We were able to work at a homeless shelter for men a few days out of the week. Two of the days I took a group of about 7 students at 6 am to serve breakfast there and then we cleaned about 4 bathrooms. It was certainly an experience to say the least. Sunday we were able to go help setup/tear down and attend Momentum, which was the church that I was able to work at as an intern about 3 years ago. That was a fun experience and many of the students had never been to a church that was based in a theater, so they absolutely loved it! We were able to go to two laundromats and serve people by helping to pay for their laundry and talk with them. The girls were able to go to a women's pregnancy center and help them out as well as a local camp, while the guys were able to go and help remodel a local church by painting multiple rooms. We all as a group were able to help out another local church by assisting them in unloading 10 pallets full of food and supplies that were dropped off for their food pantry. We also helped them in cleaning up their building. Some of the guys were able to go help a older man dig a ditch all the way through his back yard. When we were finished with the ditch, we guessed that if he had done that by himself, it would have probably taken him a month if he worked every day on it. What I thought was one of the most rewarding experiences was the fact that we were able to go out with some ministers and members of a inner-city plant and join them as they did their street evangelism. It was certainly stressful and possibly even a little frightening for some of the students, because the area of Cleveland where we were was the 'hood.' The group I was in actually ran into and talked to some gang members and drug (marijuana) addicts. But the awesome part of it all, was that we were able to pray with them and talk to them a little bit about what these guys were doing with the church plant. It was truly encouraging to see just how 'REAL' it was and to get a perspective on the type of life that the people in that area live in every day of their lives. This quickly became one of the high points for many of the students on the trip.
There was just so much that went on during the trip that I don't think I can do it justice to simply just tell you everything that happened. It's really hard to believe that there's only 40-something days left of school, and that May is knocking at the door. I've had a few students send me some reflections about what they experienced on the trip, and so I want to share at least these two as I close out this post. =) Until next time!
"Going on the mission trip was such a blessing and a humbling experience. Before going on the trip I stumbled upon Galatians 5:13 and that really prepared me to be ready to serve others with love and an open heart. This scripture really stuck out to me on Monday morning at 5 a.m. when I had to wake up to serve breakfast at 2100. It was tough getting out of my sleeping bag, but that scripture and Colossians 3:17 (the scripture that Pat spoke on the night before during devotions) really helped me get out of bed and prepare my heart to serve at 2100. Another thing that really struck me was how close I got to other students that went on the trip. I knew a little about Justin before going on the trip, but after, I felt like I knew him better. The scriptures weren't the only reason why I got out of bed Monday morning, Justin was the other reason. Without asking him to, he set his alarm to go off five minutes after mine and he made sure that I was up before going back to bed. I also didn't know Tyler or Josh Hornig that well, but after spending 6 days serving and playing pitch with them (almost every night), I got to know them better and found out how funny and what great people they were."- Levi F.
"Serving the community & doing God's work in Cleveland was a promising experience. From cleaning, feeding & spending those without home, to assisting the church, & most of all being laborers & going after God's harvest. Personally I felt funny about spending my spring break doing community service & I wasn't truly seeking after doing God's work for this trip first. Most indefinitely after the experience that I had volunteering & spreading the love of God was a far better way to spend my spring break versus going on vacation. Not only did I grow closer to God & grow in love for him during this mission trip but I also gained a closer relationship with my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ. All in all it was wondrous experience & I'm ready & excited to go again."
- Jashawn K.