West, Texas – Summer 2013 – Day 1

Before I post the student’s blogs – I want to let you know that you can follow updates on Twitter and see pictures from this trip on Instagram by searching the hashtag #GTXWest

Part 1:

Today we were at a distribution warehouse that collected donated items for the victims of the explosion in West. When we arrived, the first thing that we noticed was that there was a TON of stuff donated, way more than what was needed for the city of West. After speaking to the volunteers, we learned that the items were also going to be donated to Eagle Pass, after the flooding. Just looking at the boxes and boxes of stuff was overwhelming.

Our first assignment was to organize and sort most of the clothing that was donated and trust us, there was a lot! We began by separating it into different larger boxes by size. As we were doing that, we noticed that a lot of the clothes were either stained, dirty, or had holes in them. We would not want to wear some of the stuff that was donated. We had a good discussion with Mrs. Downs and she made us realize that if we are going to donate our own clothes, they shouldn’t be something that we wouldn’t wear in public, but something that we like and just don’t need.

After lunch, we went back to the warehouse to find something else for us to help with. When we got there, we quickly realized that the volunteers were struggling to find us an organized project. After a few little projects, we returned to our boxes of clothes to take them out, put them in bags, and put them back into the boxes to be shipped out. It was a very tedious job, however during it we worked as a team and finished quickly.

All in all, we had a great day. We enjoyed being in the shade, talking to the volunteers, and making progress while growing closer as a group. Watching the volunteers really made us notice that we spend every day doing things for ourselves, while these people who weren’t even affected by the explosion wake up every day just to selflessly help others. It really made an impact on us, and we are going to work much harder to make a difference in our own communities.

~Hannah Newman and Hailey Hughes~


Part 2:

After a short and sweet drive to West, Texas Monday evening and a great night’s rest, the First Baptist youth were ready to begin a day of work. I was put in a group of fifteen that were sent to homes in West to clean up debris. While my dad and Vaughn (our site coordinator) figured out where we were going, we got the opportunity to pass many houses that were affected and even past the fertilizer plant that exploded. This experience was heartbreaking. When this happened in April, I remember watching youtube videos and reading articles about the town, but actually seeing the devastation and how broken the town is had a much bigger impact on me. We cleared three lots where houses used to be. Sweeping, moving wood, bricks and insulation were the main things we saw/did. After all of that was done, Vaughn brought us some sidewalk chalk to write encouraging bible verses on. I wrote one of my favorites – it has brought me so much hope when I am feeling fearful and anxious. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13. I am looking forward to spending my last mission trip with the FBCGT Youth in West and with such an amazing group of people.

Peace out homies,

I miss you shoogie.

-Addie Downs


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