A Recap of My Typical Week On Mission In Denver
Last summer, I embarked on my first mission trip to Mexico. While that was an incredible first experience, I left craving more. This summer, I traveled to Denver, Colorado for two months to explore + engage one of the loneliest cities in the country.
My first two weeks were filled mostly with orientation into what it looks like to be on mission in Denver + working with church plants here. More specifically, the pastors of the church plants spoke with + guided us, we did outside research of the neighborhoods we were living in, we engaged the people living there + did lots of prayer walking throughout the area.
For the remainder of the summer, we will be helping to lead a kids camp with Hope In Our City. It is located in the Sun Valley area with the intention + heart to reach out to refugee and low-income families. These children from various backgrounds combine with children from a partner church to learn about STEM, culinary arts, zoology, and music across the four weeks. Due to this mixed environment, the camp is not directly affiliated with any religion + should not be mistaken as a Vacation Bible School, but rather it is the vessel for the love + life of Christ to be revealed to the kids + families over time through the established, trusted relationships of the workers at the camp. Outside of our time spent here, our aim is to connect with the people of Denver, form genuine relationships with them, and share the love of Christ with them.
With that basic background + overview, here is a more outlined look at my weeks spent here on mission:
Sunday: I have been paired with four other girls to work with Dwell Church for the summer. The church meets at the local elementary school in the West Colfax area which is comprised of students that are 82% Hispanic, 11% African American, 5% Caucasian + 98% of them qualify for free/reduced-price lunch. We arrive at the church at 8am on Sunday mornings, which is about an hour train ride from where we are living. We begin by setting up everything for service (road signs, chairs, coffee station, children’s church, etc.), then we all meet together for announcements + prayer as a group before the service begins at 10am. Each of us five girls will experience the various parts of running a church each week including leading the kids ministry, the connect/welcome team, tech team, and making announcements. Then after the service, we take down + clean up what we had set up for the service.
Monday: Today is the start of our week at Hope In Our City. We begin by meeting the new weekly volunteers, get assigned jobs, have a devotional time, then set up all the materials + stations for the camp. I have been assigned the leader of the craft station for the summer which I particularly enjoy! I lead each group of kids (Pre-K, K-2nd, 3rd-5th) in crafts + activities that are aligned with the theme of the week, as mentioned above. For example, for the first week the theme was STEM, so we made magnetic slime, airplanes, and wood block robots. The camp wraps up around 12:30, then the Dwell Church girls head over to West Colfax for a weekly meeting with Josh Cook (pastor) and Josh Frase (assistant leader/coordinator) of the church. On the first + third Monday of the month, we meet at the Cook’s house for group dinner, fellowship, Bible study. This time has been really refreshing to get to know the members of the church more intimately.
Tuesday-Wednesday: These days, we continue our same routine at Hope In Our City from 7am to about 1pm. I do not have any set plans after camp these days, so it is left open for “missional living.” Personally, I am seeking to engage people in the environments that I can best find connection which include yoga classes in the park, hiking trails, farmers markets, and local cafes/restaurants.
Thursday: Today also is mostly filled with the Summer Kids Club at Hope In Our City. Then at 2pm, all members of the GenSend team meet together at another of the three church plants (Cypress Community Church) where we discuss our readings from the week (we are going through Habits of Grace by David Mathis and Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero), hear from a speaker, do a group-led devotion, and break into small groups for reflection + prayer.
Friday: Today is our last day for the week at the kids camp, then beginning at noon, is the start of our 24 hour Sabbath. This experience has been really different for me in the best way possible. For so long I have been set in the routine of my daily “quiet time” of devotion + prayer, but this daily office, as David Mathis refers to it, is not the same as a Sabbath of intentional time spent in rest as our Father God did. For some of my Sabbath days, I have gone (or plan to go) to Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Garden of the Gods, and Aurora where I spent some time back in 2017. This time for rest + relaxation + reflection has brought me in a deeper relationship with the Father as I learn more about Him (His mind, heart, voice) + His creation (the world, myself, people).
Saturday: The morning concludes our Sabbath, then the evening is left open to more missional living. The past few weeks, we have also had some church outreach events on the weekends including a cookout, movie night, and a camp out to come later in the summer.
In just a few weeks, God has already been teaching me SO much about myself, Himself, and His creation (planet, places, people). I have already seen + felt growth in many areas of my life – parts of me that I was particularly uneasy about. I am genuinely enjoying my time here in Denver + I pray that God will continue to be able to use me + teach me, both while I am here + down the road.