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by Wes Hadley Wes was a member of the EM Summer Staff leading mission trips in various communities over multiple summers, where he helped people live their mission through experiences of service to others.

I spent this summer living in San Antonio and attending the Medical Officer Leadership Course at Fort Sam, Houston. I was taking part in a field training exercise at Camp Bullis when the weather reports started coming in about Hurricane Harvey. At the time, my class and I were staying in tents in the middle of a floodplain, so they brought us back to Fort Sam, gave us each five MRE’s, and told us to stay in our hotels until the storm passed. Fortunately, the storm bypassed San Antonio and we never saw more than a few inches of rainfall. Houston and the surrounding areas were not so fortunate.

Along with the rest of the nation, I watched the news footage roll in and could not believe this disaster was taking place only three hours away. I wanted to help immediately, in any way I could, but I knew I would not be able to leave San Antonio until after I finished my course in a few weeks. I started looking for organizations to donate to and t didn’t take long before I started seeing the Facebook posts roll in from EM staff about their fundraising campaign to help with relief and rebuilding in Houston. I donated, still knowing I wanted to be able to physically go and help once I was able. And just a few days later, I saw a post on Instagram from Amanda on the EM Staff promoting an "EM Alumni Trip" to Houston. I called immediately and told her I was in.

I didn’t know any details, and I didn’t need to. I have spent enough time working with Experience Mission to know things always fall into place, one way or another.

The logistics came together, and I arrived in Houston a few weeks later where I was welcomed by an incredibly generous couple, who let me stay in their home for a couple of days while I scoped out projects and waited for the team to arrive, just like old times. John, the associate pastor at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church took me around the community and I visited the three homes we would be working in and planned our projects for the week.

The team of EM Alumni and friends arrived one-by-one on Monday night, and I realized something that I thought was pretty incredible. They hardly knew any details, and they didn’t need to. They knew they would be joining a team of people who were passionate about serving Christ, who desired to love and serve the people of Houston in a tangible way. That’s all any of us needed to know. We knew our neighbors in Houston were hurting and we all wanted to help. When presented with the opportunity we all willingly took it. That’s what it looks like to “Live Your Mission.”

Once we were all together, we quickly felt like old friends and our week serving together was filled with laughs and thoughtful conversation. There was none of the stress or awkwardness you would expect from bringing 12 people together for the first time to spend a week together. That's what is so cool about being an EM Alum. You always know there is a community of people who share the same heart for loving others and serving Christ—people you can consider family.

Apply now for EM's Cross-Cultural Internship next summer!

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