Another Voice on Missions from The Tapestry, a publication from Wilshire Baptist Church
If you’ve ever heard me talk about my hope for missions at Wilshire, you know I continu- ally preach two things. My first hope is that missions becomes an integral part of our identity as Christ followers and not just something we do. My second hope is that missions is not just about what we can give but what we can receive.
I believe our participation in God’s mission is a mutually transforming experience, which cannot happen without engaging in life-changing relationships.
Two years ago Wilshire entered into a partnership with a CBF- affiliated ministry in Shaw, Miss., called Delta Hands for Hope. Over the course of our two-year partnership we have sent
four mission teams to Shaw. These teams have completed many tasks, but more importantly have formed many new relationships. We have sent church members who have participated in worship at a local church, planned summer camp activities and completed building improvements at both McEvans Elementary School and the Delta Hands for Hope building.
Lane Riley, program coordinator for DHH commented: “Because of Wilshire teams, I have witnessed progress not only as a result of walls being painted or shelves being built. I’ve witnessed the personal growth of my youth when they realize they can dream big- ger, or when we have honest conversations about cultural differences and poverty.”
Because both Delta Hands for Hope and Wilshire value the idea of reciprocity in mission, we had the opportunity of receiving Delta Hands for Hope’s first mission team of 12 youth to Dallas last month. These youth participate in a leadership program and were required to volunteer at least four weeks at a local summer camp in order to travel to Dallas. At the beginning of the summer, 12 youth were trained, and at the end of the summer 12 youth walked away with job experi- ence, improved leadership skills and experience giving back to others.
While in Dallas, they volunteered with several of our local mission partners includ- ing CitySquare and Buckner, while also help- ing us host our reading camp at the Veranda @ Midtown apartments. This was the first time any of their youth have volunteered in a different community. Many of you invited them into your homes and prepared meals; they slept on the couches in the Youth Center and participated in our youth group events.
Lane extends her deepest appreciation to Wilshire for granting them this opportunity. “Shaw is an impoverished town, and there is much we don’t have. The community has seen many groups come to help us, and we are very grateful for all the selfless sacrifices others have made on our behalf. But this trip to Dallas has been an eye-opening experience for these youth leaders. My youth now know that although we need additional help in Shaw, they also have much to give. This trip allowed 12 youth from Shaw to use their gifts and skills to help another community. Thank you to Wilshire Baptist Church for welcoming us and for giving us the opportunity to give back.”
We plan on taking a team to Delta Hands for Hope in the spring and would love for you to make plans to join us.
—Heather Mustain, Minister of Missions, Wilshire Baptist Church