Central students from both Whirlwind (Middle School) and Storm (High School) participated in mission trips this summer. Matt Action, Director of Student Ministries, and other adult volunteers were on the trips. Friends, families and Central financially supported the students. Here are some student reflections from the On The Edge (OTE) trip to Ligonier, PA this summer.
The best word to describe OTE this year was bittersweet. I had an amazing time this week, but it was all shadowed by the fact that this was my last OTE and time with these people. I had a lot of really happy times playing games with people, people singing my happy birthday, and watching everybody around me growing in themselves. The biggest thing this week reminded me of is how amazing this community has been for me and how much I want to continue to find Christian community as I continue my journey.
OTE isn’t just about friendship. It isn’t just about serving. Yes, it is about those things, but it’s also about faith. Faith. Take a second to think about the word faith. What does it mean to you? Does it play an important role in your life? For me, OTE this year played a turning point in my faith. Before this point, I never had much faith. I mean, I still went to church and prayed and all, but I never felt a strong enough connection to God to trust him much, which is what faith is about. But as soon as I began the 5-day journey, I immediately felt more connected to God. So day by day, I began growing in my faith. And now, arriving back from OTE, I want to continue to trust God and my connection with him. I try to ask for guidance in the morning and I try to ask for forgiveness in the evening. Another thing I try to do is in the morning, I ask myself the question, “How will I serve God today?” And in the evening, before bed, I ask myself, “How did I serve God today? Did I do everything I wanted to do?” Like I’ve said, OTE has drastically changed my faith, and it can change your faith as well. All you need to do is talk to someone - it’s that simple. Our Father’s arms are open wide, and he is more than ready for you to walk to Him. It will be worth it.
The bonds that are built and faith that is formed at OTE have been essential for me as a young person and Christian. Sharing living spaces, eating meals together, serving others and enjoying fun activities together shaped my experience at OTE into a life-changing one. The people make up a community of supportive, friendly students and inspiring adult leaders that allows us to uniquely connect with each other while learning about God. I look forward to OTE all summer and I hope every teenager gets to experience the blessing of a community like this one.
OTE is the most awesome, meaningful, and special trip I have ever been on. This was my 3rd OTE and I loved each and every trip. From the van ride there, to white water rafting, to worksites, to the van ride home; every second is memorable. As a rising junior I did not expect to be in a room with rising 7th and 8th grade girls. I certainly did not expect to enjoy that room as much as I really did. There is no perfect way to describe how hard I laughed and how much joy I felt on a trip with such an inspirational, hysterical, and connected community. What I’ve learned during these trips is that a little faith can go a long way. I grew to have faith in each step of OTE and I had the most fun and made some of the best memories ever. I could feel God working in us and through us during down time, breakfast, worksites, and especially writing notes to each other. I believe the small interactions to the biggest activities are God sightings because we go on this trip to serve Him by serving communities, but we also serve each other. I cannot imagine a more amazing and supportive crew than the one I have here at Central. I am so blessed to have gone on these trips even though the week is tiring. I owe all this fun to our outstanding adult leaders and the camp who make the week possible and my high school leaders and middle schoolers who always made sure I knew I belonged there. And, well, if you weren’t sure if this was such a great trip, I hope you are convinced now! I can’t wait until next year.