What Happens When United Methodist Youth Collide with Communities?

Date Posted: 6/13/2011

Lives are changed and God is glorified!


Nearly 500 youth representing every region of the Texas Annual Conference recently lived out the true definition of the word collide: to come together with solid impact. These youth united for the 2nd annual COLLIDE event and impacted communities of the homeless in Downtown Houston, the hungry in Mexico and other community residents in need of a helping hand.


The first order of business was fun-in-the-sun. COLLIDE kicked off at Splashtown, where the teens also worshiped and heard a message from Rev. Diane McGehee, director of the Center for Missional Excellence. Then, on Sunday morning, the youth were dispatched to 21 community service projects – ranging from cleaning area parks to beautifying the yards of elderly homeowners. All of which proved to be ways to worship with their minds, bodies and souls. Learning about the dire situations of others was a call to action (or call to COLLIDE)

for Alyssa, a youth from First UMC Humble. “I learned what you need for a flood bucket.


People have lost everything – dishwashing soap, they can’t dry their clothes…I think we can do more than just sit around and watch it.” Another participant, 17- year-old Chandler from Jasper, spent the day bagging rice and beans. The future engineer – whose favorite food is the Burger King double stacker – said having to eat rice and beans daily would be “indescribable,” and he added: “I see how I need to be grateful.” Gratitude and a servant’s

spirit was the undercurrent of the day, as the youth forfeited their Memorial Day weekend

to “remember their baptism and be faithful” by serving others. Kendall, a 12-year-old Bellville UMC youth, said: “I felt like it would be fun. Plus hard work always makes me feel good.”


Also on the Bellville mission team was Zachary, 14, who usually spends weekends with his

baseball team. He hopes to work in construction some day, and thought it was “funny how God worked,” since his COLLIDE assignment was light construction on a home in need of repairs. Countless numbers of the COLLIDE volunteers  said they’d do it again – not only

because they’re helping others, but because service helps their relationship with God.

“This is a symbol for me,” said 16-year-old Zackery of Jasper. “There are people who have

lost everything, people who have nothing. But, even if you’ve lost everything, you still have

your relationship with God…We are the answer to people’s prayers. People are praying

for food, and I’m working hard to seal the bags and make sure they’re tight, so people can have a meal and keep their faith in God.”


The rice and beans were transported to Mexico by Willie Berman, a General Board of Global Ministries missionary, who said the need there is great. “The violence in Mexico and media coverage of it has created a lot of fear, and many mission teams are not coming to Mexico,” Berman said. That was yet another theme of the day. COLLIDE youth went – mind, body, and spirit – where few people go. They went to be with the homeless. They went to care for the widows and orphans. They went to be ambassadors of God’s love.


To find out what’s new and next in Youth and Young Adult Ministries, contact Rev. Dan

Conway at dconway@txcumc.org or on Facebook.