Have you ever gone on a mission trip? Maybe you've thought about it. These articles consider the impact mission trips have on the communities served and on the individuals doing the serving. Perhaps these stories will inspire a calling within you. If so, now is the time to make plans. God bless you in your service, whether near or far.
West Copake Reformed Church had much to celebrate in 2008. Organized in 1758 by Dutch settlers and affiliated with the oldest continuously worshiping denomination in America, this congregation began serving Christ in mission even before the founding of our nation. Last year marked 250 years of worship and mission for the church.
The congregation and its leadership chose to mark the 250th anniversary with a 10-day mission trip to Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. One of the church's members, veterinarian Julian Strauss, had worked in Haiti for five years and had ties to Christian Veterinary Mission. Two other veterinarians from the church, George Beneke and Suzannah Strauss, also participated. Together they helped train local veterinarians in Haiti.
Other mission team members worked with handicapped children in an orphanage and helped a local pastor teach children. These team members were Marilyn Herrington, David Koehler, Lynn Wheeler, Bob Burch, and Carolyn Charnin.
The congregation's anniversary celebrations also included a special dinner and a booklet tracing the church's history.
Robert Charnin is pastor at West Copake Reformed Church in Copake, New York.