re helping out at Vacation Bible School one day and actually end up building a fence.
Things that you don’t think will make you emotional or change you will end up changing you, so don’t go into a mission thinking that your plans won’t change.”
“No matter what, you are always the person for the job,” Forney said. Everyone appreciates you trying to help, not matter what you’re doing, having you there means the world.”
If you’re unable to go on a mission trip, there is still plenty that you could do right here in Charlottesville. Whether it’s volunteering at your local animal shelter, fundraising, or helping to make free meals, there are always opportunities to help your community over the summer.
SPCA (434) 973-5959
Tuesday’s Table at Stanardsville UMC 985-3888 or [email protected]
Maple Grove Christian Church (434) 973-2066
Martha Jefferson Hospital (434) 654-7000
Jefferson Madison Regional Library http://jmrl.org/pr-teens-volunteer.htm
Stony Point Fire Department (434) 973-7733
Earlysville Fire Department (434) 973-8862
Goodwill (Charlottesville) (434) 872-0171