April 26, 2024 by

Throughout your years at Cedarville, you will be encouraged to go on a Global Outreach trip to further the kingdom of God and better understand your faith. This year I was so blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of a group of 30 students who went on a Global Outreach trip to Boston, Massachusetts, from March 1-9. 

Over these nine days, we participated in a variety of activities while learning about church planting and serving the communities of Boston. We were given a lot of these opportunities through working with GenSend and Send Relief Boston. Throughout the week we learned from speakers, pastors, students, and church members, many of whom purposefully moved to Boston to live missionally through their various vocations. 

Touring Boston 

We started out our trip with a tour of Boston, walking along the Freedom Trail, and learning about the city’s history. It was sad to see how Boston started as such a foundational city in solidifying the United States as a Christian nation in American history but has changed to what many consider a post-Christian society. 

Missional Living 

The next day, our team split up into smaller groups and attended different church plants. I went to City on a Hill (COAH) Church Forest Hills. This church did not have a building of its own, but rented a space inside of a church for its church body to meet and preach the Gospel. After the service, my group went out to lunch with a couple of members. One couple works in the city as a photographer and a middle-school counselor but use their free time to serve in the church and its various ministries. It was so encouraging to hear how the Lord moved in their hearts to draw them to Boston from Texas to serve in a church plant. 

Some of the most meaningful experiences from this spring break trip included meeting similar people who moved to Boston to live missionally. Workers like these are so needed to spread the Good News even in the United States. In Boston alone there are over five million people and only 3% are evangelical Christians. 

Our trip coordinator in Boston, Jon Chasteen, the director of GenSend Boston, helped organize our sessions at Tremont Temple Church where we heard testimonies from nurses, businesspeople, teachers, and pastors. It was very encouraging to hear how men and women are living on mission in so many different vocations, living testimonies to their salvation in so many workplaces across Boston.  

Serving the Boston Community 

During our time at Tremont Temple, we also learned about mission agencies like the Geneva Initiative and Beloved Initiative. The Geneva Initiative focuses on serving and ministering to individuals experiencing displacement and the Beloved Initiative aids women who are trapped in sex trafficking. After hearing testimonies from and learning about the Geneva and Beloved Initiatives, we partnered up with another group of students from Virginia Tech University and packed care packages with hygiene items, some clothes, and food for individuals experiencing homelessness in Boston. 

After we made the care packages, we split up into groups, with each group assigned a different line on the “T” (what the locals call the subway). My group did not have much success since we got caught in the rain, which drove most people out of the streets. It was still a blessing to get to talk with some police officers and T workers who were encouraged to see organizations like the Geneva Initiative that are actively caring for those struggling in the community.  

Anna Mark and Boston teammates at the Subway, also known as the "T".

Finally, we returned to Tremont Temple and listened to the Geneva director share heartbreakingly true stories of displaced individuals. Before he started, he gave each of us four stacks of four sticky notes. One stack represented four important people in our lives. Another stack represented four different roles we play (daughter, coworker, etc.). The third stack represented four of our most prized possessions, and the last stack represented four of our hobbies. 

While listening to the first story, we were challenged to quickly choose one of the sticky notes to remove before flipping all the sticky notes over. During the second story, we had to choose a sticky note from each category to remove. Partway through the last story, the director’s assistants walked around the room and snatched away sticky notes at random, ripping them in front of our faces, and dropping the pieces on our tables. 

In the end, some people were left with only three or four sticky notes, and others just one or two. Many of us found that our “role” sticky note did not match the remaining “family member” sticky note. For example, someone could have the “daughter” role, but the only family member left was “sister.” Or our “hobby” sticky note did not match our “prized possession” sticky note. Just like the displaced individuals in the director’s stories, the pieces we had left of our lives did not fit together. This demonstration of the challenges and heartbreak people who experience displacement face weighed heavily on my heart. I realized the extent of loss these people experience before they can even find a place like Boston to find refuge. 

Prayer Walk 

Finally, the last bit of the trip that touched my heart was going on a prayer walk through the Lower-Mills area where a couple from my church is moving this summer to start a church plant. Looking back on the week, this activity wrapped up the trip perfectly. I could not help but reflect on everything I had seen in the city as I walked through the streets of Dorchester with my two prayer partners. As I talked to police officers, landlords, and crossing guards, I was reminded of how many delicate stories were interwoven in this city. So many people migrating here, looking for opportunities to start a new life, yet 97% of these people are completely unaware of the new life that is only offered to them through salvation in Jesus Christ. 

This GO trip completely opened my eyes to the need for focused missions stateside. Christians are called to live missionally and intentionally in any workplace, not just in vocational ministries. I am so incredibly grateful for this opportunity to learn about what God is doing in Boston and to ask myself “how can I live missionally right now?” 

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