In 2006, La Crescenta Presbyterian Church has made a quantum leap in its involvement in mission projects.
"Approximately 31 percent of the funds raised for our church in 2006 went directly to missions this year," said Pastor Andy Wilson. "In addition to our budget-appropriated missions, our members and friends have added $86,600 in off-budget mission support for a grand total of $188,000 in givings this year." That represents a 30 percent increase from 2005 and a 66 percent increase from 2001.
La Crescenta Presbyterian sponsors mission trips to the Dominican Republic each year, where high school students and adults work side by side in the construction of new church buildings in a barrio called Kilometer 6 in La Romana. The team also includes medical professionals who offer remedial health clinics for Haitians and Dominicans working in the sugar cane industry.
"It is a wonderful experience for the students to see how the Gospel has no barriers geographically or culturally when we worship side by side with our sister Dominican congregation, the Haitian Missionary Baptist Church," said Wilson. The participants pay all of their own expenses, including travel and meals. Financial aid is available to any students in need. Additionally, the church raises the money for the construction materials used for all Dominican projects. A team is currently being recruited for a Dominican Republic trip scheduled for April 14 through 21, 2007.
Other mission projects include the yearly trip by some 40 junior high students and adults to the Va Ki Presbyterian Church, located on a Native American reservation in Arizona.
"We help with a variety of construction projects each year. The students come back from the mission trips with a whole different perspective on the world," said student ministries director Darren Pollock.
For the past three years, the men of the church have built four houses for needy families in a barrio of Tijuana, Mexico. This project has involved some 80 men and high school boys over the years. The La Crescenta Presbyterian congregation raises the funds to pay for all building materials.
In the winter of 2006, the church sent a small mission team to Mississippi to help in rebuilding efforts after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
A new ministry for 2006 is the church's support of the Breakfast Club sponsored by Life in Africa in Gulu, Uganda. One aspect of the programs, "Tea on Me, " provides breakfast each morning for homeless and orphaned children in war-torn Uganda.
Other mission projects include the Elizabeth House, a home in Pasadena for young women and their children ; supplying volunteers to Food for Body and Soul, a Glendale-based soup kitchen and contributing volunteers to Habitat for Humanity in Glendale.
"The goal is to offer support not only financially, but through our hands-on efforts," said Wilson. "We're trying to live according to Jesus' teachings, to share his love in actions that make a difference."
If you are interested in becoming involved in any of the missions at La Crescenta Presbyterian Church, call the church at 249-6137 or visit www.lcpc.net.