USA (MNN) — Thanksgiving Day is
coming up in the United States.
Every family has its own
traditions surrounding the holiday, but Judy VanderArk, co-founder of MOSES
Inc., is trying to help families come up
with new family traditions.
Traditionally, it's been set
aside as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the
preceding year. But what if the new
family tradition focused on the giving part…specifically, a mission
VanderArk first explains who they
are: "MOSES stands for Making OurSelves Equipped Servants, and we've been
existence for 26 years. Our main focus has been to take teens and adults on
short-term mission experiences." MOSES
teams work throughout the United States, in Baja, Mexico, and Toronto, Canada.
Through these experiences, "not only equip ourselves as we learn better how to serve our
Lord, we like to equip the people that we serve," she explains, noting that through their time investment in Mexico,
for example, "we have equipped many church leaders down there…to do
In Toronto, MOSES Inc. has developed
a close friendship with the All Nations
Christian Fellowship Church. This year's
trip kind of morphed to fit some new
needs. Originally a teen trip, participation fell off to the point where last
year's trip was cancelled. This year's
trip was also at risk until the MOSES leadership team came up with a new plan:
at the holiday, involve the whole family.
VanderArk notes that "there are families with kids who are not yet
into high school, maybe not quite teenagers, but they're eager to serve, and there
are families who want to serve together." The idea of a family trip took off. "We're asking if there are any other families
out there who are still interested in a trip like that. We'll take two vans, if
we can. There are lots of things to do in Toronto."
Some families might be looking
for an others-centered focus for Thanksgiving rather than overeating, watching football, and
shopping. Others might be looking for a tradition
that keeps them close and helps grow their faith. This trip does both. "We always go Thanksgiving weekend, which
might be a deterrent for some people. But if they don't have to go to Grandma's
house or something, and the whole family wants to get involved, we leave on Wednesday
afternoon, November 27, and we will arrive back on Sunday, December 1," she
Their teams will serve at a variety of ministries, including
missions and homeless shelters, Salvation Army, help with a Kid's Church on
Saturday, and participate in a big ethnic dinner at the All Nations Christian
Fellowship Church Saturday night.
The cost? More reasonable than most short-term trips. It's
$100 per adult or teen (14 and older) registration, and $50 per younger child. For
that amount, MOSES Inc. provides the
transportation, leadership, work sites, accommodations, and meals. You provide the willing hands. Scholarship
assistance is available if money is an issue. Each participant will need proper credentials for border crossing.
Teams are forming now for the
Thanksgiving trip. Click here for