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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Flu doesn't scare these missionaries'

caption Fifteen youth and five chaperones from Faith Lutheran Church, Seattle, spent a week at Lantern Hill, Ensenada, Mexico, where Lutheran founders Abby and J.J. Williams match the gifts of their visitors with the needs of the neighboring communities. Fears surrounding the AH1N1 virus caused all but three groups to cancel this summer, a staggering financial loss for the outreach center, which is usually booked solid. Faith’s youth—including Kiersten Krog (left), Katie Edgerton, Paul Minor, Haley Seymour, Alec Keith—came home determined to find other ways to support the mission.


Comments

Nancy

Nancy

Posted at 9:26 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/1/2009

There is not much that will stop this group of caring, commited youth!

Barbara

Barbara

Posted at 10:23 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/1/2009

 

My son was fortunate to be able to go on this trip.  One thing sets Lantern Hill apart from other retreat center volunteer opportunities:  JJ and Abby wait until they get to know their visitors before setting out the week's agenda.  This allows them to take advantage of the individual gifts each group brings.  The Faith youth helped clean a church, planted trees at a school, played with children at a day care, organized a sewing room at an abused women's shelter, shopped for and cooked lunch burritos for nearly 70 nearby villagers, and visited another newly established retreat center which focuses on providing the tools for youth to help themselves.   Two weeks earlier, a group of baseball players from Pennsylvania had helped to create a baseball field and organize the first ever Little League team.  In 2008, Pastor Mike Carlson, Good Shepherd Lutheran, Southampton, PA, called his church's ten day visit to Lantern Hill "The Best Mission Trip Ever" because of the way their individual skills were utilized. (http://www.gslconline.org/Files/carlson/Lectionary18A.htm)

              Faith's youth came back determined to find ways to help support the mission.  Late afternoon and evenings spent regrouping along the beach of the retreat center's beautiful ocean-side setting gave them plenty of time to contemplate the injustice and poverty occurring a mere 98 miles south of the U.S. border.  For more information, visit http://www.lanternonthehill.org/    It's a great mission trip for anyone.

John Wise

John Wise

Posted at 8:29 am (U.S. Eastern) 9/2/2009

Last summer I had the opportunity to spend a week at Lantern Hill when I was a chaperone for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church of Thousand Oaks' High School group. It reminded me of an email I sent right after our trip which I have pasted below.

I saw God today!

I was sitting here this morning catching up on my emails from last week, drinking my coffee and I could not get Agua Viva, Ochenta Nueve, Lantern Hill and you all off my mind.

As I said the other night, I will take so many things with me from our four day trip to Mexico (JJ and his gift of Lantern Hill, the heart of Javier and Marta, their beautiful son Junior, Ochenta Nueve, the living conditions that surround it, my time getting to know all of you, Agua Viva, the work that Jon and Arlene and others are doing there, the kids of Agua Viva - Julio will leave a lasting impression, all the work we did there, the words of Javier our last night), but not the least of which is the fact that I truly believe I saw God working through each and every one of you.

I was sharing my thoughts about our trip with my wife last night and I told her that I came away seeing this amazing similarity between Service and God. Service is just waiting for you to take action. It sits waiting for us every day, in so many faces and so many places, to take action. So many times because of our selfish nature, we ignore it, we close our eyes to it, we turn away and do the things that we think will make our lives better. But in fact, when we finally decide to come back to it, Service wraps us up with joy and hard work and love. It says welcome back. I have been waiting for you this whole time. And then, when we walk away, we understand that Service IS what actually makes our life better.

And that is so much like our God. Every day He waits for us to take His actions, not ours. He waits for us with open arms ready for us to come running to Him with our joys and our pain, with our hard work for Him and our laughter. He waits for us to say "It is time for me to change the world to make it a better place." As Rob Hill's video points out, it is God that richly provides for us, just as Service has richly provided me over the last few days.

As I was sharing this similarity with my wife last night, she says to me "John, Service is not similar to God. Service is God." And as soon as she said it, it explained so much. I thought back to Todd Egertson's comments about why painting at Ochenta Nueve was so much more fun that painting at home. God was working through each and every one of you while you painted and chopped and swept and cleaned and organized. And he will continue to work through you each and every time you decide to come running back to serve.

I was honored to be with you this week. I was proud to represent you and proud that you represented Holy Trinity.

I saw God today!!! Thank you!

Kathy

Kathy

Posted at 3:16 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/2/2009

It sounds like Lantern Hill is doing great work in an area not so very far from our own country.  I'd love to see a more in depth article on Lantern Hill in a future issue of the Lutheran

Lynn Krog

Lynn Krog

Posted at 6:56 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/2/2009

My life was forever altered (for the better!) by multiple service trips to Latin American as a teen and young adult. How thrilling for me to hear my daughter and her companions upon their return from Lantern Hill talk about how their eyes had been opened.

June

June

Posted at 7:21 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/2/2009

My daugther was one of the 3 groups that DID NOT cancel their trip this summer to Lantern Hill.  She had put together the trip with a few of her college friends after our youth group of 26 kids and adults spent a week at Lantern Hill last summer.  This decision to travel despite the risk of H1N1 was not made lightly, but through prayer and preparation, her dad and I supported the decision.  In the end, the 5 of them had a wonderful and healthy experience.

Lantern Hill is a special place for many reasons including the people in the community; Abby and JJ, the owners who are with you throughout your mission experience; the traditional Mexican food that is served at Lantern Hill; and the natural beauty of the mountains and bay.  JJ and Abby have a heart for what they do, which serves not only their Mexican neighbors, but also those of us who visit.  They teach us that we are all connected, and each of our choices touches those around the world.  They also teach us how our "fun money," you know $5 we spend here or there without thought, or $20 for a movie, can be put to use in very meaningful ways when we decide to put that money towards a much greater cause.  Little things, including money or time, can make a BIG difference when we use it to serve the Lord by serving others.  They also taught our group how to relate to each other, and understand each other at a much deeper level.  EVERYONE in our group, all 26 of us, came back from Lantern Hill a different person, many of us have a strong desire to go back again, and we also have a new passion for serving here at home.  For example, this year our group did a 24 hour famine project for our local food banks.  If we had suggested that before our Lantern Hill experience, I know the kids would not have supported the idea, but instead the kids were on board and ready to see what we could accomplish.  In the end we exceeded our goal and raised over $1,000.  I personally recommend the Lantern Hill experience for any group or family.  

Pastor Abby d'Ambruoso

Pastor Abby d'Ambruoso

Posted at 7:25 pm (U.S. Eastern) 9/9/2009

I'm so thrilled to see the spotlight on youth doing service and on Lantern Hill in particular.  These are youth from my church, and I was on this trip.  From the beginning, Abby and JJ Williams were amazing.  Our job at home was to prepare for the trip and to get there.  When we arrived, we found that Abby and JJ had built the relationships that enabled us to do the service that we did.  It was a life-changing experience for our youth.  We are planning to return in the future, and some of our 18 year old students are already planning their return on their own sometime in the next year. 

Having experienced other service trips with other organizations, I can say that this was the best I've experienced.  Lantern Hill is based on solid theology and faith.  I highly recommend service trips through Lantern Hill. 



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