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Rev. Heather Gottas

Rev. Heather Gottas

St. Stephen United Methodist Church, Mesquite, TX

SSP was an important part of my youth, and in fact, my SSP experiences were a large part of my call to ministry. As a pastor and mom, I wanted to share the SSP experience with my son and the youth whom I serve. My son Noah attended SSP for the first time in 2018 as a 12-year-old. He said it was the hardest work he’d ever done, but by the end of the week he was asking about next year, and talking about serving on staff in the future! 

“My SSP experiences were a large part of my call to ministry.”

I serve in a context where intergenerational programs are simply how we do ministry. It is so important for young people to build relationships with adults outside their immediate family circle. It benefits all parties, teaching young people how to foster relationships and value others’ experiences, while allowing our more seasoned friends to learn about young people, sharing their knowledge and even learning skills together! 

“It is so important for young people to build relationships with adults outside their immediate family circle.”

Short-term missions are life-changing for all parties. Many young people have never had a multi-cultural experience. Attending SSP in Tsaile, AZ gives them an opportunity to learn about Navajo culture, serve others, and grow as people and Christians. This year, my son will attend his third SSP, and my husband and step-daughter will join us, too! I am grateful for how SSP impacted my life and that I have the opportunity to share it with others, especially my family.

Editor’s Note: Heather and her volunteer groups have participated in multiple intergenerational sessions during the SSP summer. Join them in finding out what makes ministry across generations so effective by serving with us at one of our intergenerational weeks in summer 2020.