March 15, 2017 – Tracy, California

17264336_781322212865_5335082246643211821_nAs told by Roxy Odiorne: Well, today was the final work day of our mission trip, and it was such a rewarding day.  This morning, we split up into two groups.  One went back to the “Park of Walls” to finish painting and the other group went to canvas an unreached neighborhood to tell them about Southwinds.  I had spent the past two days at the park painting wall after wall, but when Brett assigned me there again, I was actually really excited to get to work on this project from start to finish.  When we arrived at the park, it hit me again about how this really improved the park.  The walls had gone from dingy, discolored, and graffitied to fresh, light, and pleasant.  I started off by helping Mrs. Patterson paint the tops of the walls to match the middle.  Even though we were both exhausted from the past four work days, we were energized and quickly began to tackle the task.  Once that section had been finished, we all painted pillars around the park and completed touchups while a bunch of the guys used the paint sprayer to finish the entry walls.  We were finished by lunch, and it was such an amazing feeling to see this park go from kind of a gross, unkempt looking place to somewhere inviting and beautiful.  After seeing what it had started at, it was so rewarding to see the fruits of our labor.  Our two groups met up at this cute little Mexican food place for lunch, and it was so nice for all of us to eat lunch together for the first time since Friday.  After lunch, we split into different groups again, and a few people went to clean up an abandoned house while the rest of us finished canvasing.  I enjoyed getting to talk to a few people along the way and introduce them to our church and to what we were doing.   When all the streets had received flyers, we went back to the church to shower and have dinner.  For the past few nights, we have had dinner at the church, served by different people.  Tonight, some of Southwind’s youth provided food for us.  The food was so good, but the best part was getting to interact with some of the high school girls who belong to Southwinds.  There were about seven of them, and they were all so sweet and so much fun to talk to!  They told us about life in California, and we told them about life in Texas, and we built so many awesome relationships in the course of an hour.  I loved getting to share life with them, even for a short time.  When they left, we had our nightly share time, and we all talked about our purpose in being here.  It was awesome to share one last time with others who love God and love serving enough to give up Spring Break!  I am so grateful to have had the experience of this week, and so blessed to have seen what God has shown me this week.

17155255_10212511354565509_1233549162488800751_nAs told by Jenna Drummond: Today was an amazing last day here in Tracy!  I have had such a fun week and I’m really kind of sad that we are coming home tomorrow.  Today we got ready and left the church at around 8:45, then went and canvased a neighborhood in Lathrop, CA . . . a town close to Tracy.  Well just so y’all know, we KILT that neighborhood and my team and I finished in about an hour.  Then, we met up with another team and help to finish painting the great wall of Tracy and canvased some more. We also ate a DELISH lunch at a Mexican restaurant and I ate ALL THREE of the delish tacos that I got.  Then we split up again and went and knocked out some more neighborhoods that we canvased in.  What was also pretty cool about canvasing today was that we went to the neighborhoods where we repainted the park benches, tables, and trash cans and it was pretty cool seeing how much livelier and nicer  the new paint looked in the neighborhood.  Also, today I got to reflect on just how much of an impact we’ve made here in Tracy.  We even got interviewed to be in their newspaper for crying out loud!  That was so unexpected!  Earlier this week Tara and I got to talk to one of the men from the Men’s transition center where we worked this week and he told us how the Lord  brings different people to different places, to do work, all to bring glory and purpose to him.  I definitely thought about this and how my sweet friends and I were able to bring the light of the Lord to the sweet people of Tracy.  I will FOREVER remember this trip and how God can take any person, in any way, shape, or form, to absolutely bring glory to him.

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