PEM Mission Trip
5/25/2019 - 6/4/2019
Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.
This is PEM’s third year going down to Clarkston, GA, laboring alongside City Hope Community to witness and to serve the immigrants – especially their children – through VBS, skits, and fellowship. Clarkston is the largest immigration center in the United States, so you will find a wide range of cultures and people’s group there.
In our first two years because of our smaller size, we were given a smaller group composed mostly of Middle Eastern immigrants. This year, we were able to break up into two sites and accommodate a larger group as well as more cultures.
This year, we decided to split the focus of our two mission trips and make Georgia our college-focused team. Because of this, Pastor Danny Hahn led the team and we were able to recruit 3 young adults to help him with the driving and logistics: Kristin Song (Outreach Leader), Joshua Yoo, and Victor Lee.
For I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed Me.
Because our group was over double the size of the previous years (21 members going), this presented a challenge for us in terms of training. It was difficult to get everyone all at once throughout the year, so we tried to do weekly meetups and share our testimonies.
We also had the challenge of splitting our group into two. This meant that we would have about 50 children per site and around 100 total kids. This was the largest group we’ve ever hosted. Because we had a few people go to Georgia more than once, they were able to lead the newcomers in our group through each station, set expectations, and lead the dances and mini sessions. Getting the energy from our members was never an issue, but just dealing with unity with 21 people.
Pastor Danny took one of the groups while Kristin Song led the other group. Because this was the first mission team Pastor Danny led, the leadership decided to send Kristin as his backup support. At the end, it turned out well as many of our members were blessed.
City Hope Community also couldn’t host all of us at once, so we rented an Airbnb and setup cooking and cleaning crews for each day. We found that the simple act of cooking for one another gave us more opportunities to love on each other and hold important conversations in the back. In the past with smaller groups, cooking was a strain on team dynamics, but with a larger group it certainly made it more manageable.
The only drawback of sending a larger team was cost as airplane tickets and Airbnb prices skyrocket above 10 people. At the end, this was a sacrifice the team wanted to make, even if that meant increasing dues to go next year.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
In Clarkston, Georgia
This was the third time PEM went down to Georgia, and we found that we had much less oversight from the leaders of City Hope than in previous years. This could be because they trusted us more and that we were more experienced. Our schedules were similar from last year:
Meal prep – We were responsible for our breakfasts and dinners, while City Hope provided lunches for the children. This was always a time of follow up and catching up on either the previous day or the current day’s activities. It helped bond our team. In our first trip to Georgia, another church and ours alternated meals which made it difficult in terms of refrigerator storage. However, with our own Airbnb, we had no limits on our meals.
Morning Ministry – After breakfast, we have morning ministry which consists of picking up children from their locations and doing some activity with them. There’s no set program or location we go to each day, so every morning looks different. Usually, we go to a park and spend quality one on one time with the children. This is more of an open time in which we let the Spirit lead in our interactions with each child. We are also able to tell each face to come to our VBS program and to invite family and friends over.
Children’s Program (VBS) – This is the main thrust of our ministry. We use the same VBS program as our church uses. This year, it was Roar from Group Publishing. Because the majority of our children are not from a Christian background but Islam, we have to be careful how we promote the program. We have found that if we use too many songs that have the word “Jesus” in it, the kids will not participate, or if our Bible themes say “Jesus” instead of “God,” many parents won’t send their kids. As usual, we had to modify our VBS program so that the themes didn’t say “Jesus” but still had a strong Gospel message. We also only have 4 days with the children whereas VBS programs usually last 5 days. This year, our themes were: “God made you,” “God is always with you,” “God will always love you,” and “God made you for a reason.” We have four stations running: Bible, games, crafts, and snacks. There is also an opening and closing worship set that the children always enjoy. Our program runs from 10 am to 2 pm.
Training from City Hope – In the past, we used to have training from a staff member from City Hope every evening, but because this was our third time going, we only had training on two of the days. Ms Lori Kim, the director of City Hope, gave her testimony which is always a powerful time for the people listening. We also had Ms Jessie Kim give a lesson on Islam and how to effectively evangelize to Muslim people. One thing that always leaves an impact is how important children’s ministry is in getting the Gospel through before they are too locked into Islam. And when the children do give their lives to Christ, how scary it is for them that any profession of Christian faith will lead to them being kicked out of their homes.
Sunday Ministry – For the first time, we were able to lead both the youth and children services on Sunday. Before, only Pastor Don gave sermons to the youth but because our group was so large, we were able to lead both groups. Of course, the impact with the children’s ministry side was stronger since we were able to spend more time with them, but nonetheless, we find it our honor to be able to preach God’s holy word to City Hope.
Pastor Danny Hahn, Kristin Song, Victor Lee, Joshua Yoo, Grace Kim, Kaitlyn Lee, Heymin Jeong,
Grace Chang, Irene Chung, Bella Won, Taesung Park, Jong Chan Lee, Audrey Ko, Anna Mui,
Phoebe Chong, Sarah Lee, Nikkie Kim, Kahner Kim, J udy Lam, Jeremy Jong