by Richard A. Parke, director, Cruise with a Mission, with Lake Union Herald staff

Michigan—On Sept. 15, 2013, 43 young adults from across the country joined together for a new adventure: Cruise with a Mission — Alaska!

"CWM is not your typical mission trip; it's much more," says Richard Parke, CWM director. "It combines an on-board spiritual retreat, meaningful community-building opportunities and hands-on mission projects at ports of call. Young adults who attend CWM build friendships that last a lifetime and return to their communities with a heart of service."

"Although the needs in Alaska may be more hidden,” Parke continues, “visit any city in the world, and you will find people in need.” With the beauty of God’s creative design surrounding them, 2013 cruisers were reminded that God is much bigger and more powerful than anything man can create.

Mission port stops were to include Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. Poor weather  conditions prevented stops in Sitka and Ketchikan, but the quick-thinking mission team was able to find projects in the final port of call, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Juneau missions included projects at the local Seventh-day Adventist church and school. The church, located just outside of Juneau, received a new coat of paint in its stairwell, basement hallway, two classrooms and fellowship hall. The five-student/one-teacher school gymnasium floor was shampooed, some walls received a new coat of paint, and student computers were repaired by some IT professionals who attended the trip. (When they arrived, only one of five computers functioned properly.)

Due to the schedule changes, cruisers experienced a full day of mission work in Victoria. Working with the local Seventh-day Adventist church pastor, they were able to assist Victoria’s Salvation Army store by organizing items on shelves, folding clothes and passing out fliers advertising the store. The group’s assistance saved weeks of work, possibly months, for the local volunteers.

Another group of young adults visited the local Seventh-day Adventist church and helped prepare ingredients for an upcoming chili feed for the community. The final group visited a local thrift shop and helped organize a month’s worth of donations.

Elden Ramirez, director of Volunteer Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America, also attended CWM — Alaska. He shared insights into God’s grace during the evening general session meetings. Ramirez is passionate about young adult missions and service, and connects thousands of volunteer missionaries with countless needs around the world.

Those who attended CWM – Alaska left with a sense of accomplishment, new-found appreciation and gratitude for what God has done in their lives, and a heart yearning for opportunities to serve others.

CWM is designed for young adults older than 18. They return to cruise the Caribbean, Dec. 14–21, 2014. Mission ports include Montego Bay, Jamaica, Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Costa Maya, Mexico. For booking information and to register online today, visit Cruise With a Mission.

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