“Stepping out of your comfort zone will reward you more than you anticipate, and your kids will benefit more than you realize.”
In April, three families from Auburn Grace Community Church in northern California spent two days at Momentum Ministry Partners Urban Center in Los Angeles. Brooke Bye, who participated along with her husband, Matt, and their three children, shared about their experience.
“The trip started out of the recognition of the importance of having a vision for serving with our kids and involving them in service,” Brooke said. “We knew traveling would be challenging, as it always is with young kids. But, if we’re wiling travel for vacation, why can’t we travel for a service trip?”
The group consisted of five adults and ten kids, from teenage down to a six-month-old baby. Tim Lansing, Urban Center L.A. director, worked with the group to coordinate activities that would accommodate a large age range and engage the whole family.
Tim planned several activities to create opportunity for interaction with different cultures. “One of the people groups they engaged with was people from the region of India. They tasted their food, had conversations, and left with a better understanding of their culture and beliefs,” Tim said in a recent article from Momentum.
Later that same day, the group hosted a family party at a local park in a large Latino and Hispanic community. They knocked on doors to invite people to the park where they had organized soccer, face painting, games, fresh tacos, and shaved iced. “We really appreciated that the Urban Center’s emphasis is on relationships and being genuine in your care for people, not because you’ll get that one moment to share the Gospel but caring about them as people made in God’s image,” Brooke said.
On their second day, Tim led the group through training and the practicalities of taking what they’ve learned home to apply it in their own communities. He emphasized being prayerful, using “God talk,” and being sensitive to the Spirit as you have conversations with others. He then challenged them to think of three people at home they could be more intentional with in their interactions and conversations.
Brooke encouraged other families to consider how they might serve together. “Don’t overthink it,” she said. “The eternal reward of doing this as a family is going to outlast the fear or hesitation you might be feeling.”
Tim said, “It was so neat to see adults, teenagers, elementary-aged kids, and even babies all serving together. The kids saw their parents modeling what it means to have a conversation with others and work on having spiritual conversations. It was such an impactful experience for the team and those they served, including many homeless.”