As told by Kylee Downs
Today started off with our morning devotional at Mission Arlington. We sang some songs and heard a message by Matt, a man who works at Mission Arlington. We then headed over to Regency Oaks where we began our first VBS for the day. About 30 minutes in, a mom came and brought her 1 year old to her other daughter who was 8, so she could go hangout with her friends. This prevented her from being able to do the games and crafts, so I went and held her for the rest of the time. She was so sweet and loved to snuggle. We left and went to eat our lunches at the Starbucks to be able to cool down before we headed to our afternoon devotional back at Mission Arlington. We then headed to our second VBS site. There I hung out with my buddy who’s been with me since the beginning of the week, Tarraya. I also talked to a boy who was light headed and couldn’t play the game. We figured out he and his brothers only get 2 meals a day. If this week has shown me anything, it is to be humble. This family only gets 2 meals a day when I never have to worry about getting 3 meals a day. This 8 year old was given responsibility over her baby sister while her mom chose to make poor decisions. These families were beyond excited when we gave them our T-shirt’s from the youth from events in the past even if they were still size XL. Several children have talked about having to attend or a friend having to attend summer school when it’s so uncommon for an elementary aged kid to fail their grade. There are 10-15 people living in these tiny apartments. Just 3 hours up the road there is this different lifestyle that many of us can’t imagine. After the VBS we headed straight to Torchy’s and enjoyed a nice dinner. We headed back to the church and showered then went to Braum’s and got some ice cream. Overall it was a great day serving. I’m excited to finish the week and hopefully have really intentional conversations with the kids at the apartments.
As told by Corinne Dundas
Today the work team picked up furniture at Mission Arlington to take to the apartments that we were assigned to. At our first stop God was already showing us his plan and made us all realize that were we just pieces to a much bigger puzzle. When we pulled in there was a cop in the parking lot. After talking to him we figured out he was there moving in a lady that had been a victim of human trafficking. He was shocked at how amazing it was that we were pulling in with furniture and there to help right when there was a need for it. We were able to get the lady connected with Mission Arlington and she will be receiving food from them. This was an extremely eye opening experience for us. We have been organizing boxes and diapers and our human reaction has been limited. This experience showed us all that the work we are doing is really impacting families and that we are truly making a difference. At our second stop we had another chance to see what God had in store for us by connecting with the people we interacted with there. We were almost through unloading all the furniture that we had and we only had two tables left to unload. One lady wanted one of the table, but had to go move her furniture around to accommodate the table in her home and promised to be back in ten minutes. Even though the lady did not show up for the table, a five year old boy was hanging out with us outside and the guys on our team started a football game with him. This little boy named Total was tackling them and had the biggest smile on his face the whole time. Having 6 teenage boys completely focused on loving him, was an experience he had probably never had before. We were also able to give several little boys cold water. God really does work in mysterious ways. If it wasn’t for the lady never coming back for the table, that we thought was the main purpose of our visit, then we never would have been able to share God’s love with Total and possibly change his life.
As told by Amie Walling
This past week helping with VBS in Mission Arlington has taught me a lot. It’s taught me many spiritual things and some things unrelated to our spiritual journeys. I’ve become very humbled by the kids and families we’ve encountered. I’ve realized how much I have, and how much God has provided for me and my family. Seeing the kid’s faces light up every time we show up with our fun games, Bible stories, and candy is extremely humbling and brightens my day. Kids can teach us a lot, and often we don’t realize this. Kids can teach us how to be grateful and have fun in simple ways. They can teach us how to love unconditionally and forgive quickly. All this I’ve learned this past week. I’ve always had a passion for kids and teaching, but this week God made it even more clear to me that my future includes kids, Jesus, and happiness :).
I have also had a realization about the power of prayer this week. Of course my whole life I’ve been taught that prayer is powerful. That words are powerful. That God is powerful, and the only way to grow your relationship with him is through talking, like any normal friend. Recently, I’ve lost touch with God, and I’ve forgotten how to speak to him. In fact, speaking to someone who doesn’t physically respond feels unnatural to me. However, today during our first VBS group, I noticed a kid named Jay, who suddenly started acting very sad and didn’t want to participate in any activities. I pulled him aside and attempted to ask him what was wrong. Tears started streaming down his face, and at this point I could feel God tugging on my heart. I saw an opening to share the good news, and I took it. The boy was unwilling to discuss why he was crying, so I told him that he could talk to God if he didn’t want to talk to me or anyone else. I asked him if he’s ever talked to God before, and he said no. I then asked him if he wanted to talk to God, and he nodded yes.
I began to pray for him and we talked for a while. I’ve never really done anything like that before, mostly because I’ve always felt that I don’t have enough knowledge or experience in Christianity, but I realized that you don’t always have to know everything to know how to help someone. You don’t have to know everything to share the good news, because even a small amount of good news (referring to the Gospel) can go a long way and can reach deep into someone’s heart. I saw Jay change from gloomy and sad to excited and gleeful shortly after my prayer for him. I formed a relationship with this boy and he became very comfortable around me, all because I took the time to pray for him. In a way, I feel that God provided Jay with what he needed and what he was looking for, and also hopefully answered my prayer for him. I feel that God touched his heart today, but even if it didn’t, knowing that someone is praying for you touches your heart in a different way. It lets you know there’s someone out there who cares enough about you to want to help you, heal your brokenness, and love you. Prayer is equivalent to action and words, because people can see the love of Christ that shines through you when you pray for them. They can see how much you care for them, because God cares for everyone, and that in itself is extremely powerful. The love of God combined with the love of the people and the power and worship that fills the room is why I enjoy mission trips so much. 🙂