Short Trips with Big Impact: Project Timothy formative for teen
When George Lundberg set out for his first Project Timothy mission trip, he expected to help people. He didn’t expect to get so much out of it himself.
“Missions are beneficial to both parties,” says Lundberg, who came back for three more years of Project Timothy, a “next-level” mission leadership experience for high school and college-age participants.
“PT sparked my faith, and without that I would not be where I am today.
“Before PT I was just another kid caught up in the times, with no real care for church and God,” says Lundberg, who is a part of First Reformed Church of Pompton Plains in New Jersey. “But after my first year of PT, I realized that there is a whole big world out there that needs help and needs to be seen.
“Since that first trip I have taken every opportunity to go help others, from right in my backyard to different states and countries.”
Project Timothy is a two-week mission experience: a few days of orientation with all participants, a week-long mission trip with a smaller group, and a two-day debrief with the larger group to process the experience.
“During Project Timothy you will be given practical opportunities to develop skills in leadership and ministry all within the context of serving in another culture,” says Kristin Van Kampen, the RCA’s coordinator for volunteer engagement. “The goal is that through this experience you would have a greater sense of God’s call on your life and can clearly see how you can be missionally engaged, wherever God leads you.”
For Lundberg, that call did become clear. The college sophomore is planning to attend seminary and enter the ministry.
Through Project Timothy, Lundberg served in Hollywood, California; Ochos Rios, Jamaica; Budapest, Hungary; and Guayaquil, Ecuador. He says the people he’s met along the way have changed his view of the world and contributed to his faith journey.
“I really appreciated the chance to go out and meet new people with different views who have given me new perspectives and outlooks,” he says. “From talking with homeless [people] on the streets of L.A. to sitting with Hungarian gypsies speaking through a translator, each conversation has given me great understanding of the lifestyles and life struggles of people across the globe.”
Lundberg says he gained profound knowledge from people he met at each Project Timothy site. He made a special connection with Michael, a small boy at the Prince of Peace Children’s Home in Ecuador. Lundberg still has a friendship bracelet that Michael made for him from a shoelace. “I have it in my room still as a reminder of how those with the least can give the most,” he says. “I haven’t seen him again but I pray for him often, that he will find the Lord and be strong in his faith.
“All contributed to my faith journey, but there were days and are still days when I think back to the people I saw and could not help, people who will always stand in my mind and people who I wish I could go back and help even more. The kids in the orphanage in Ecuador will always be in my mind.”
Project Timothy was, Lundberg says, “an intimate time to connect with God,” not just a mission trip to an exotic destination. “It’s not for those looking to have a vacation. The work that is required can be stressful and even painful, but for those who connect with God and Jesus through PT, it is all worth it.”
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