Today seemed to be one of the more challenging days as we near the end of the trip. We started off working in a new elementary school in different groups that each did their own projects. I was separated into a team that worked in a library, which after spending the previous day cleaning in a library, most of us were not excited. But as the day progressed, I saw how each of us had a role in the library. Some of us sorted, some logged books, and some did little extra things that helped the librarians. I couldn’t get over the fact that the principle and teachers seemed to be gushing with gratitude for our work. Most of it was simple, but after several hours I could see that one day’s worth of work for our group would have been months for the librarians.
After lunch, we finished up our work, the other teams having completely rebuilt their butterfly and vegetable gardens. Brett told us we were going to a college campus, but it wasn’t until we were out of the vans did I realize we would be prayer walking. I had never liked the idea of sharing my deep and personal prayers with other people, not that open prayer wasn’t something I enjoyed, but after four days of little sleep and hardwork, I didn’t know how much of what I would pray out loud would make sense. We split into groups, and spread out. One of the girls and I sat down to pray, and although I began hesitantly, soon something weird started. It was a strange feeling, almost like your heart pounding, or a nervous feeling in your stomach, but it was good. I was praying with a passion I didn’t think I had, and praying for college students I didn’t know. I could feel the Holy Spirit with us, and I can’t remember the last time I felt that. It was a blessing to get to do something out of the ordinary like that, and I know when I’m off at college next year, I’ll remember some of the things I prayed for.
That evening was one of the better ones of the week. We ate at a local diner, and enjoyed the beautiful Cali beach sunset. In our group, I can see the frustration building, but I also see the relationships growing strong and becoming more real through the struggles of the trip. California has definitely shown me that most of my work may only be small and static, only “planting seeds” or helping students I’ll never get to know personally I’ve seen how each of us takes up a role in this youth group, and how passionately we can love one another, even when we’re filthy and angry and cranky. My senior mission trip will be one I won’t forget, and I’m excited with the idea I’ll leave saying I’ve helped people and done God’s work. I look forward to my last mission trip in the summer.
Before I begin, writing is not my blessing, so I apologize if anything sounds out of order or disconnected, but I felt that I needed to share what I have felt and experienced. Today was the first day where I finally felt something this week. When I say felt something, I mean that I could tell that there was something that allowed me to feel God’s presence. Every day on this trip so far, I have just buckled down and gotten my work projects done. You give me a job, whether it be tediously cleaning 28 metal tables with 2,808 holes each, or coating a wall of The Shack with paint, I got the job done. That was my sole focus….Work. I have been able to joke around with people and have fun, but I have felt semi-disconnected from the groups. Tonight, something really simple changed that.
There was a smaller group of us sitting at Ruby’s when a guy named Jarod brought us our food. After we got our meals sorted out, he stepped away to grab something, and we bowed our heads and said grace before the meal. As we ended the prayer, Jarod said “Amen” with us. Afterwards, he casually said, “So ya’ll love Jesus?” We all nodded and told him yes and he said, “Cool, I love Jesus too.” From there we had a brief conversation and found out that he was interning at a local church, and he thought it was super cool that a group of teenagers was willing to give up our Spring Break in order to work in California. Thankfully, Jarod gave me a different perspective on this trip.
Because of the conversation with Jarod, I was shown a willingness and almost an excitement to see people willing to display their faith in public. I realized that despite my outgoing nature, I was hiding within my shell and not allowing myself to perform the task I was sent and to do… Love God and Love People