Madison East Church youth hosted kids programming for Mizo group
The mission trip started with a bang.
It was dusk on the 4th of July when we pulled into Des Moines, Iowa. I opened the sunroof to get a better view of the fireworks that were lighting up the big city as we searched for the rest of our youth group. We eventually found our way to the house where we were staying, divvied up the beds and settled down anticipating what the next few days would hold for us.
Less than two months before Lisa Isensee had asked our group to provide kids programming for the Mizo Youth Federation lead by Puia Fanai, through the ministry Advocates for Southeast Asia and the Persecuted (ASAP). To my delight, the youth group was excited to go and after a whirlwind of plans, full church funding and excellent parent support we were here.
On the first night I was deeply impressed by how this group of young people dove right in. It didn’t take long to discover the challenge of working with mostly Burmese & Malay refugee kids–some new to America with very little English language ability and us without a translator. We prayed, then changed our tactics and focused on hands-on, active fun.
What’s more fun than the Fruit the Spirit? Rayne made fruity snow cones for snacks. Heidi used her artistic talent to do face painting. Hannah organized fruit loop fun. Katherine always had a gaggle of little girls around her. Isaiah sweated it out with the older kids playing Capture the Fruit. Christopher used the bubble strings to delight with huge, iridescent bubbles. Chenna cuddled every baby within a five-block radius. Dani faithfully carried around Christina, a handicapped five-year-old sweetheart, so she could be included in everything. We sang, laughed, played, ate, colored and hugged our way through.
Too soon the meetings were over, and we were packing up to leave. All of us were a bit reflective as our mission trip came to an end. We discovered that days full of selfless, loving activity leaves you exhausted but satisfied; that pumpkin leaf soup is an acquired taste. And last, but not least, love doesn’t need a translator!
Caption: The Madison East Church youth provided kids programming to a Mizo group in Des Moines, Iowa on July 4. Back row, left to right: Hannah Drewieck, Dani Elmer, Katherine Isensee, Rayne Loucks, Tammy Elmer, Isaiah Crabb, Chris Murphy. Front row, left to right: Chenna Loucks, Heidi Spalitta