The Bright Bridge Mission Trip Experience

Cokesbury Youth Mission Week at Bright Bridge

July 19-23, over 20 students and their adult volunteers from Cokesbury UMC participated in a mission week at Bright Bridge Ministries. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the youth group chose to serve locally instead of working with their mission partners in Costa Rica or in rural Alabama. Bright Bridge provided the opportunity for them to be the hands and feet of Christ in their own backyard as they worked throughout the week to prepare and serve meals, clean, paint, pressure wash, and complete a number of odd jobs. Cokesbury UMC’s Director of Student and College Ministries, Dawn Faller said, “As our group prepared to come work at Bright Bridge we leaned heavily into Isaiah 6:8, “Here am I, send me.”

Benefits of the In-Town Mission Experience

We are called to be the church wherever there is need. Local missions do not cancel out the need for global missions, but they are often overlooked by youth groups seeking adventure or destination getaways. Cokesbury UMC’s in-town experience cut down on costs of their typical mission trip, enabled youth and adults with scheduling conflicts to participate, and gave the group an experience that would forever change their perspective on their own hometown. “It was very eye-opening to see all the needs in our community. In the past we’ve gone to other places. It’s good to see people of all different backgrounds coming together to help in this place,” said a Cokesbury youth. Other than driving through, many youth had never visited the Brownsville neighborhood. This experience allowed them to meet new people and see the needs within their community that they had never known.

This opportunity allowed the Cokesbury United Methodist Men and Cokesbury youth group the chance to partner for a mission week. Randy Harber said it was his first time to work with the youth. Haber said, “I came in thinking that I’d be a leader for the youth and by Friday the youth were leading me. I was so impressed by these young people.” One youth had a doctor’s appointment at the end of the week and was planning to miss the entire day. After a few day’s work, he decided that it was a day he didn’t want to miss, so found a way to get to Bright Bridge immediately following his appointment.

Serve and GROW!

Every day, the youth gathered during the lunch hour to nourish their body and souls. After finishing their packed lunches, the group circled for a youth-led devotional as they shared scripture, stories, and prayer with one another. Youth and adults reflected on their faith journey and how they felt led to continue their work with Bright Bridge Ministries.“Before we came here I thought I was going to have a hard time following the rule of staying off my phone. Now I don’t even want to be on my phone and I don’t even want to leave this place. I want to come back!” – Brianna N., Cokesbury youth⠀“We weren’t sure why God chose us to come there but we were ready! Little did we know, Bright Bridge would bless us more than we ever anticipated. We will be back!” – Dawn Faller, Director of Student and College Ministries at Cokesbury UMC

"I am so very proud of our students! And grateful to Bright Bridge for this life-changing invitation. Our young people are the best God has sent into this world. They continue to set the example and lead the way as the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus Christ."

- Rev. Sheila Bates, Lead Pastor at Cokesbury UMC Tweet

A Special THANK YOU!

Bright Bridge Ministries extends a special “thank you” to our partners in Christ at Cokesbury UMC. In 2007, Cokesbury UMC was one of our founding churches to begin Pensacola United Methodist Community Ministries. In addition to volunteers, the partnership has included financial giving from Cokesbury UMW, Cokesbury UMM, various Sunday School classes and from the church at large.

Contact us to find out how your congregation can join us in our work!

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