It’s not common for a 7th or 8th grader to want to give up a week of their summer to do manual labor. But in John 3:30 it says, “He must become greater; I must become less,” and the junior high students in our Rebelbase Student Ministry really took that to heart.
In July, a crew of 48 people from our Rebelbase Student Ministry served in partnership with Blueprint Ministries, a non-profit organization in the heart of urban San Antonio that provides servant leadership training for youth and adults while restoring homes for elderly, disabled and low-income residents. The work we did with Blueprint Ministries ensured that homes were made safe, warm and dry for elderly or disabled residents living at or below the poverty level.
Our students and leaders spent the week doing construction repairs, dry-walling projects, ceiling installation, a little painting, and even replacing a roof. They put themselves out of their comfort zones to make a difference in the lives of others. They served without regard of accolades or any reward for the work being done. And they had a lot of fun doing it.
“I loved how the students finished a roof project together and seeing them work hard as a team while having fun,” Paige Loukanis said, a Student Ministry summer intern and one of the leaders on the trip.
The temperatures were definitely hot during the week, but the cloud coverage and cool breeze made working on roofs and other projects a little easier. Tired bodies were renewed each morning to serve another day. The teams gave of themselves for others because they loved Jesus first.
Because He became more, and they became less.
Each day the work teams not only repaired homes, but also took advantage of the moments to build relationships with the families.
“Seeing my group and how much they were role models to the homeowners’ kids,” Tori Strickland said, another Student Ministry summer intern and leader on the trip, “[that] was one of my favorite parts of the trip.”
As the week came to an end, the homes were safer and friendships were forged between our students and the families they helped.
I couldn’t be more proud of our students who served so selflessly together, or more thankful for the leaders that sacrificed time off from work and away from their families to serve alongside our students.
It was awesome to see such passion among our youth to serve, and to see them put Jesus in the spotlight instead of themselves. When our students let Him become more and made themselves become less, they were able to accomplish great things and impact the world around them for Jesus.
This story first originally appeared in The Point, Fall 2013 edition.