Wednesday, March 04, 2015
Oh, Canada! (why serving with CSM in the US is a great option for our neighbors to the north...)
Did you know that many groups come from our lovely neighbor-to-the-north, Canada? It's true! With many cities across the United States being extremely accessible to our northern friends (such as Chicago, Detroit, Boston, and New York City), an ongoing relationship with CSM has become quite easy to maintain.
Hear from one of our consistent, faithful group leaders, Duane Reimer, Pastor of Youth & Young Adults at Trailview Alliance Church in Swift Current, Saskatchewan:
Since 2011, I have been partnering with CSM in Los Angeles and have always had positive experiences for both myself and the groups that I have been a part of. One of the main questions that always comes up is why Los Angeles? Why the USA? Why not stay in Canada?
I have chosen to go down to the US for a few reasons:
1) Cost - can fly cheaper from Saskatchewan/Alberta to California than from Saskatchewan to Vancouver/Toronto.
2) New environment - Although there are needs in bigger centers, there is something about leaving your country to go to another. The teens that I bring down might be out of their comfort zone anywhere, but I feel they are more out of their comfort zone when you cross the border.
3) CSM is operating in the States!
So why CSM?
From the first trip I took back in 2011, I knew CSM was a great organization. It's great connecting with CSM for the week and knowing that everything for that entire week is taken care of. Everything from the schedule and what you will be doing, to the accomadations, to the food and to the many different experiences you will get throughout the week. It's always a bonus that CSM provides a City Host that goes with you everywhere and even serves with you during the week.
What I find unique about CSM is that they don't do ministry by themselves, but they partner with existing organizations within the community. CSM does not have their own ministry programs, but when you can partner with 5+ different organizations and ministries within a week all planned and organized by CSM - that is a great thing.
CSM also sees the big picture. They not only want the groups to come and serve, but they want the week to be a success. They provide training materials for you and your group to journey through before the week of serving. How you do the training is totally up to you and depending on the group you have flexibility to change what you need to but the core training stays intact. I have experienced the training to be a positive. It helps the teens understand the culture that they will be a part of, changes their worldview and prepares them for the week ahead.
We are grateful for the years of service Duane and his team have dedicated to CSM Los Angeles! If you are a Canadian youth worker or ministry leader, please don't hesitate to email us with any questions about how we can help you coordinate a mission trip in the United States.