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Nine Days That Changed My Life

posted on December 05, 2011, under Member by

by Mason Sumner

"As I looked over the desolation, I couldn't even think of where to begin helping." ---Mason Sumner (Photo: John Sumner)

My name is Mason Sumner. I am 15 years old and live in Nobleton, Florida, with my dad, mom, and twin baby sisters. We were baptized into the Adventist Church in 2006.

My family and I are currently members at an elderly church in Inverness; however, we are searching for a church with younger people. With a youth group, we could help change lives by showing God’s love. Until that happens, I am going to keep doing all I can to positively impact lives, just as mine was forever changed in nine short days during the month of June, 2011.

Mason Sumner. (Photo: John Sumner)

You may recall the headlines in the spring of 2011 when disaster struck Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with no mercy. The after effects were devastating. Tornadoes destroyed everything, not caring if you were rich or poor, big or small. They came with one purpose; to completely desolate.

Out of that destruction, God put together a plan that sent me on my first humanitarian mission trip with my dad through our family’s 5 Loaves 2 Fish Ministries. I have grown up with a commercial contractor dad who, on the side, loves to give—whether it’s helping a neighbor put on a new roof or an elderly woman paint her weathered home.

When I saw the path of destruction the Alabama tornadoes left behind, it was hard to comprehend. Those people were left with only fragments of their home, scattered county wide. As I looked over the desolation, I couldn’t even think of where to begin helping.

This tent in a campground served as Mason's living quarters during her volunteer time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo: John Sumner)

During the next nine days, my dad and I worked hard in many different places for multiple organizations while staying in individual tents at a campground. It was eye opening. God showed me how blessed I am and how fortunate my family is. Our mission trip wasn’t to deliberately preach God’s word, but to show Christ’s love through our actions. We went in the name of God to be servants of the Lord for others. Wherever we picked up a branch or pieced a home back together, footprints of God’s love were left behind. As a result of this mission endeavor, I developed a stronger love for helping people in their time of need.

One memory that stands out above all the rest is the day I was volunteering for Salvation Army. A women and her son came for help to get back on their feet after they lost everything. Their home was no more, and their belongings could not be located. The fear and pain I saw in their eyes was heartbreaking. I couldn’t help but ask her, “How do you recover from this?” She replied, “God has a plan; He will provide.” Hearing that response from a person who just lost everything was such a powerful witness of faith—that there is still hope on this earth.

The enormous impact that one person can have on another is incredible. Just imagine that impact if we all came together and worked as one, united in the Body of Christ. It took a disaster for me to realize that, so it is my job to spread God’s love to other people of all ages now, before another disaster strikes.

I think we all see that some churches are failing to embrace their youth. As an effect, the youth are leaving the church to find unhealthy places where they feel truly welcomed. The whole church—not just a few pastors or youth group leaders—needs to embrace each other so, when disaster strikes, we can all help change lives by showing God’s love.

Disasters do not care if you are young or old, and neither should we. We are all God’s children.


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