When updating the Bethlehem Youth Summer Trip Calendar, we started with focusing on the youth themselves. Our ministry is all about fostering friendship and forming faith. We look to our young people to leave high school more savvy, informed, curious, equipped, strategic, engaged, active, relevant and global than they were in grade school. We hope they know and love themselves, each other, God and God’s world deeper. So that our summer trips could contribute to our ministry in a meaningful way, we knew we needed to build a program that was timely, cutting edge, partner-supported, topical, and justice-minded. We wanted our summer trips to be an extension of and supported by the work we do together all year long.
Bethlehem summer trips are such an amazing opportunity for young people to learn and grow, to come home and see themselves and their community differently. To really internalize what happens on these trips and alter our daily lives, it helps to have meaningful conversations and action before and after the trip. It helps to have a partner organization that is on the ground in the location where we will be strangers, helping us to navigate and translate the experience. We are thrilled, then, to be partnering with The Global Immersion Project (TGIP).
The work of The Global Immersion Project is to train everyday peacemakers. They believe that anyone following Christ should be about making peace today in our hurting world. One of the many ways they do this is by going to a place of conflict and sitting at the feet of the leaders who are working for peace in that place. The work for us begins when we arrive back home, to our context, and apply what we have learned in our own communities. TGIP has an exciting, accessible pre and post curriculum so that the trip is part of our ongoing work of becoming effective peacemakers right here in Minnesota.
Led by The Global Immersion Project, we will be traveling to places like the San Diego-Tijuana border to learn about immigration and Israel-Palestine to immerse ourselves in interfaith dialogue. Other urgent topics we will become literate in include water, race and wealth. With peacemaking skills and experience in these justice fields, we hope Bethlehem youth can apply their passion anywhere they see need for Jesus’ reconciling love in the world.