SCOTCH PLAINS-FANWOOD, NJ -- Youth and adults from Willow Grove Presbyterian Church and St. John's Baptist Church drove to Heifer Project Farm in Rutland, Massachusetts for their annual service mission trip this summer. They participated in the Alternative Break program, which combined experiential learning programs, the Global Gateway experience, team building, and service projects.
Each day the group did chores on the working farm, including collecting eggs from chicken coops, moving goats and sheep from barns to pastures, and feeding llamas. Throughout the week the group provided over 40 hours of direct service to the farm. They moved large hogs to a new outdoor area, harvested over 300 bulbs of garlic, weeded gardens and prepared two bushels of fresh peas for meals.
One of the most interesting parts of the week was the Global Gateway. The group spent a night in the Ghana village house. The house had no running water or electricity. In order to have food to cook over a fire for dinner and breakfast, they went to a recreated marketplace to barter for food. This experience was a meaningful for adults and youth, encouraging empathy for those who struggle with poverty and hunger.
The mission of Heifer International is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth by providing animals, training and seeds. Willow Grove Church's Pastor Cynthia Cochran-Carney, one of the participants on the trip, said, "Heifer Farm is one of three learning centers run by Heifer International. The goals of the Farm include build appreciation for all the resources we have in our lives and inspire participants to want to help others. The teenagers who went on the trip deepened their sense of empathy for people who struggle with poverty, deepened their awareness of causes of hunger, and deepened their commitment to being people of compassion and action. I am inspired by these teenagers. As young people whose Christian faith is rooted in the commandment to love God and neighbor, they give me great hope."
The group raised money for the trip by working at the Willow Grove Church Tag Sale and Bake Sale. Willow Grove Church also supports the work of Heifer Project International through mission giving and special events such as the International Dinner and Concert in March.
Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is an active Christian congregation committed spiritual growth for all ages, service to neighbors near and far, and the arts. All worship services and events are open to the public. For more information, contact the church office at 908-232-5678 or check our website www.willowgrovechurch.org. The church is located at 1961 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 near the southside soccer field and firehouse off South Martine Ave.