This summer, I had an experience that really changed me and how I see the world. I was a part of the Cape Breton Mission trip that was organized by the Presbytery of London. A year or more of planning went into the 10-day trip that took place from July 25 to August 3. We took 29 people – youth and adults – from three different London-area churches and got on a bus to go and make a difference in Cape Breton.
The goal of the trip was to touch other people's lives, but it turns out that our own lives were changed as well. We ran a Vacation Bible School for a week at St. Giles, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We met about 20 fantastic kids from the area and played games, sung songs and learned about God with them every morning. It was astonishing how quickly we became friends with these children. We had never met, most of us had never been to their province or city, and they had never been to ours. It turns out it didn't matter at all that we didn't have much in common on the outside, the thing that we shared with these children is the most important thing, and that is our connection to God. We learned so much through and with these children.
Another group of children we spent time with were those from Camp Geddie and Camp McLeod, Presbyterian camps in Nova Scotia. We spent a day at Camp McLeod, playing with and getting to know the kids there. We were only in each other's lives for such a brief time, but it was obvious that the impact was huge. The kids were ecstatic that so many teenagers would want to play with them, and we had a lot of fun with them. We stayed at Camp Geddie for two nights, as we were entering and then leaving Nova Scotia. It was a good way to book-end our trip. Their generosity and spirit truly inspired us.
We did not spend time only with the young people of Cape Breton, either. A smaller group of us visited two nursing homes on two different mornings, to share music, skits and our time with the people living there. Tears were shed, new friends were made and many precious memories were created.
Connections were also made within our group. We truly become a community. Everyone supported and encouraged everyone else. Friendships were made and connections were shared that will hopefully last for a long time.
Finally, we made possibly the greatest connection of all: becoming closer with God. I can only speak for myself, but I am sure that every single person on the trip made some kind of spiritual journey. It is fantastic to know that there are people on the very eastern end of this country who share the same faith and beliefs as you, and that you can meet and have such an instant connection because of it.
I think I have come out of the Cape Breton mission trip a changed person, and I hope I get a chance to do something equally amazing and inspiring in the future.