I’m really excited about this opportunity. That’s why I’m sharing this with you. It’s fun to share things you’re excited about.
Over three years ago, I joined the staff of Northwood Church in Maple Grove as youth pastor. I’ve had a front-row seat for watching teenagers learn what it means to follow God. It’s truly amazing. Each month brings new stories of young adults who are caring for one another, feeding the hungry, sharing hope with friends, and many other great things. I was excited when I started at Northwood, but had no idea how passionate I would become about helping teens know that God loves them.
That’s what makes this trip to Africa so exciting. It is an opportunity to help train and support caring adults who work with refugee students near Nairobi, Kenya. For the first two weeks of January, I will be traveling with a team from Northwood Church. Unlike previous trips to Mexico City and the Red Lake Indian Reservation, this is not a student trip. It is, however, a trip that will use my gifts and passion for youth ministry.
The first week will be spent running a retreat for Christian refugees. Many of these Christians live in areas hostile toward their belief in Jesus Christ. We will be providing a safe and encouraging environment for them to rest and grow in their relationship with God. It is a beautiful opportunity to serve Christians who sacrifice so much for their faith.
The second week will be spent working side by side with adults who work with teenage refugees. I am thrilled and humbled to be invited to offer training and encouragement to selfless adults who are in the trenches of youth ministry.
We will be working with the organization International Teams, a refugee-aid organization that has worked with Northwood Church on previous Africa trips, as well as trips to Costa Rica, and inner-city trips in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis has one of the largest Somali refugee populations in the United States. The exciting reality is that our work in Kenya will have a direct connection to Minnesota. Our goal is to help refugees from both sides of the globe, working in refugee camps in Kenya, and providing assistance when they arrive in the Twin Cities.
Speaking of love and support, I want to thank you for yours. I know that much of the success we’ve seen with the students of Northwood are a direct result of your prayers and support. I need that same support for this trip.
More than anything, I need your prayers during our preparation for the journey and, of course, during the trip itself. Here are some specific things you could pray for (go ahead, pray right now, I dare you!):
- Pray that God will be preparing the team (six people) for what He has planned for us in Kenya, and that all financial needs would be met.
- Pray for wisdom in how to best serve and encourage Christian refugees during the retreat, and the youth leaders we will be working with.
- Pray for the safety of the team as we travel and work in Africa, and for Katie as I am away for such a long time.
In addition to your prayers, I am seeking financial support. The trip costs nearly $3,000 per person. This is not an insignificant amount, but I am certain God will provide all we need. If you choose to give, your tax-deductible donation will be used entirely for trip expenses.
Donations can be made by sending a check payable to Northwood Church (address below). Because many of you are tech-savvy (and because I’m a geek), you can also make donations online right here by using the “Donate” button in the righthand sidebar.
I will post updates and info here at luketrouten.com as the trip draws closer, and a recap as we return. You will also be able to follow us on the Kenya Team blog.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, and to pray for this trip. I am excited and nervous for this trip as it will present new challenges and lead me out of my comfort zone. I’ve found that discomfort is often the best place to meet God, and I feel he is using this trip to grow and shape me in new ways.
In His Hands,
Update: Checks can be made payable to Northwood Church and sent to 16100 105th Ave. N., Maple Grove, MN 55369