Emily Bothwell

My name is Emily Bothwell, and I had the privilege of going on the mission trip to Cedine ministries in Tennessee. The camp was so incredible. The staff and leaders were genuinely some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. They devote their entire summer to serving others and spreading the gospel. Some of them even live there year-round. Even though we weren’t there for a camp but to help them out, so many leaders poured into our lives during our week there. Some of the staff has kept in touch with us, praying for us and calling us personally to see how we’re doing. They modeled how easy it is to point everything we do back to Christ. One of everyone’s favorite leader’s was Scott. Scott had been serving at the camp for a few years, and his passion for the gospel was so amazing to see. Even when he was having a bad day, he would just light up when he was talking about Jesus. Every day, he led us through devotions. While we were working, he came and checked on us.

On our last night, he asked each of us personally how he could pray for us. He showed me how a gospel-centered life is the best life to have. After the trip, I texted Scott, thanking him for pouring into our lives and showing us how a Christian life should be lived. He replied “I couldn’t take any of the credit. God gives and takes away and he just used me to impact you.” Not only did we build relationships with the staff, our team grew closer together than we had been before. Even while we were working, we were always having fun. When we were washing dishes, we threw more soap on each-other than we did on the actual dishes. When we were painting, we were constantly putting paint all over ourselves and ruining our clothes. Even when there were bugs and rats I was terrified of, the guys made sure to make the experience more traumatizing than it needed to be. But a youth mission trip wouldn’t be complete without some kind of drama. We did get into a few arguments, but when we worked through them, we were all closer together.

At the end of the trip, we were saying that we were one great big messed up family. I’m glad I went on the trip because I grew closer to the people i get to call some of my best friends, as well as growing closer to God. Ryan showed us an easy way to be in the word daily, which Erin is gonna talk more about later, and i have been using the key method he taught us since we’ve been back. Our days were long, but some of the best parts were the late night conversations we had about scripture or just whatever was going on in our lives. All our leaders were always there to listen or talk and help us through whatever we were struggling with on that particular day. Mark, Hannah and Ryan were the absolute best. Since i got to share a cabin with Hannah, I can say that she made the whole experience so much fun. One night she stayed up talking to us until one in the morning, sharing her story with us.

When it was time to leave Cedine, we were all exhausted, but nobody wanted to go. It felt like we had both just arrived but had been there for months. Going to Cedine was such a fun experience. I’m so glad I took a week out of my summer to go and help clean up the camp, be in the word, and build relationships.

Erin Crane

Hi, I’m Erin Crane.  I also went on the youth mission trip to Cedine, as you could probably tell since I’ve been standing up here…

I originally decided to go on this trip mostly just to get my volunteer hours and spend time with my friends. But now that it’s over, I can honestly say that this trip has been the most fun out of all the trips we have taken together, which is kind of surprising considering we were working the whole time instead of playing like we normally would. But like Emily said, we somehow managed to make it all fun, even when there were rats and spiders. Although “working” and throwing soap and paint on each other was fun, my personal favorite part of our trip was waking up early in the morning to do our devotions. No distractions, just me, my bible, and God.

Ryan taught us a cool way of doing devotions where I would have to find the key truth or the main meaning of the verse I chose, and then based on the meaning I would write what I repent or believe. And then I would write a prayer based on the verse or versus i chose. I liked this way of devotions because it really made me stop and think about it rather than just trying to read through it hoping my brain would turn in to some kind of super processor and just know what it all meant. It gave me the path I needed to seek the knowledge I wanted. I’ve grown up in this church and I’ve always known that I believed in God. And although I knew that my belief wasn’t just based on my parents belief, I also knew that I didn’t have all the knowledge and information on my faith. But every time I would go to read the bible I would read one line at least twenty times trying to figure out what it meant, I just didn’t get it.

I’m pretty sure I stopped at Genesis 10 where it talks about the family records of Noah’s sons. Trying to pronounce most of the names was hard, let alone trying to pay attention to how any of them were connected.  I wanted the knowledge but I wasn’t sure how I was gonna get it.  Turns out I had to go to Tennessee to learn from my youth leader, who I see every Sunday, how to do my devotions correctly.  I guess I probably could have just asked… but that would have been too easy wouldn’t it?

On this trip I got to serve God alongside a group of amazing people who you could see God’s love radiating off of, not only the people who were already in the camp but also our own leaders.  I loved hearing them talk about how God changed their lives and the difference between their lives now compared to when they were younger. And I know their patience must have been given to them by God cause we did not make it easy for them.

I realized we were pushing the limits a little and I thank Ryan, Mark, and Hannah for dealing with this crazy group of teenagers.  With all of this, I really didn’t want to leave but I can definitely say that it was worth taking a week out of my summer and I can’t wait to go on another mission trip.