March 11, 2017 – Tracy, California

17202702_10155040560504318_839381023283367119_nAs told by Connor Lancaster: Gravel, DG, the Devil’s Sandbox, what the French call granit decompose… decomposed granite.  When the Tracy Mission trip gang woke up this morning at around 7:00, we knew we were in for a full day.  While some went to parks or cheap hotels for their part of the day, some stayed at the community garden; the same that was mentioned in a previous blog that a church took over to make new again.  At the garden, the small group of us started continuing the work that was started yesterday with the moving of wood chips into the back of a trailer from their previous place on the entirety of the garden floor.  After the old mulch had been cleared, we tackled the final and arguably the most difficult phase of garden transformation – shoveling in decomposed granite between each individual garden plot.  This was done in the simplest way possible.  Shovels, a wheel barrow deemed “Bertha,” and sweat.  Still, I managed to clobber my own leg with the end of a shovel attempting to sink the scoop into the pile of gravel, leaving a pretty sizeable cut, if I do say so myself.  Lunch was hotdogs and chip bags brought by First Presbyterian Church, which we were very thankful for.  As the day drew on, the groups serving in the rest of the town came to our aid with what came out to be six cubic yard of gravel.  We finished this job by about 4:30, having decommissioned several wheel barrows, drank gallons of water and lemonade, and tested our limits of frustration.  Dinner tonight was provided by the same church that had brought us the hotdogs, but this time we went to them at the church and ate lasagna, salad, and garlic bread that they had provided for us.

Colossians 3:23 says, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” and after hours in the gravel battle field, it was hard to see why we were doing this.  But the passage I just mentioned, as well as the passage from our quiet time devotionals spoke to me out in the garden.  The parable of workers waiting to be hired all day and the landowner coming back time and time again to hire them, paying them all equally saying “the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.”  God uses the least of us for big things.  The garden that looked like a landfill before we started earned the title of “the least of these” proudly.  But the beautiful part of it is that a youth group from Georgetown, Texas flew hundreds of miles and made it better than it was before, not for any one person, but to further the kingdom of God.

17264269_780608897355_2378798155305858224_nAs told by Roxy Odiorne:  Today was our second day of our Spring Break Mission Trip and it was such a tiring, but rewarding day!  We had three different assignments that our team was split up into: delivering clothes and food to the people at Motel 6, working in the community garden, and painting benches at a neighborhood park.  I started out the morning in the community garden, shoveling mulch into a trailer to take to Millennium High School. When we had finally transferred the huge pile into the trailer, we began to rake the excess, old mulch into piles and then shovel them into wheelbarrows to be taken away.  We were all exhausted by the end!  When the mulch had been moved, we moved onto our next task-creating gravel walkways between the paths at the community garden. There was a giant pile of green stones and dirt that we had to shovel and move and it is a lot heavier than it looks!  We would shovel them into wheelbarrows, dump them on the paths, and then use rakes to smooth the gravel out and place them in the pathways. The work was hard and slow, but the finished paths were so much nicer than the dirt.  We had finished three before we broke for lunch and then I switched to painting.  The group before had completed three of the five benches and one of the trashcans, leaving us two benches, two trashcans, and a picnic table to complete.  I enjoy painting, so even though it was hot and the paint was thick, it was actually pretty fun!  My favorite part was seeing so many people come through the park and getting so excited when they saw what we were doing, or heard we were from Texas.  People kept thanking us or telling us how grateful they were, and it touched me as to how much painting a bench can impact someone’s life.  One woman was talking to us and said, “Wait, you came all the way from Texas to help us?”  She was so excited by what we were doing, and I could tell it made her day.  Our group finished the park furniture and it looked so great!  After that, we went back to the park to help for about twenty minutes before we were finished for the day.  We now only have one thing to do for the community park, and it looks so great!  It’s so cool to see how in just two days how much impact we have had!  Tomorrow we have our day off at San Francisco, and then it’s back to work for three more days.  I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in the rest of the week!


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