This past week I had the privileged to go on a mission trip with the Youth of FBC here is Augusta. 24 of us left Saturday morning and began an adventure that would change all of us forever. I have been on Mission Trips before and they have always made me come back feeling on fire to serve and each time I get more involved in serving others in some way, so I am excited to see what else God has in store for me and for each one of that were changed by this trip. As you read through this I included those things that may seem boring to others but I wrote it as I remembered it I hope you will take the time to read through the entire post, and I promise to finish the story...
DAY 1: Saturday was spent driving, driving, and a little more driving. Praise: No one got sick! However it did take us a about an hour and a half to leave the church parking lot! :) There was a light out on the trailer and we needed it to work. We did make it to our First stop right on time and enjoyed some Basketball, Volleyball, and Hot dogs with the youth at FBC Highland MO. Some of the group went to showers and a couple of the mom's stayed behind and got snacks ready for the evening and lunches ready for the next day's departure. Our first night Christy and I were in a room together and I am so thankful she had an air mattress I could use on this trip because we were sleeping on cold tile floor, and someone forgot to set the heat so that we would have it all night and we were freezing in the morning! We survived the giggles, ticking clock and squeaky air mattress!
Day 2: Sunday we woke up had a yummy breakfast prepared by some of the ladies at FBC Highland and then attended their service. After the morning service we loaded up the vans and lunches and got on the road. (it was after this, that Pastor Dick realized he had left his Debit card in the machine the night before). But we pressed on! and drove.... We arrived in Chicago right on time. We quickly unloaded then had a leaders meeting to go over the weeks schedule. Then as if we hadn't been in the van's long enough we load up again for a prayer tour of the city. We drove around Chicago, getting a feel for several of the different neighborhoods we would be working in and praying for the work that would be done and those that would be helped. We returned to the CSM house tired and ready for the week to begin.
Day 3: Monday was our first full day of work in Chicago. We were separated in to two groups, Group one: The High School Students, Dick Jake & Lacey. The Second Group was the middle schoolers, the Mom's(Christy, Debi, Alecia, & Myself) and Kip. My group went to Chase Elementary and we were able to choose from several classrooms as to where we could go. I chose to work with Ms. Ryan she teaches Special Education. When I first came to the classroom, Mrs. Orta (Teachers Aid) had me working one on one with students going over their sight words. I loved doing this! I think I may have ignited a new passion! (I will be praying about this) After working at the school we went back to the CSM house for a quick break to wait on the other group. Our task for the evening was called Immersion. This had to be one of my most memorable nights. We had a teams of 5 and we were given $10(total) to purchase our dinner, a map(ha ha) and a scenario(we were uneducated, working minimum wage and couldn't afford both housing and food for our family) Our Group consisted of Me, Alecia, Michael, Drake, and Stewart. We left the CSM house and made our way to the train. We got to our stop and got off. As we were walking we came across a man named DJ Mike, he was a street performer and very obviously homeless. We talked to him for a few minutes and he touched each one of us. As walked we noticed that many of the people seemed to be in such a hurry, they all had cell phones or headphones on like they didn't want to hear anything that was going on around them. And I tried very hard to smile and make eye contact with everyone we came across and the majority wouldn't look at me or anyone else. This surprised me, and I am not sure why. It saddened me as well. We finally decide where we are going to get our dinner, 7-eleven. So we go in and look at Ra men Cups but decide on the Pizza instead we can get 6 slices for $7.00 and that means we can help someone else eat who may not have had the opportunity to eat. We all knew that we wanted to take the extra slice of Pizza back to DJ Mike. We even throw in a chocolate donut to go along with the pizza, plus the $2 and change we had left over. We head outside and eat our cardboard pizza(it was really bad!) and turn to go back to where DJ Mike is. But we quickly realized that we couldn't we hadn't made it to our final destination yet and we had to make sure we were back in the allotted time. So I said to the group that it's OK I am sure that God will show us someone who really needs this food. (and He did). We continued on our path and this man had come out of a store with a small brown bag, we were all stoped at the corner together and we were looking at our map to figure out how many more streets till we came to the Subway entrance we needed. He was very friendly and began talking to us and told us we had about 8 blocks to go. We began walking and talking for several Blocks, then we came upon this man digging in the trash (I didn't see this, I was talking to our new friend) Stewart looked at me and I nodded to go ahead, so we stopped and the boys went to the man searching in the trash and asked if he wanted the pizza. He seemed surprised and then very happy. He told Stewart that he was looking for something to eat. So he accepted the Pizza, donut and money and went along his way. As we came to the next intersection my new friend said goodbye and we went the next few blocks to our subway entrance point. We were in awe of how God had put someone in our path that really needed the food we had, and I lead us on the wrong train. Now anyone who knows me knows I have no sense of direction! And I can not read a map! So we are on the train for about 15-20 minutes before we realize that we are going the wrong direction. I sorta laugh because this is very typical of me, and I said to the group it's OK we have time and I don't believe that God allows these things to happen with out a purpose. We may see the purpose and then again we may not, this time we did. The next stop we got off and the were able to get on the train going the right direction. As we all sat down we kinda laughed, and we knew we were going to be cutting it close time wise but we should still make it back in time. The next stop a a man and his son got on. He looked at all of us and said: "I don't do drugs, or drink alcohol, I have fallen on some hard times and my son and I are homeless, if you could do anything to help God will bless you." No one moved and so he moved on to the next car. At the same instant Alecia and I looked at one another and we knew we had to do something. (you ever get that feeling that you were supposed to do something and you didn't and regretted it?, Well I knew this was one of those moments!)We began to dig in our bags and each took out some money and the three boys went to the next car to give it to the man and his son. As they came back I found a tic tac toe game/notebook in my bag and some colored pencils and so they took that to them as well. As the man and his son came back through our car he kept saying Thank you and God Bless you. I knew at that point that God used my weakness my lack of sense of direction to help this man and his son. Had we gotten on the train going the right direction form the beginning we would have never come across this man and his son. I believe that sometimes God can allow those roadblocks, times of running late etc.. to see Him in others. I prayed before going on this trip that God would open my eyes to those around me, that He would allow me to see them as He does. He did that time and time again on this trip. I will share more very soon! Have a Beautiful Day and Know you are Loved, Thought of, & Prayed for!