Rogue Valley Students and the City by the Bay
“And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matt. 25:40). Students and three staff from Rogue Valley Adventist Academy in Medford, Ore., responded March 23–28 to this call for service from Jesus. Their destination: the inner cities of San Francisco, Oakland and Richmond, Calif. The Center for Student Missions was the group’s gracious host, having worked with numerous Adventist groups over several years of operations in more than 10 cities throughout the United States.
The students rotated among six ministry sites for the week, among them the Bay Area Rescue Mission’s after-school program and St. Vincent’s Day Home for underprivileged children. At the Rescue Mission they met children living in gang-inundated neighborhoods and heard their heart-wrenching stories of losing one child per year to gang violence. Playing games together with these kids and helping them with homework were among the highlights of their week of service. Throw in their work at the massive Bay Area food bank and sorting clothes for the Salvation Army thrift store, and these students can attest there were plenty of things to do to keep them busy with the King’s work.
Even more memorable than the service sites were the designated interaction times with poverty-stricken people throughout the Bay Area. The group was given time for sharing a lunch with various homeless folks, meeting their needs through simple purchases and taking time to ask about their stories in order to know who they are.
One of the students who attended, Trenton Borchardy, states, “I really liked the San Francisco area, and I enjoyed helping the homeless people.” Hannah Wood really enjoyed her first mission trip but agreed with Michael Brackett, Medford Church pastor, that the ice cream from a small shop called Cream had the best treats.
Though the Golden Gate Bridge and the other incredible sights in the cities were spectacular, each student would attest that the best part of the trip was indeed getting to know those Jesus asked us to serve. Those that many in the world would consider to be the least turned out to be, in these students’ minds, the greatest.