More than ever this summer, it seems like many southern Lancaster County residents are either going on a mission trip to another state or foreign country or have already been to one.Although churches usually sponsor mission trips for its members, individuals also seek their own organizations who might be sponsoring a mission to a place they would like to go.
Faith Reformed Presbyterian Church in Quarryville recently sponsored two mission trips - one to Nairobi, Kenya and the other to Bay St. Louis, Miss.
Some members of the Lord's House of Prayer in Quarryville recently returned from a mission in Morroco and youth at Wesley United Methodist Church are going to a work camp in another state.
Heather Miller, 21, of Peach Bottom, is getting ready for a mission in Tewantin, Australia with Teen Missions International. The 2005 Solanco High School graduate will be spreading the gospel as well as doing light construction-type work.
Phil Besancon, also a 2005 Solanco graduate, recently returned from leading a group of seven members of his church on a mission in Kenya.
"It was a really great experience because we got to experience different cultures and to see how the Lord's working in other parts of the world," he said.
The group went to Kenya at the beginning of June and helped in a construction ministry in the slums of Nairobi, a city that has been severely depressed in recent years.
"It was a neat opportunity," said Besancon. "You go hoping to minister to people and you end up being ministered to."
The group worked with a school in the slums, an AIDS support group and shared their testimony. They also learned about a feeding program among the residents and "what spiritual battles they face."
Besancon, who works for J.L. Swope Construction, said they tore down an old house and built a new bathroom.
This was not the first time he's been on a mission trip. In February he went to Haiti with his boss and in Aug. 2006 he went to Brazil. He also went to West Virginia with his family on a mission.
Calvin VanSant is on his fourth mission out of six that Faith Church has hosted to the Gulf Coast. Right now, 17 members of the church are rehabilitating houses in Bay St. Louis that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2006.
Before Katrina hit, members of Faith Church had been doing missions in West Virginia. He said it was an "easy shift" to help the people on the Golf Coast.
"You can't stop coming back," he said.