Morgan Hill youth serve others in Tennessee

This summer, youth from the Morgan Hill United Methodist Church traveled to Nashville, Tenn., on a mission trip to serve others.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus commands his followers to serve others: feed the hungry, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, care for the sick, visit prisoners. That remains perhaps the central message of Christianity: to reach out and help others in need.
Teens in the South Valley have opportunities to practice following this teaching. For example, many local churches send their youth on mission trips at Easter to help the poor in Mexico.
In June, however, six teens and two adults from the Morgan Hill United Methodist Church traveled in a different direction for their mission trip to Nashville, Tenn.
They learned of this opportunity through a Facebook page and began fundraising for the trip last winter. Months were spent on activities like baking and selling pies, washing cars and holding a progressive dinner and silent auction to solicit donations from the congregation.
They were joined in Nashville by members of United Methodist youth groups from churches in Minnesota, Illinois, Alabama and North Carolina. Some 50 teens then set off daily to do service projects at different locations.
– Operation Stand Down is a center for homeless and low-income veterans. There they helped the vets perform computerized job searches and with learning other work-related skills.
– Nashville Rescue Mission is a homeless shelter serving 500 men and women. The teens helped with cooking and serving food, as well as housekeeping and maintenance tasks.
– A child-care center for low-income families gave participants a chance to interact with youngsters through reading and playing together.
Nights were spent in sleeping bags on the floor of the huge McKendree United Methodist Church. Besides sleeping there, they were divided into teams to cook and serve their meals and perform general housekeeping chores. They also socialized during activities like music, games and Bible study.
One day they visited the headquarters of The Upper Room, an international Christian ministry. Inside is a chapel that hosts thousands of visitors annually, and they enjoyed a guided tour and received Communion there, viewing a nearly life-sized replica carved in wood of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous painting, “The Last Supper.”  
Other highlights they experienced included:
– A barbecue at the headquarters of the General Board of Discipleship, an agency of the UMC
– A peek inside a band’s tour bus at the CMA Music Awards Festival
– A visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum where they enjoyed exhibits about Taylor Swift, and Elvis Presley’s car
– Sharing the flight home with the popular Tobymac band that has won many awards for its Christian music.
The teens also participated in a daily devotional and kept a journal called “You Are Here.” When they returned, they used these entries to write testimonials of the mission trip; these were shared with the congregation at a special Sunday service at the church.
According to Youth Leader Jeannie Clayton, the group enjoyed meeting the teens from other states and discovering their similarities and differences; they were gratified by the chance to help make a difference in the lives of those they served at the mission sites and hope to do more mission trips in the future.
For more information about activities sponsored by the junior and senior high youth groups at the Morgan Hill United Methodist Church, call 408-779-4044 or visit

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