The shots of espresso are starting to kick in, and as my brain comes alive, it hits me that our week is over. We have served morning, noon and sometimes night for the past 5 days. I think it is easy to take something like that last statement for granted, we are on a mission trip after all. We came here to do just that very thing, but for some reason I am always a little surprised by how well, how faithfully and just what a great job our students do in these situations and on trips like this. It is always so great to watch them change throughout the week, to see the changes in their understanding, to see their confidence grow as they step out and serve others.
Yesterday was our longest day of service and ministry yet. Here is how it all went down:
The Jeff’s finished their week at My Father’s House ministries. They finished their bible club on a super strong note. They have really done quite an amazing job leading, playing, teaching and loving these precious children. Yesterday’s bible club was a bit truncated because someone was bringing in a therapeutic llama for the the children. Yup, you just read “therapeutic llama”. I don’t it sounds like a band from the 90’s, but I assure you it was not. Rojo the llama (I know, I was hoping that the llama would be named Dolly too) came for a visit. As you can imagine, a llama walking inside your meeting area wearing a diaper will draw some attention. Rojo was a massive hit, and so much fun for our students, one can only imagine what kind of impact Rojo had on the children of the shelter.
Dave and Terri’s group went back to The Father’s Heart street ministry, where we did a bunch of jobs. Everything from food prep, to washing all the woodwork to detailing their van. We had a fun time just serving, doing whatever was needed for the folks who run a great ministry our in Oregon City. They were a super grateful group of people, and such a joy to serve. We finished our time there by serving lunch to their guests.
After lunch, the Jeff’s headed to the UGM thrift store, where they helped process donations at their store. They got the chance to hang out with some of the men and women in the Life Change program. UGM is always so great to work with. They are super grateful for anything we do. A few students might have come back with a few thrift store treasures too…you can thank us later.
Dave and Terri headed down to the UGM downtown, where they served in their day room and also pushed the coffee cart around passing out juice and coffee to anyone who wanted it. The day room serves hot food everyday. It was a blessing to be able to serve hot food, pastries, juice and coffee to people who were truly hungry. Of course the men in the Life Change program who we served with were terrific and so helpful.
After dinner, we all headed to Liberation Street Church where we spent some time in worship before heading under the Burnside Bridge for Night Strike. Night Strike is something everyone should experience. I refer to it as a homeless party. Tables and chairs are set up, a really delicious hot meal is served. There is popcorn, clothing, literature tables, haircutting stations, bike repair stations, nail painting stations, foot washing stations, and more. Most of our group got to be hosts under the bridge. That means we offered drinks to the guests, sat and talked with guests, and made the guests feel welcome and special. Several of our girls got to do manicures and paint nails. This really helps restore dignity, humanity and give a human touch to a population that truly needs it. The students and leaders who didn’t make it under the bridge (there are so many volunteers for Night Strike that not everyone can fit under the bridge) went on walkabouts. They walked around Liberation Street Church looking for folks who didn’t make it under the bridge. They offered food, drink, socks etc… to these people. All in all, it was a sweet night of serving in a really cool way.
We finished our night talking about the day, and here are a few nuggets of understanding from our students:
Our students did a lot, learned a lot, and I think are processing a lot. It is really fun to see their growth throughout the week. It has been a really good week. I hope you get all kinds of stories when your child comes home today.
We will see you in a few hours…