by: Jenifer Buikema
For me, SERVE was the highlight of every summer. In my life I have been on four Youth Unlimited SERVE trips; Sioux Falls, Port Perry, Brighton, and Gallatin Valley. I have also helped host two trips at my home church in Holland, Michigan. I love to travel, so hopping in the 15-passenger van with my youth group and driving to Canada or across the country was always a great start to the week! Then, when you arrive, the host team is always super excited to welcome you and invite you into their community. Being welcomed that warmly really sets you up to have a great week.
The work days, day-away, worship, and small group times are completely transformative, and they go by way too quickly. Before you know it you are on your way back home. However, you never leave a SERVE trip empty handed. The incredible changes that my faith went through on every trip left me energized and my soul on fire for the Lord.
After a SERVE trip, all you want to do is continue serving your community back home. That joy of serving has had a huge impact on my life. Having just graduated from high school, I had to make some pretty big choices about college, the work force, and future plans in general. When considering colleges I tried to find a school that would foster my passion for ministry and mission work. That is what lead me to the Bridge Street House of Prayer.
The Next Season
This fall instead of attending a college or a university I will be living on the West Side of Grand Rapids. Through the Bridge Street House of Prayer, I will serve that community in any way I can. In the winter the other students and I will travel abroad for two months and step into a life of global missions. Being a missionary has been on my heart since a young age, and my experience with SERVE over the last four years has grown that passion into a reality. I am so thankful for all the small group leaders, worksite coordinators, kitchen staff, worship teams, pastors, and other SERVE participants that have worked together for my spiritual success. In the end, Jesus’s guidance and the encouragement of others were always what set my SERVE experiences apart as high points in my life.
To learn more about Bridge Street House of Prayer click here.