March 10, 2017 – Tracy, Californis

17201342_780395190625_8690966386753383475_nAs told by Jamie Downs: Hi!  My name is Jamie Downs and I am a senior this year.  I went to San Diego, California my sophomore year for the Spring Break Mission Trip and it was so much fun getting to connect with all the other high schoolers and serve in that part of California.  When I heard that we were going to be in a new area of California I was excited because I am a fan of new places and new experiences.  I was also very content with there only being 19 people on this trip because it gives me an opportunity to grow closer with my friends in the youth and make memories before I leave for college.  Today we started off the morning with donuts and talking through how the day is going to look.  We had three groups all doing different things in the area.  I got to canvas for a couple hours and then was sent to a community garden that needed a lot of work done to it.  They had mulch (looked like tiny pieces if tree bark) that attracted bugs that they didn’t want getting into their plants so we went through and raked about 100 piles of the  mulch, shoveled it into a wheel barrel, and then loaded it onto a trailer so that we could take it to a local high school that was in need of mulch.  The next step will be bringing in gravel to lay it down so that the people can have a walking path when they come, which we didn’t get to today but will tomorrow.  We also painted a brick fence that took a while because we had to get into every single crease and crevice,  but we knocked it out within hours. Although we still have a lot to do at the community garden and I didn’t get to see what the garden looked like before we went to work, I know that we are making a huge difference and God is going to use that garden to bring people closer to Him.  Please be praying for us as we continue to work in Tracy!!

17203197_10155040560239318_4442619458829053630_nAs told by Katryna Patterson: Well, today was exhausting, to say the least.  I feel like going in to today, everyone was EXHAUSTED!!!  We woke up this morning to a beautiful array of donuts, Starbucks coffee, and warm blankets.  Chris and the team here at Southwinds were ready to head out and let us help accomplish good deeds.  After our amazing breakfast, we reviewed our jobs: there was the community garden, the Motel 6 group and the Home Depot group.  I was originally going to go with the group helping fix the community garden, but I ended up helping collect clothes and non-perishable foods for the people living in the Motel 6 here in Tracy.  We took off and headed to the first neighborhood, which seemed to be a wealthier-class neighborhood.  Sadly, we only collected 3 bags out of the entire subdivision, and our group kind of started to lose hope.  We didn’t really see how we were doing good deeds when we weren’t reaching anybody.  So, after a couple of more blocks of canvasing, we helped in the community garden for a while.  Later on today, we gathered again and canvased, this time in a much less wealthy neighborhood, and there, we saw the fruits of our labor.  We received so many amazing blessings to give to the families living in the Motel 6, and I realized something very odd. Those who had plenty to give, hardly gave at all, and those who didn’t have as much gave as much as they could.  I was reminded of James 1:17, which basically declares that all worldly objects are God’s; we don’t own them.  At the beginning of today, I was quick to judge someone, just by walking up to their house, but by the end of the day, I was able to see that those with less, tend to give more, because they know how to appreciate what they have, and truly know what it means to be blessed, whereas those who have been blessed abundantly more, cannot relate and tend to have a more stoic, uninterested look or way about them.  One thing I’m going to consider going into tomorrow is that we should appreciate what we have and give it up when called, because it’s really wasn’t ours in the first place, but God’s.  If you’ve read this far and would like to be praying for us here are some things we DEFINITELY need prayer about: strength, as we go into another hard day of work and peace throughout this week, as we may step out of our comfort zones to do good deeds, which leads to good will, which leads to the Good News.


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