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Pittsburgh Project 2007

From July 9th – 13th I led a trip with our Jr. High Youth Group to the Pittsburgh Project.  It’s an organization that I was somewhat familiar with, but knew little or nothing about their summer service camps.  But, we chose it because given that our Sr. High trip is headed to Mexico, a local Jr. High trip made planning really easy.  It also created a nice balance – it’s not uncommon to hear people criticize international trips by saying that there are needs right here at home – so we did both this year.

The week was quite incredible to be honest.  What I think impressed me the most was that the “program” part of the schedule was extremely well done.  There was a quiet self-guided devotional time each morning and the evening program was fun, entertaining, and had great content.  The work part of the trip was among the better organized and supported trips that I’ve been a part of.

The most exciting part of the week for me came at the end, when I asked the group to answer this question: “What have you learned about life/faith/mission this week?”  I ask people to write it down and not put their name on it – so that they could be completely honest.  Here were their responses:

  • After this week, I learned how much my parents really love me and how much I take for granted each day of my life
  • I have learned I need to help those who are too weak or cannot fend for themselves
  • The Pittsburgh Project has changed me during this week by being able to appreciate what I have.  I am now able to not feel sorry for less fortunate people because that is all the life they know.  I can also help others to make them feel better and also myself.  It has been a great experience
  • I see that most people aren’t as wealthy as I am
  • I can make an impact on people and put a smile on their face
  • After this week, Mt. Oliver will not just be a place for poor people, but now there is a name and a face
  • After this week I’ll have a different outlook on what it’s like to live without expensive appliances and respect my parent’s income
  • My perspective on people who need my help has changed a lot
  • My outlook on Pittsburgh is a lot different than it used to be
  • I will most likely be more faithful and I will listen to what I am told
  • No matter who you are, you choose the amount of love that you receive by the amount of love that you give
  • I’ve always been told that I’m fortunate by my dad  However, I never knew what that really meant until I arrived at my worksite.  I realized that my homeowner was grateful for what little she had and it showed me just how lucky I am.  Besides prayers at night and youth group I never really set aside time for God.  After ten minutes of silence I realized that talking to God was a good thing.  Now, I’m going to start setting aside time.
  • No matter where you go someone will always need your help
  • The Pittsburgh Project has made me better understand God.  Now that the week is coming to an end I can clearly focus on those who are less fortunate than us.  I will not classify them as “poor people” but as brothers and sisters in Christ.  God doesn’t care how rich you are; he cares about our love for one another.  This experience has made me realize that many people do need my help and I am going to try and help more.
  • I realized how much better my family was when everyone was around, but now that people have gone and left my family has been more chaotic
  • All my life, I’ve considered myself a Christian, but I’m not sure that all the time I showed it.  I still to this day don’t know why that is.  But after hearing the stories and meeting new people, I am more comfortable with showing I’m a Christian all the time
  • I have majorly changed.  I realize how many things have gotten in the way of my faith.  Now I know that you don’t need tons of things for God always comes first.
  • I think that I finally found God – I was lost but I’ve found him.  So I will be good and grateful for what I have.
  • My life has changed because I will not ever go back to the person I was before: arrogant, selfish, and rude
  • My outlook on faith has changed this week.  With all of our talks I thought that if God wants our world to be as much like him as possible, why doesn’t he help those people who need it the most?  Why does he keep those people in pain?  After thinking about that I realized he is doing something about it.  We are the help that he is sending to those helpless people.  Not money or food but the love and support of good people.
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