In 1989 the Virginia Baptist Association entered into a partnership with the Baptist of Upper New England. Churches and associational organizations in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine were invited to make requests for assistance to the churches in Virginia. Thus began our partnership with the Maine Baptist Association and the Farmington Conference Center. Over 28 years and nine tours, we have assisted with the construction of a summer conference center for the children and youth of Maine and have also assisted with the construction of Farmington Baptist Church.
During this 28 year span, youth have grown up, married, and now their children will be going to Maine this summer. When I was considering a project for the coming summer, I asked some of the youth what project would appeal to them so much that they would come to church and youth group during the year. Returning to Maine was their overwhelming response. They had heard about the trips from their parents and other adults in our church and they wanted to experience it for themselves. I must admit that over the years I have used experiences from Maine as an example of how our proper use of talents and gifts can change both the recipient and provider of the gift. I also believe that such experiences can change a person both mentally and spiritually.
To date, 46 youth and adults have signed up for the tour. The team will be going to Maine during the period of August 2-14, 2017. As usual, we will be staying on the University of Maine campus, where we will be housed and where we will have our meals. As usual, we will work each day at the conference center and church, providing necessary maintenance and repair. Our goal is to give the equivalent of one year of labor in five days. As usual, we will worship together, pray together and enjoy becoming a team. As usual, the long-term impact of the trip will not be known for some time. Relationships between adults and youth take time. Self-awareness of one’s gifts takes time. This I know, lives will be changed both here and in Maine and in the future, all team members will recognize the tour as a “thin place” where God felt closer to them.
Please add the team to your prayer list as they prepare themselves for the task.