The 2016 Maranatha Buffalo missions trip was a hard example of a city in poverty and also a very humbling experience. On this trip the team had the opportunity and privilege to serve the people in the community in many ways, from creating beds for a vegetable garden and constructing a mural to running the community barbeque at the Buffalo Vineyard Church. We were able to hear from many speakers from the church and also immigrants who told us of God’s provision, which we were able to experience firsthand during the week. I am very privileged to have been a part of this amazing trip and to have helped the people of this broken city in the ways that I did. It has been a true blessing to witness the hand of God in the people of the city of Buffalo and my fellow teammates and I are counting down the days until next year’s trip.
—David Capaldo, 11th grade
This was my second year on the Maranatha team’s mission trip to Buffalo, NY, and each year has been a new and incredible experience for me. While we were there, our team of fifteen spent a lot of time working with urban farms that have been set up in food desert regions of the city, in order to provide produce for those living in the area. We also worked with Jericho Road, a ministry dedicated to helping refugees access medical care, translators, and other essentials that may be difficult to find in a new country. Learning about these ministries has reminded me of the needs that reside in cities such as Buffalo and brought me to wonder what needs lie here in Philadelphia. Working there has shown me how much even a small team can accomplish with strength from God and given me assurance that even the young and inexperienced can, with God-given grace, make a positive, lasting impact on a city.
—Julia Petrongolo, 10th grade
Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Matthew 6:25
It’s always amazing to see how God works in your life on these trips. For me, the Buffalo trip exposed a lot of God’s glory and grace. It’s amazing to see not only how the Lord works in your life, but how he works in the lives of others. It was humbling getting to help work on urban farms that provides healthy and affordable produce to an area of the West (and East) Side of Buffalo that is considered to be a “food desert.” It was an exercise of God’s grace through weeding, removing heavy rocks and concrete foundation from garden beds, and shoveling/wheel-barrowing compost and manure to help build said garden beds. The biggest thing that the Lord showed me up in Buffalo was that he has a plan for everyone. Whether it’s you, me, a refugee being resettled in the West Side of Buffalo, or one of the many amazing people helping the communities in Buffalo by doing God’s work, he has a plan for everyone. And that plan is perfect. While I know and understand that God’s plan for me is perfect in every way, I still like to control how his plan goes about. But it was through work done in Buffalo that God reminded me not to be anxious about his plan.
—Brian McCollum, Maranatha Leader
The Northeast Missions Trip is a two week long Bible camp. At the camp we teach elementary and middle school aged kids about the Bible, do arts, crafts, games and science activities. My job on the trip was leading one of the classes. One thing I learned on the trip was patience. Whether it was a bothersome team member, uncooperative kids, or just being tired, lessons in patience came all along the way. On one such occasion we had moved a ton of supplies for the end of camp barbeque outside only to have to haul it back in due to rain. A couple of the kids even accepted Christ which was really encouraging. Over all the Lord blessed my time on the trip and I really enjoyed the experience.
—Andrew Duggan, 10th grade