Sorry about the delay – I meant to post this last night and got caught up in everything else. Better late than never, though, so here we go with the final installment for this trip:
Part 1 – from Colin Huntley:
So it’s the last day of the FBCGT West, Texas mission trip. It has been an incredible week, and there’s nothing I would have rather spent my week doing. I’ve gotten toned abs from the shoveling, and freckled skin from the sun. That, however, is not the main reason this trip was such a success! The real reason that this trip has been so great is what God has done certainly in my life, and seems to have done in the lives of the other kids in the youth group. Although we didn’t meet many homeowners this week, due to the fact that they were all out and staying in motels because of their houses being destroyed, God was still able to show us a lot. For me, God revealed something enormous this week about service. He showed me that service isn’t about helping others to make ourselves feel good. Constantly I would think to myself “I have to finish this job. I’ll feel good about myself when I’m with it all cause I made somebody happy.” It hit me this week that that is not the purpose of service. The purpose is rather that we serve God’s children to honor God and because it is right! “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
We are called to be excellent because it glorifies God when his children are excellent at what they do. We aren’t called to be excellent so we are rewarded at a higher degree. God did a lot in my life this week, and seemed to do a lot in the lives of my friends, both old and new. I’m incredibly excited to get back to Georgetown and share what I’ve learned this week!
– Colin Huntley
Part 2 – from Lacie Jones
This entire week has been such a blessing to me and has really opened my eyes to how God works within me and our youth group. The day where I saw God working the most in me was yesterday. I was getting kind of frustrated because we had not work to do and we were just sort of sitting around waiting for a ride to dinner and we decided to go prayer walking and I didn’t really have a partner at first. Then Hailey asked if I wanted to be her partner and we started walking around and we would stop in front of houses and just start praying for the people inside. Their well-being, for the house to be okay, for God to work in their hearts and move them to do amazing things. Then we came upon a house that had a basketball goal in the driveway and we both looked at each other and said “I bet they have kids living here.” So I immediately started praying for the kids that possibly lived there. Prying that they would be each other’s keepers and take care of each other and just be Gods warriors next year in their schools when they get moved into a new district because the schools in West were destroyed and some have been scheduled to be demolished. While I was praying I felt such a connection with God and it was so cool to put ALL my faith and ALL of my confidence in God that even though I didn’t know who I was praying for and I couldn’t see them, God knew exactly who I was talking about and will watch after them. Short after that me and Hailey were talking about how much we LOVE the power of prayer. We both felt such a connection with God and with each other while we were praying and we got to talking about how awesome God is and all the prayers he had answered for us. We also talked about time where we didn’t even know how to pray for a person hurting and it felt like God was just moving and speaking through our bodies. It was such an incredible feeling not only sharing what God has done in our lives but the feeling that someone knows how I like to worship and we connect together through that. It was completely God’s will that me and Hailey were put together to pray. The last thing I learned was my Love language. I kind of knew my spiritual gift from God which would be serving but I wasn’t quite sure what my love language was. God confirmed in me that it is word of affirmation which basically means I feel most loved when people are giving me compliments and using encouraging and uplifting words. Over all this week God moved through all of us and this community and I loved every minute of serving God and serving his people.
“We love because GOD loved us first” 1John 4:19
My name is Baylee. Today is day 3. I was on mowing crew!! So all we did was mow yards and edge. It was very tiring, but Mr. Mike helped me use a weedeater! It was so cool. We were on our way to the last house and we just thought we were just going to mow and edge, but it turns out we were cleaning out a storage shed/garage. We met a woman there, her name was Linda. The house was her moms. Her dad passed away 13 years ago. The shed was her dad’s old workshop. We hauled off a lot of lumber and we went back to get our tools and Asher asked to pray for her. She has stage 4 cancer and her mom was injured during the explosion. As we were praying she started to cry and afterwards she gave us all hugs. I have never felt like I had made an impact on some one’s life until now.
This is Alyssa and today was a very emotional day for me. The past two days I haven’t really put 100% into the work we were doing and didn’t see a reason for half the stuff we were doing. This morning God spoke to me and gave me a new perspective and motivation for today’s work. I realized we weren’t serving for ourselves, but for God and for the people of West. We were helping them in ways not even we would ever fully realize and God was helping me understand that. Today I gave my all in working and found myself getting a lot more done than I gave myself credit for. The group of people who came to West are a special group of people who really have a heart for serving. We were getting a lot done and I know it is because we worked as a team and have formed a special bond with each other and a lot of that has to do with our love for God. This week has been a learning week for me and I am so thankful for what God did through us this week.
Before I post the student’s blogs – I want to let you know that you can follow updates on Twitter and see pictures from this trip on Instagram by searching the hashtag #GTXWest
Today we were at a distribution warehouse that collected donated items for the victims of the explosion in West. When we arrived, the first thing that we noticed was that there was a TON of stuff donated, way more than what was needed for the city of West. After speaking to the volunteers, we learned that the items were also going to be donated to Eagle Pass, after the flooding. Just looking at the boxes and boxes of stuff was overwhelming.
Our first assignment was to organize and sort most of the clothing that was donated and trust us, there was a lot! We began by separating it into different larger boxes by size. As we were doing that, we noticed that a lot of the clothes were either stained, dirty, or had holes in them. We would not want to wear some of the stuff that was donated. We had a good discussion with Mrs. Downs and she made us realize that if we are going to donate our own clothes, they shouldn’t be something that we wouldn’t wear in public, but something that we like and just don’t need.
After lunch, we went back to the warehouse to find something else for us to help with. When we got there, we quickly realized that the volunteers were struggling to find us an organized project. After a few little projects, we returned to our boxes of clothes to take them out, put them in bags, and put them back into the boxes to be shipped out. It was a very tedious job, however during it we worked as a team and finished quickly.
All in all, we had a great day. We enjoyed being in the shade, talking to the volunteers, and making progress while growing closer as a group. Watching the volunteers really made us notice that we spend every day doing things for ourselves, while these people who weren’t even affected by the explosion wake up every day just to selflessly help others. It really made an impact on us, and we are going to work much harder to make a difference in our own communities.
~Hannah Newman and Hailey Hughes~
After a short and sweet drive to West, Texas Monday evening and a great night’s rest, the First Baptist youth were ready to begin a day of work. I was put in a group of fifteen that were sent to homes in West to clean up debris. While my dad and Vaughn (our site coordinator) figured out where we were going, we got the opportunity to pass many houses that were affected and even past the fertilizer plant that exploded. This experience was heartbreaking. When this happened in April, I remember watching youtube videos and reading articles about the town, but actually seeing the devastation and how broken the town is had a much bigger impact on me. We cleared three lots where houses used to be. Sweeping, moving wood, bricks and insulation were the main things we saw/did. After all of that was done, Vaughn brought us some sidewalk chalk to write encouraging bible verses on. I wrote one of my favorites – it has brought me so much hope when I am feeling fearful and anxious. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13. I am looking forward to spending my last mission trip with the FBCGT Youth in West and with such an amazing group of people.
Peace out homies,
I miss you shoogie.