Both Erin Smids and Jennifer DeVries wanted to involve their children in short term missions but weren’t sure how to go about it. This past July, with the help of ServiceLink, Smids and DeVries, both members of Dresden (Ontario) Christian Reformed Church, brought their daughters, Kate, 6, and Megan, 7, to Hamilton, Ontario, for a short term mission project.
They’ve served before in ministries in the Chatham-Kent area, so Smids and DeVries wanted to travel a few hours outside of their own community to expose the girls to a different city with different needs. “I felt like Kate was emotionally mature enough and she could gain from this, see a little bit more about what was out there,” said Smids.
A relative of Smids recommended that the women contact ServiceLink, a CRC program that connects volunteers with opportunities. Carol Sybenga, program manager at ServiceLink, helped them focus their ideas and found them an age-appropriate opportunity through Hamilton’s Welcome Inn. The foursome helped at a day camp for children who are underprivileged, served seniors, and sorted at the local food bank.
Sybenga was pleased with how the mission project turned out: “We always try to see what we can do to help volunteers, and this was a wonderful blessing all around.” For Smids and DeVries, the trip allowed their children to see how their actions can be a blessing to others in a concrete, tangible way.
“The girls are now more aware of their own community and local needs and have the self-confidence that they can make a difference,” said Smids. Back home, Kate read in the church bulletin that their local food bank had bare cupboards and then donated her proceeds from a lemonade stand to the food bank. Smids attributes this response to their Hamilton trip:
“I can see the difference it has made in my daughter, and I hope and pray she continues to follow in the footsteps of her heavenly Father as he continues to open doors of opportunity to her.”