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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:32 pm 
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:) Upper Columbia Conference's (UCC) Pathfinder Teen Mission Adventure (TMA) is an annual spring break mission trip. The criteria for the mission trips are:

1. No more than one days drive from UCC's office.
2. The cost stays under 100 dollars per person.

I think overseas and out-of-country mission trips are very life changing and every teen should experience them. Unfortunately, there are four major limiting factors.

1. Distant travel is expensive.
2. Time is spent traveling, which takes away from time dedicated to the project.
3. Usually a language barrier exists in foreign countries.
4. Some parents prefer that their teens not travel so far from home.

The TMA mission projects benefit our local area. There is a great need even in just a day's drive.

UCC's Pathfinder Teen Mission Adventure started as a thought of Steve Meharry's (Waiilatpu Pathfinder director) after a Maranatha mission trip. He wanted teens to have a similar experience! His idea of a local building project mission took root in UCC. Mr. Meharry's idea has grown, refined, and blossomed. Over the past 10 years the leaders of TMA have added children's story hours (VBS), witnessing, and community service projects. It's not only a physical construction project, but also a building up of the area churches and communities spiritually! The teen's work groups become close knit as the week progresses, and each night the work groups are prayer groups.

Teen Mission Adventure hasn't just found new ideas over the years, but also has grown as more teens want to experience this local mission. Last year our group totaled around 120 Pathfinders and staff! Finding a project that can keep so many busy for a week is quite a job.

Our main projects have included churches, summer camps, retreat centers, and church schools. The churches we have worked on include Hispanic, Native American, Black, and mixed congregations. Several long time Pathfinder staff that are contractors head up the building projects. But this isn't just another church building trip; we also build people for the church. We have done story hour (VBS) programs for the area kids. Community service projects for the community and surrounding areas are always a big part of the week. We witness in small ways through yard work, visiting the elderly, working at food banks, clothing shelters, and in "bigger" ways also such as passing out literature. Last year we even did a free car wash for the community at the church we were building. That sure did get the passersby's attention!

The communities we reach don't see why over 100 teen pathfinders & staff would give up their spring break, and pay to work!! This presents a big witnessing opportunity. If you would talk to each teen and staff by the end of the project, they would say it is definitely worth the sacrifice.

One main reason Mr. Meharry and the long time staff do these events isn't just for the projects. These events are for the teens that go! Each year local pastors and TMA staff and teens share and speak in very spiritual worships morning and evening. If you ever come, you will also notice that the teens love to sing for their God. The work groups are the prayer groups each evening. Each year many teens recommit in service for Jesus.

After a day of service, after supper and worship, it might seem that the teens would be exhausted. No, that is not the case! We throw out the last bit of energy into basketball, soccer, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, other group games, or just talking and getting to know each other.

Since TMA started 10 years ago in Upper Columbia Conference, the leaders have seen UCC teens grow to know each other better. There have been more interactions between the teens from different clubs and districts. After all everyone makes over 100 friends and acquaintances at each TMA, and those that are just acquaintances get to be known better at other conference events. I've been to five of these spring break missions! I can definitely vouch that service is fun and the many good friends I've made.

It is just an awesome unique event! I hope that some of you will catch the vision of these kinds of events. Please take these ideas to your local conference if you feel impressed to do so. If you have questions I'll be more than happy to answer them. :wink:

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:36 pm 
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Short overview of TMA history:

(1997) 1st TMA - Ritter Hot Springs: it used to be an old town (trading post, stage coach stop) that kind of place, owned by an Adventist Businessman in the Walla Walla area. He has allowed PF groups in the Walla Walla area to use the land for camp outs. He plans to eventually turn it into a health resort and share Adventist Health message. We also did a VBS in the nearby town of Long Creek at the SDA church.

(1998) 2nd TMA - also at Ritter Hot Springs
trees for a duck pond, cut trees, chop, and stack a years supply of firewood; At the Hayden Lake Adventist church we cleared the grounds for their building project, and did basic cleanup. The group did a Pathfinder Sabbath for the Hayden Lake Adventist Church. (About 80 teens and staff)

(1999) 3rd TMA - Walla Walla College's Rosario Beach poured foundation and installed sub-flooring for three new cabins, did massive clean up from wind storm, 5-6 Large dump trucks full of tree limbs and a couple downed trees; cleared five area field of knapweed since it's roots was reaching down into ground and disturbing drain field. (Group size 45-50)

(2000) 4th TMA - Mission, OR: It's the Indian church and there is a school there. It's where the Native American Camp meeting is held each year.
Painted church, landscaping, poured sidewalks, dug up ground under playground equipment and installed treated lumber to encompass new pea gravel and such as made it so it was safer and would pass safety inspection. (Only about 35 in attendance that year)

(2001) 5th TMA - Newport, WA: Landscaped in between church and community service building, inside of community service building, insulated and sheet rocked; outside, stained walls, installed soffit and fascia (sp.?) boards on outside and foundation insulation, began installation of tongue-groove siding on front of building. (Again a small group 30 - 35)

(2002) 6th TMA - Camp Mivoden & Hayden, ID Church, Helped the UCC's summer camp build cowboy cabins, clear brush and trees for a duck pond, cut trees, chop, and stack a years supply of firewood; At the Hayden Lake Adventist church we cleared the grounds for their building project, and did basic cleanup. The group did a Pathfinder Sabbath for the Hayden Lake Adventist Church. (About 80 teens and staff)

(2003) 7th TMA - Ellensburg/Cle Elm, WA School (http://www.gleaneronline.org/98/9/16740.html ) We had problems with building permits, but this turned to a blessing! We were able to do much community service, and do much yard work at both the church and school. A Story hour was held for area kids at the Ellensburg Adventist Church. (About 70 teens and staff)

(2004) 8th TMA
- Tshimakain Creek Camp and Inner City Spokane, WA Union Gospel Mission Food & Clothing bank: (http://www.gleaneronline.org/99/11/gleaner.pdf Go to page 38 )
The teens siding the chapel, stacked firewood, build fences, collected and burned brush, raked pine needles, and demolished two buildings. In town, kids helped the needy people of Spokane, WA by sorting clothing, stacking, storing and serving food! We were housed in very nice cabins at the camp. A pathfinder Sabbath was done for the Black majority Spokane Adventist East Central Church. It was an encouragement for their new pathfinder club. (about 70 teens and staff)

(2005) 9th TMA - Pasco Ephesus Church, The black church at Pasco, WA was our main building project. Also a story hour was held for area kids. Community service projects impacted the community. A big group of 110 pathfinders and staff came!

(2006)10th TMA - Brewster, WA Spanish Adventist Church: (http://www.gleaneronline.org/101/6/28795.html)
Upper Columbia Conference's 10th annual Pathfinder TMA 2006 brought 97 teens a total of 120 pathfinders and staff. We converged on Brewster, WA and really made a dent for God there.

Our main building project was the Brewster Adventist Spanish Church building. A grocery store, a Supermarket for the stomach, which is being converted to a super market for the soul! We started the week out with Demolition and clean up inside and out. Some of the pathfinders really got into the demo part!! The kids ended up filling 3 dumpster full of scraps and rubbish! We framed everything inside, built the stage, worked on the plumbing and baptistery, and primed and painted all the outside...yard work, etc.. (the list goes on)

But the best was the spiritual "building" we did for the church's community. Wayne Hicks (conference pathfinder director) organized the community service. Each work group took turns in community service. The pathfinders visited the elderly, witnessing through yard work, painting a house for an underprivileged family, volunteering at a church's clothing and food bank, and many more wonderful projects. All of Brewster knew we were there by the end of the week I'm sure.

We stayed at the the local Adventist Elementary school. We also did painting and yard work for the school. The work was fun and rewarding! Don't ask how much this group of 97 hard working teens ate? I'll just say that we had work groups rotating through the kitchen to help the cooks in the tremendous task!

After working hard all day, and a warm (well somewhat cold) shower, and a inspiring evening worship you would think the teens energies are spent? O no, TMA teens have energy, and love to play! Evenings are spent in basketball or volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, soccer, table games and getting to know each other.

To top the week off, we did a Pathfinder Sabbath in the church that we helped build. The teens each took part of the service. It was a wonderful experience to see the gratitude in the Spanish church members, and see the seeds we had planted and fruit of our hands. God worked something amazing that week that words and even pictures can't explain!

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:34 pm 
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I think that TMA would be an awesome thing to do! I'll be gone this year, but we'll see about next year or something like that! :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:22 am 
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The 2007 TMA was awesome. There were about 100 teens and staff this year again. It was a inspiring week.

The main project was Spokane Junior Academy, but we also had groups helping out area churches, doing community service, helping out area shelters and food banks, and doing door to door evangelism for a new church plant. The latter was my job. It was amazing; all 8 work groups went through the project for a half day. We had over 130 church program surveys completed. We gave out many children's books and happiness digests. We passed out a whole box (about 600-700) fliers for evangelistic series that started Easter weekend. It was a awesome way to jump start the church plant.

Here is a slide show that I made of UCC Pathfinder TMA 07:
http://www.slide.com/r/DOjGosGKwz_TyThpx8KYdbtO2NYwTq5O?view=original

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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2008 6:42 pm 
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Here is the video report of the UCC Teen Mission Adventure 2006. It was the 10 year anniversary of my conference's PTMA. It captures just a little bit the amazing experience it is to work with teen pathfinders for a week. The camaraderie and spiritual atmosphere that is created in the service and outreach to the community. Its a lasting difference. TPMA 06 video

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:37 pm 
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Well here is the video of Upper Columbia Conference's Teen Pathfinder Mission Adventure 2008.

This year we worked at Project Patch's (http://www.projectpatch.org) new site in Goldendale, Washington. Not only was much work done at Patch, but also outreach and community service in the area. 130 Pathfinder teens and staff made a huge impact in the community. I know if you talked to the teens that went, they would have many stories. It was a great Spiritual adventure, and also lots of good Pathfinder fellowship and fun! Pathfinder Teen Mission Adventure happens each spring break in March, when a project is chosen that is within 1 days drive of UCC's headquarters.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 8:19 am 
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Here is an article about the 2008 TPMA in the North Pacific Union Gleaner.

http://www.gleaneronline.org/103/7/35819.html

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