What can be done in 168 hours? Apparently, a lot. A small but hardy team of us folks from Indiana’s Bloomington Reformed Presbyterian Church (BRPC) took a week off from our regular schedule to partner with Covenant Fellowship RPC (CovFell) in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. In the seven days that we were there, we were able to participate in many activities like tending to their community garden, painting some areas in the church, moving and disposing of furnishings, manning a food truck and a prayer booth, helping with Kids Zone (a ministry to kids in the neighborhood), and participating in a women’s bible study as well as three door to door evangelism efforts.
Having been a missionary for over 26 years with Philippine Campus Crusade for Christ, I had many chances to participate in missions trips, but this one was definitely a very different experience for me. First of all, rather than a rural area showing an evangelistic film and conducting church trainings, this was an urban environment and we were the ones in a very real sense receiving mentoring from the various CovFell members that we were interacting with.
It felt so good to be in a position of learning and experiencing new things with three of the four members of our team. Philip McCollum had the added joy of re-experiencing being on a missions team to CovFell because he had been on the very first missions team that they hosted 20 years ago!
It was so encouraging to see how they have grown in their love over the past 20 years and not put off by discouragement. They also showed that love by discipling us to reach out with the gospel back home in Bloomington.Pastor Philip McCollum
Finding two photos of Philip from that project 20 years ago was really neat. It makes me wonder how it will be maybe 20 years from now when we five look back on this missions trip we did together!
One thing I will surely remember is the incredible maturity of our two youngest team members. They did so many of the harder physical tasks as well as working with the neighborhood kids. Libby took on the task of team cook without complaint while Nate took a sledgehammer and smashed one table to seeming smithereens. Both of them did all their tasks with a cheerful spirit and pronounced enthusiasm that I know for sure I didn’t have when I was their age.
I enjoyed every second. I was blessed to be able to use abilities I had previously learned at work like painting, weed whacking and evangelism with kids. It was encouraging to see how many people around the church wanted to talk and pray with us. I learned a lot from this experience and hope to go on another missions trip sometime soon.Nate – team member
I enjoyed being able to serve in practical ways around the church like scraping plaster off the walls and weeding in their community garden. But what was different for me was being able to take part in their street evangelism work. It was good to be mentored by others in the church who do this often and it helped me gain more confidence in that area.Liberty – team member
Seeing my husband of nine years serving on the team and hearing his reports each night or morning about how his adventures had gone gave me the greatest thrill as this was his very first missions project. I knew I had married a good and godly man but seeing him flex and push through the long hard days at our not so young stage of life made me even more grateful to be married to him!
It was interesting to see how a congregation in an inner-city situation seeks to share the gospel and be good neighbors to their community. I was surprised and pleased to see how many people in the community did want to talk to us when we walked around the neighborhood and knocked on doors.”Keith
A lot can happen in 168 hours. But some things cannot be measured in hours or in finished projects. The fruits of that one week will surely extend beyond what we can immediately see. That is our corporate prayer and we trust God’s will our lives, as well as the lives of those we interacted with.
Thanks to Germaine for putting together this article for us. Germaine Cochran has been a member of the Bloomington RPC since 2015 when she made the big move from the Philippines to the US. She enjoys deep conversations about life and faith, as well as playing board games and watching mixed martial arts.