Pleasant Hill UMC youth take summer mission trip across town and find hope in own community


The youth of Pleasant Hill UMC in Bessemer took a different direction with their mission site this year.

They have worked with YouthWorks ( over the past nine years and have served places like Cincinnati, Savanna, Daytona, and beyond. This year they stayed with YouthWorks, but decided to serve the city of Birmingham for good reason.

“Every year the youth do such a wonderful job serving and always wish that they could keep in touch with their mission sites,” Pleasant Hill UMC’s Pastor of Discipleship and Counseling Rev. Monica Harbarger says. “The decision to stay 20 minutes down the road may have been the toughest trip yet. Watch the news one time and you will be bombarded with fear and snap judgments about the state of our city and surrounding areas. We avoid them. We no longer go to those places that were so loved as a youth because they have been overwhelmed with violence, poverty and hopelessness. This year the youth decided to be intentional about discovering hope in these communities.”

Needless to say, the experience was nothing short of breathtaking. After showering and sleeping at Avondale UMC (who host YouthWorks every year) it’s uncertain who was impacted more: the youth or the adults.

Rev. Harbarger adds, “We all need to be reminded at times that God doesn't give up. He is doing mighty work in Ensley, Fairfield, North Birmingham and even Bessemer. Pleasant Hill UMC youth may have only traveled 20 miles physically, but spiritually their journey was the greatest yet. Thank be to God!”

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