The week of July 23–29, more than 900 Bellevue volunteers of all ages made their way to the mission field. The “mission field” is often associated with crossing the ocean to serve in a foreign country, but this term has a different meaning during Mission Memphis, a week-long mission trip to our city.
For the volunteers of Mission Memphis and the people they served, it was no ordinary week. For the foster parents who could finally have a date night, the child who received a backpack full of brand new school supplies, the nursing home resident who was delighted by the sweet voices of the Student Choir, and the young man who received his first Bible, it was no ordinary week. And that is just a snippet of the many people who were served, just a glimpse into the extraordinary week of Mission Memphis.
“We often view mission trips as sharing the Gospel in less privileged countries,” said Bellevue volunteer Richard Woodruff. “However, our city is also in need of the Gospel. Mission Memphis changes how we view the Great Commission.”
For this week, our city was where we fulfilled the Great Commission, from downtown at Memphis Union Mission to Dexter Elementary, just five minutes down the road from Bellevue.
At Dexter sports camp and VBS, kids roamed the halls and ran around the gym. Even though school was not in session, kids were still learning. They took in simple biblical truths, some for the first time. Volunteer Kim Grantland said the location and nature of this project presented a unique opportunity to reach not only kids but also their entire families.
“We really need to reach out as close as we can. This is a perfect opportunity to reach out to these families that could attend our church. A lot of times we’re going to different countries, but here we can invite them to our church,” she said.
A number of projects happened right in our church, including the School Supplies Giveaway. This was a huge project that had a lot of moving parts: donating backpacks, sorting supplies, and finally, putting the backpacks into children’s hands. More than 300 students received backpacks, and 150 families were served, all while they heard the Gospel. This project meets both physical and spiritual needs, but the outreach extends beyond just this one day.
“While the School Supplies Giveaway meets a very practical need for many families, our hope is that there would be lasting connections between volunteers and participants that would lead to discipleship relationships,” Local Missions Director Taylor Williams said.
People were loved and seen, the Gospel was taken all throughout Memphis, and hope was given. Last week painted a beautiful picture of what being the hands and feet of Jesus looks like in real life. But the work is not over. Our mission continues.
“My prayer for all of us is not that we just come and do a project at Mission Memphis. It’s that God would burden our hearts, introduce us to a ministry where we can plug in on a regular basis, and be His hands and feet for the children, families, and vulnerable in our city,” volunteer Jessica Pyburn said.
Mission Memphis happens once a year, but we believe that being the hands and feet of Jesus is something we are all called to do daily and something we can do any ordinary week.
If you would like to serve locally, you can learn more about our local missions efforts at bellevue.org/pathways.