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Running to Serve: TWAM 5K Run is Friday, May 3

What: TWAM 5K Mission Run/Walk & Fun Run
When: Friday, May 3. Superhero fun run at 7:30, 5K run/walk at 8 p.m.
Where: First Presbyterian Church and downtown: 308 W. Fisher St.
Why: Fundraiser for Teens with a Mission trip to Mexico
How: Register at https://runsignup.com until 5:30 p.m. Friday.
Cost: Fun run is $10, 5K is $20
What else: Door Prizes, awards, fun course downtown

By Josh Musser Gritter

As a youth minister my ears are especially attuned to what older generations say about the so-called “I-Generation.” I’ve heard just about every comment in the book:
“This generation is so much lazier than we were.”
“They just don’t understand responsibility.”
“They’re all glued to their phones. Do they even know how to talk to one another anymore?”

Sound familiar? This sort of generational commentary is, of course, nothing new. I suppose part of the reason for these “generational generalizations” is that each generation is, well, different. But the truth is, what truly defines every generation—every human being for that matter—is not what others claim about them, but rather what they do with the life God has given them. Time, said preacher and Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, is the most valuable thing we have. Putting it similarly, Gandalf the Wizard says to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, “One cannot choose the time in which they are born, all one can do is choose what do

to with the time they’ve been given.”
This summer, I have the great privilege of spending a week’s worth of time serving abroad with 22 Presbyterians (a group spanning three generations) in San Antonio Del mar, Mexico. There are many things a high-schooler could do with a week of summer: Cheerwine, sports, sun, beach, vacation, video games—more Cheerwine. Instead, this group of First Presbyterian youth are choosing to spend their time building homes, building relationships, and learning to see our global neighbors with new eyes. That, I think, says a lot about who they are.

Mission abroad has marked the identity of First Presbyterian’s youth for generations. For 28 years, our Teens With a Mission (TWAM) group has served and loved their neighbors both domestically and globally. Much like running alongside someone, they’ve found that it’s impossible to not form lasting friendships across generations while building for a cause. These trips are a sheer gift to our young people, but they are not just the work of individuals, they are the product of our generous community in Salisbury.

Each year, businesses and individuals from around the community sponsor our TWAM 5K race and superhero fun run. If you are downtown on that evening you might run into Superman and Batman sprinting down the street. or a host of people lining the streets, encouraging the runners and walkers. What you are sure to see is a community of people spanning many generations, all walking and running together so that a family who lives worlds away will one day have a roof over their heads.

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