The annual VOC trip over the years has become home to us. My participation started in 1988. I have only missed a couple years since then, so this year was somewhere around 25+ trips for me. One of the years I missed over Y2K, I was surprised how homesick I was for VOC as the New Year approached.
The benefit of a road trip to build the teams unity is great with the casual conversation and interaction as we prepare for our week of service. The quantity of time is important in our travel, work sites and communal style living to really know each other by the end of the week. Interaction over morning devotions, “Eyes on the Prize” PBS series or other civil rights type learning in the evening and staff testimonies at lunch/evenings always builds our faith and conviction on service towards racial and spiritual reconciliation. The fellowship over the Mississippi cuisine throughout the week doesn’t hurt either and is an excellent time of refreshment as we catch up with friends.
The approach of Christian Community Development that allows the practical acts of service to come alongside the Gospel message is a fit that appeals to us. The friendships that develop with current and former staff, churches, and other volunteer ministries have become mutually beneficial and reciprocal over the years and during times of personal struggles have been an excellent time to see the Body of Christ come around one another in support.
My daughter Lauren, now 15, and on her 5th or 6th trip remembers building relationships with the staff and others as a prominent benefit. The chance to worship in a different way than she is used to the rest of the year is a big highlight. She is also thankful for the chance to give back to the community in service and see the gradual improvement in West Jackson. It’s also a great time to reflect on true needs and wants in life and to hear people express what is truly important in their walk with their Savior.
Paul, Lauren and Brian Felleson
January 18, 2016