At the end of our trips we talk about the week and what to expect when we head back home. I like to ask 3 questions; What was your favorite thing about the trip, the least favorite and what can Merge do to make your trip better. They are written down and then I read them later. I just read the ones from a trip to New York in July and a trip to Germany this month (August). HOW ABSOLUTELY ENCOURAGING!
Testimony from Tyler Thomas:
God has always called me to come on a missions trip. The first day I learned about missionaries I was driven to learn more. The mission trip has been beyond what I ever thought it would be. Seeing Gods love through so many people has shocked me. I have grown up listening to how God loves us. This trip was the was the first time I have ever seen God’s love through his people. The first two days looking back I felt God’s protection in a normally dangerous area. God blessed us with the pastor from the Bronx. The work days God blessed us with safety and knowledge. This whole trip has shown me God’s love and protection of his followers. I am so glad I went on this trip. Form the first day we all have been growing closer. God controlled our group allowing us to work together. I am still amazed how well people who didn’t know each others names on the first day finished more projects than we were expected. Being able to work in a Jewish temple showed the expanse and endlessness of God’s love.
Being able to share my talents with others. Teaching and watching them learn a new task. Church Service with Rev. Michael. Prayer Walk and spur of the moment trips.
Meeting the other churches and getting to know and work with them.
Seeing New York City and going to Carlos Bakery with our news friends from Keene.
Going to Elements church
Meeting new people
Exploring New York, helping out at the synagogue, going to the ferry, meeting cool people, falafel and knish, beach, and hip hop church.
Hanging out and making new friends
Having a good time with my youth group. Every moment was great. Everything was great!
Hip Hop church and how relaxed the schedule was.
Learning new stuff and getting to help rebuild the church. I loved being able to destroy/take things down.
Meeting everyone and making friends. Ripping out mirrors and putting walls, ceilings up.
Being able to help someone out of our religion and show God’s grace through our work.
Getting to know people better and work together. Loved connecting with Michael in the Bronx and working with our team. Loved seeing our young guys learn as they worked.
Relational ministry. Focus on service in tangible ways. Innovative and willing to be flexible. Connecting with students. Trip leaders (Jen was the best trip leader I ‘ve had in over 15 years of youth ministry)
Building new relationships with new people and helping those in need. I felt like I made a difference.
Love the excursions everyday.
Meeting and getting to know the members of our team. People that I’ve seen in church for years. People I’ve never really spoken to, I know call friends and family. Visiting the Promise land church filled my heart. So many more things I can’t list them all.
I think the project in rebuilding was a good idea. It felt rewarding to see some completion of the areas damaged. Trips in afternoon were good.
Learning about Jewish faith and seeing the Temple.
Being able to spend a week with great people and helping others, coming together for a great cause.
Being able to site see and going to Pastor Michaels church.
Coming together with keene, working with Jen and Jeff, I loved the direction and leadership. I appreciated their style of leadership. I liked not having to make the decisions.
Working at the temple was a great opportunity and challenged many with tasks that they were not able to do before. Staying at Livingston worked out great and the drive wasn’t to long each day.
The opportunity to spend time with Pastor Michael at Promise Land was an amazing way to start the week. I hope to come back and spend time with them.
Lego pieces: I dunno who did it but I saw cleaned tiny bright pieces drying on a table. Someone covered this tiny detail trying to bring pleasure to the people in the temple. My eyes are wet when I think about it.
Leaving, wanting to do more but not sure how because of finances and leaving my family. I feel like this is a calling to help others and sad that I don’t do it more.
Being “nice” all the time when I got frustrated with people and complaining. Not doing what they were asked to and just being obnoxious. I got over it
I didn’t like the van I had to ride in and I didn’t like being sweaty and hot.
Seeing the people homeless and 200% below poverty
Traffic, early mornings, giant rats, wierdos in Manhattan.
Putting screws in concrete when it wasn’t working.
Lack of sleeps and goodbyes
Suggestions for Merge:
I have no suggestions. Keep doing what you are doing.
You were all great.
Nothing, great job, very friendly, gave us all we needed and more. Would love to work with Merge again.
You do an amazing job at what you do. Just keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing you in the future.
Continue what you are doing. You guys are amazing. Thank you for the best trip.
Play games together
Staying as awesome as a leader as you are. I didn’t see anything to change.
A toaster for bagels.
Overall this was a great experience and it was encouraging to see people trying to do good in this messed up society of sad news all the time. I did thank Pastor Micheal and encouraged him to keep being the good positive role model he is. Thanks Jen for all you do. You are great and so was Riley.