I’m sitting in Starbucks on 28th and E. Burnside at 5:30am reflecting on yesterday’s ministry. In someways it has been exactly as expected, and in someways, it has been quite different. It has been all good though, and our students are doing a great job in all the ways we would want them to. Here is a quick recap:
The Jeff’s group lead another day of Bible club. They did a great job of loving the children, playing, loving and leading them. They are experiencing the difference between suburban, organized VBS with mostly well behaved children vs an urban, small, and perhaps a bit more chaotic VBS program. They have been able to lay aside their expectations and just serve, love and lead.
Dave & Terri’s group headed over to Snowcap (a community food and clothing bank). They are in process of expanding, cleaning, beautifying and improving their facility. We were able to help with that beautifying process. We spent a few hours shoveling, swinging a pick axe, raking and hauling grass and dirt away so they can finish a landscaping project that will improve their aesthetics to the neighborhood. Even though no one expected to be doing landscaping, our students really enjoyed spending time working together while helping do something that Snowcap really wanted to have done.
Both groups spent lunch in Pioneer Square. We were instructed to pack two lunches and find someone to share the second lunch with. We headed out in groups of three or so and each group found someone who needed a lunch. We were able to sit with them, start conversations and eat with them. As you can imagine, this caused some anxiety in a few students, after all this is not something we do everyday…or ever really. Everyone was able to overcome their fears, and were able to eat lunch with someone on the street. It was a highlight and really showed us how a simple gesture of a sandwich and time can go a long way to bless others.
Dave and Terri’s group then headed over to the UGM Thrift store where we helped with the car wash they were doing. Again, not something we had necessarily expected, but something that was wanted and appreciated. The UGM thrift store is run by folks in the intensive Life Change program, (a 3+ year program helping houseless and addicts change their lives) giving men and women work skills and experience.
The Jeff’s group headed down to the UGM site downtown where they worked in the dayroom, serving snacks, drinks and lunches to the houseless. Half of the group went out on the coffee cart, walking the streets and along the Willamette river passing out coffee, juice and cookies to anyone who wanted them. Jeff B, Olivia, Kacie and Lilli met a man who went out of his way to thank the students for what they were doing. He said how grateful people were for them, even if they all don’t show it. He told them that they were making a difference and causing people to think about their lives and what they were doing. It was a pretty intense conversation that ended up with the houseless man and a few students crying together on the streets…again, not something that happens everyday.
All in all a great day. Our group is laughing a lot, loving other and growing deeper in community. We are learning that serving in community together is a really good thing (almost as if God designed us that way ;)…) We are learning that there are different ways we can serve, and that they all have value and importance. We are learning that small gestures can really make a difference to ministries and individuals.
We are looking forward to another full day of ministry together. We are focussing on serving today in our devotional time and throughout the day.