Today we went to New Orleans Mission and helped paint the front of their building. It was a lot more strenuous work than I imagined. The weather was brutal and the work was aggravating, but I felt great helping a needed community. The needy get food, an air conditioned shelter (much needed!), and can even get sermons. We also strolled the French Quarter and checked out their restaurants and great gift shops. The girls got masks and took many, many pictures together… We finally ended the day with a Ghost Tour and had quite the animated guide.
Today was our first full day in New Orleans and we definitely didn’t waste a minute of it. We started off the day by going to church at First Baptist New Orleans. Since the Spring Break Poland mission trip, God has been revealing just how big he is to me, and New Orleans is just another reminder. Today in church, it was such a great feeling to know that all over the world, for twenty-four hours, people are worshiping God the same way we do every Sunday morning in Georgetown. After the service we grabbed a bite to eat, then headed to the swamp tours. We spent an hour and half cruising around the swamps of Louisiana looking for alligators. As a part of Battle of the Sexes, our ongoing competition on the grad trip, Mariah was dared, by Brett of course, to ask the tour guide, “At what age do alligators get their wings?” The tour guides response? “When they drink Red Bull of course…” As the tour continued, Morgan Marshall repeatedly asked our guide to catch an alligator. Although he didn’t catch one himself, he did bring a baby one on to the boat that we all got to hold! We have lots of pictures for documentation. As the day was winding down, we got dinner and came back to the house a little later. Waiting for me and the four other senior girls in the bathroom was a life sized replica of a Rottweiler, with the lights turned off. Strategically placed and planned by the boys, they managed to scare each and every one of us. Keep reading further blogs, for we are planning our revenge. All joking aside, I cannot wait to start working in the New Orleans Mission tomorrow. I couldn’t love my group of seniors more, and am so excited to see what God has in store for us this week. Keep us and New Orleans in your prayers!
Today we left the church at 10:00am to embark on our drive to New Orleans. What should have been an eight hour trip quickly turned into an eleven hour trip with our emergency bathroom breaks, stopping to see the tiger at a gas station, and the boys being indecisive on where to eat for dinner. Brett created a Battle of the Sexes game and different ways to earn points to decide major decisions such as where we’ll eat, what activities we’ll do, and what bathroom we get at the house we’re staying at. Chivalry is dead on this trip . . . as the boys took the larger bathroom with more mirrors for themselves. We had a reflection time where we talked about what God has shown us this past year. A lot of us had huge decisions to make like where to go to college, who to room with, what we will study, and just growing up in general. Can’t wait to see what God has in store for us on the rest of this trip!
This week has really been a blessing.
On the first day we arrived at Melody Lane, Mrs. Downs gave us all a quiet time packet. I’ve been feeling really stagnant in my faith lately (which is ironic, since I just spent a year leading worship with Collide Band.) I feel like I haven’t heard from God in a long time. I’ve been praying really hard about it and waiting for an answer. So here was the quiet time for day one:
“Keep walking with me along the path I have chosen for you. Your desire to live close to Me is a delight to My heart. I could instantly grant you the spiritual riches you desire, but that is not My way for you. Together we will forge a pathway up the high mountain. The journey is arduous at times, and you are weak. Someday you will dance light-footed on the high peaks; but for now, your walk is often plodding and heavy. All I require of you is to take the next step, clinging to My hand for strength and direction. Though the path is difficult and the scenery dull at the moment, there are sparkling surprises just around the bend. Stay on the path I have selected for you. It is truly the path of Life.” (Psalm 37:23-24, Psalm 16:11)
How cool is that?!
I also was very impressed with how drastically the Sunday morning worship service has changed. It now has more of a TXT3/Kinetic style. To worship the same God in two different languages never ceases to amaze me. It’s an incredible reminder that our God is not American-made. He is the same God in Mission as he is in Georgetown, and every other town between. Not even a language barrier tall as Mount Everest can change that.
Today was day 3 of our Vacation Bible School at Primera Iglesia Bautista. My group told the parable of the Good Samaritan, and the class (third and fourth graders) really liked it. They’re an awesome group of kids, and I wish I had more time with them. I wasn’t quite sure how to lead them to Christ because they’re so young, but thankfully that’s not my job- it’s Jesus’. I just have to tell His story, and I can definitely manage that.
Today was also Schlitterbahn day! The weather was wonderful, and I am so thankful for the group of eight graders that came with year. There are only four of us girls, so we’ve had some time to get to know each other this week. This is one of the greatest things for me, because I feel like I’m starting some great relationships before going into high school.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18,
Tuesday was a successful day at VBS. One of my kids in the Pre-K class that I barely even knew made me a homemade card with her and I playing outside. I thought it was so sweet that she already knew my name in a day. Right after all the kids left we headed to the theater to go see either Spiderman or Ice Age 3. After that, Gabe (the worship pastor) had us over for dinner at his family’s house. The pastor, his family, and some other church members came over as well. We played baseball, sat around and visited, and ate some very yummy Mexican food. Around nine, we headed back to Melody Lane to have our group share time. Several students shared about the relationships they were forming with the kids at VBS. God works in amazing ways! After share time we split up into small groups and discussed thankfulness, I am definitely thankful that I am here on this trip, my relationship with God and to be a part of such an awesome youth group.
Monday, we had breakfast as usual, and then headed out to the church for the first day of VBS. The incoming crowd was slow until the buses arrived, followed by almost all of the rest of the campers. The crowd kept coming until about 10:20. We were blessed with counselors with the ability to translate Spanish; otherwise it would be even more complicated than it already was. Camp went smoothly. We cleaned up the rooms and headed to the Ark. We played a dodge ball tournament then a 6th and 7th grades vs. 8th grade game. We also played a best two out of three series, adults vs. kids. We came back to Melody Lane and had lasagna for dinner. The kids split up between a baseball game and a night with board games. Most of the kids stayed at the retreat center, but the majority of the kids at the baseball game got a souvenir, including signed baseballs and a game-used bat. We had a late share time and went straight to bed, preparing for Day 2.
Sunday we started by going to the church for the service and Sunday School. We went to Sunday School first where we more than doubled the size of the class and then we went to the service where the songs were done in both English and Spanish. It was really cool to see how people who love the same God worship to the same song in different languages. After church we ate lunch and got into our canvassing groups. Then we started walking down the street we were assigned. We went up to each house on the street and knocked on doors telling people about the Party in the Parking Lot that night and about the VBS this week. After all the streets had been walked we went back to the church and set up classrooms and for the Party in the Parking Lot. At 7:00pm families started showing up for the party. We had two bounce houses, an animal walk, and a couple other games. We had pizza and lemonade and gave out lots of pairs of shoes. The party ended at 8:30 and then we cleaned up and went back to Melody Lane tired, but ready for the week.
Today we left FBCGT. It was a seven hour ride and I spent most of it talking with my peers. I’m really excited for what God has in store for me and these kids this week. I’m really sad this is my last year to go on the mission trip, but I’m glad others have the chance to go on this awesome adventure. On the way up, we saw two car accidents because some people have no respect for exits. It was kind of intense. I’m really glad to be at Melody Lane and hopefully everything goes great on this trip.