The SDBC youth group has been going on the Salt Spring Island missions trip for 20 years. It has a reputation like no other. From the moment I arrived in Tsawwassen, I was constantly hearing about Salt Spring. Teens were always talking about their favourite memories from this trip, and parents were also speaking of the impact it has on their kids. What is it about this trip that makes it so special?
As I reflect back on my first trip to Salt Spring earlier this month, I think one of the most incredible parts about it is that it builds community through every aspect of the trip. During work projects, everyone is split into groups of two to five. The best part about this is that you never know who you will be with. Pulling weeds for three hours can be fun when you have your best friend with you. But when you end up on a work project with someone you barely know, it is a completely different experience. This can be scary for some people, but my favourite work projects were when I was with someone I had never met or had barely talked to. This is building community. Although there is a wide variety of personalities and interests, God can use an activity like chopping wood to bring people with completely opposite personalities together.
It is hard to pinpoint a favourite part of Salt Spring, but some of my favourite moments were during our night time teaching and worship sessions. Throughout the week we studied 2 Timothy. This book challenged us to be unashamed of our faith, to stand up against falsehood, and to follow someone and be someone to follow. Every session, I would preach through a few verses and then we would break into smaller groups to discuss what the passage was saying. There are very few moments that have encouraged me more than to see our community of teens and leaders gather to engage with the word of God and be open to what God was trying to teach us.
I think that’s what makes this trip so special. As a community, we went out to practically display our faith through work projects, but we also took time to grow spiritually. As one teen said at the end of the week, we were able to get away from the craziness of our lives for a week to live as a true gospel community; serving God and growing closer to Him, together. My first year at Salt Spring lived up to all the hype and I’m already anticipating next year’s trip.