Eight youth and four adults from Syracuse Bible Church went on a mission trip July 22-25 in Kansas City.  They did a variety of service projects, had a lot of fun, and spent time praying and connecting their experiences and deepening relationships with God.
The Heartland Church near Kansas City, Mo., hosted the group who stayed in the church while they were there.  Upon arrival Sunday, they had a pool party and got to know the church members and those who would be hosting them throughout the week.
Monday morning, they woke up very early and went to Crosslines Community Outreach Center.  Syracuse Bible Church Youth Leader Joe Ensor said, “That was really fun.  The kids liked helping with that.  It’s a facility that helps with the needy in the community - that would include the homeless or those that have a home but don’t have enough to function so they need help with meals or job outreach.”
The group helped make sack lunches for clients (that’s what the outreach center calls those they serve), served 107 breakfast trays, sorted clothing for the thrift store, packaged food for the food pantry, and spent time visiting with the clients while at the center.
The center even offers a community garden, job placement assistance, computers, and a variety of other services to assist their clients in everyday things that some take for granted.
Ensor said, “The kids did awesome!  Everybody just went after whatever they had for us.  If you weren’t helping with something, the kids were out talking with the clients.”
Throughout the trip, they focused on getting out of their comfort zones and spending time relating with people.  Additionally, they had reflection time together making notes on their experiences and where they saw God working in people’s lives.  
Ensor also said the trip really challenged them to be aware when God was pushing them to interact with others.
Tuesday, they went out to the River Market and talked to people in the market and nearby dog park handing out water and popsicles while telling the community about the nearby River Market Church.  
There were some homeless people at the market and park as well.  Ensor said, “The kids really got a feel for how some of them seemed to be in a rough spot where they landed in that circumstance in life and others were comfortable in that lifestyle…   There is no one way that a person gets to be in this position in life.  Everybody’s different.  A lot of people are looking for how do we solve it, but they’re all here for different reasons.  Different obstacles - mental, physical, other circumstances.”
The youth were encouraged to seek God and His help in their circumstances.  They were in unfamiliar circumstances and still were willing to share and learn.  After two hard days of intense work and being challenged, the group enjoyed a Royals game Tuesday night.
Before they left Wednesday morning, the group took time to reflect on their trip.  Ensor was impressed with how they all stepped up.  “For some of them it was just being able to go with the group to do this.  That was their first big step.  Others were comfortable talking to people, so they’d just go out and strike up a conversation which was neat to see,” Ensor said.
He added that he hopes that they can keep that focus on the Glory of Christ and trusting in Christ as Savior.  “I liked seeing them push themselves to get comfortable doing that.”
Ensor continued, “They really took away that God values people in that situation just as much as us and He’s meeting their needs through the work of places like Crosslines or the River Market Church… It just showed them that they have value equal to ours in the Lord’s eyes.  We can serve them and they can help us, too, and show us that life can take a turn and you’ll still be alright.  We really stressed with them that it’s through perseverance and trials in life that you grow in your character and trust in Christ.  That’s where you grow.”