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Hudson -- Members of both the Hudson and Stow Presbyterian Churches joined forces with Knox Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, New York for an island trip to the Caribbean earlier this month.
However, the trip was not to sightsee or sun bathe, it was all business -- missionary business.
The youth ministries worked with the inner city youth of Buffalo and the Island of St. Vincent in the Grenadines.
"At Hudson Presbyterian we don't just see these junior and senior high students as going on a youth mission trip, rather they are missionaries of our church, going to serve those whom the Lord Jesus calls all us to serve," The Rev. Rob Sparr, senior pastor at Hudson Presbyterian Church said. "We as a church could not be more excited about the work that these 12- to 18-year-old students did in Buffalo and St. Vincent."
The students took the trip to serve, Sparr added.
"And the Lord blessed their trips as they were able to meet some tremendous people, learn that being poor does not mean that one has done wrong and most importantly see the Lord Jesus at work as they serve -- we are excited about the young people in our church, and our youth ministry."
The Rev. Robert Stanley, pastor of Stow Presbyterian Church agreed.
"It's gratifying to see the Lord using our teens to touch lives and live out the mandates of God's Word," Stanley said. "So many times we don't put the commands of scripture into action, but seeing our teens work hard to love people who are so broken by life is a testimony to the Spirit's presence in our teen's lives."
Church members take the trips to live as Jesus commanded "that we would freely and regularly love those whom need God's mercy and encouragement," according to Stanley.
"Teens learning to meet these significant needs in the real world must first learn to see people hurting and get beyond themselves," Stanley said. "When they do this, they begin to build positive and intentional life styles of servanthood like Jesus."
According to Stanley, helping people can turn into good habits that can shape church members to live more like Jesus lived.
"They want to know Him more deeply in their spiritual lives, and they put themselves out there more freely," Stanley said. "They learn to serve God with teens from other churches and be the Body of Christ as one. They work, laugh, pray, cry and sweat together. Their lives are the junction for sharing the reality of faith-that Jesus loves them, and we do too."
The three churches will team up for missionary work in Akron next year, Sparr said.