Thursday, July 19, 2012

Minneapolis Day 4: Wednesday

It's Wednesday, the middle of the week. Students are excited to get back to their sites, they know the routine a little better and they know some of the people they're serving by name. In the evening the weather changed our plans so we stayed indoors for the YouthWorks Olympics (the picture is of Olympic Music Chairs, a much more violent sport than many others in the games) and had a great night in talking, playing together, worshipping, and reflecting on what we are here to do. Thanks again for all your prayers and support!

So today was the third day at my work site which is the best summer school for kids I have ever been to (it is free of charge). Urban Ventures is the name of the summer school and it is in the middle of downtown Minneapolis.  I am paired up with my “buddy” Harrison who is going into the 9th grade.  We have been partnered up for two days and today was much better.  He is one of the most easily distracted kids I know.  However, today was the best he has been.  I was able to help him and his friend Mario with lines of symmetry in math class and then helped him write an essay about himself (also known as a biography).  It helped me connect with him more.  We also enjoyed electives today where we played football, special teams today, and went on a bike ride around beautiful Minneapolis bike trails.  My legs were burning for the rest of the night.  Tomorrow marks the last day of my youth works mission trip career and I have caught myself looking back over the past 7 mission trips.  It has been a great learning experience for me and brought me closer to Christ each trip I have taken. I have a goal tomorrow to complete with my buddy before I leave him for good.  My goal is to complete this goal as a final memory to add to my mission trip collage.  My last day will also be spent at the science museum so you should be proud mom.  Thank you all for the prayers in the church community and the support.  We will be home soon to tell you all about our stories of this trip.
-Daniel Ogle

With today being the second to last day, it is crazy to think how fast the time has flown. I have spent this week at Kaleidoscope Kids, which is half day care and half academic growth. It was hard the first couple of days to really connect with all of the children, but today was really the first time I felt like I had an impact on them and felt like I had made connections with them. Today was a normal day in classroom where we spent time reading, painting monsters, and talking about what they think college is like. It was so great to not only hear them talk about their futures, but to have one of the girls stand up in the middle of the lesson and point to me and yell, “She’s going to college! She told me that!” That was able to spark more conversation and have them ask me about what I’m going to do and actually know that I can be an inspiration to them. As we enter our last day at our work sites, I know it will be hard to say goodbye to these kids, especially since I’m just now starting to get to know them. Overall though, with this being my second and final mission trip, I am very happy with the relationships I’ve made and the impact I’ve hopefully made on these children’s lives. It will definitely be an emotional day tomorrow, but I also can’t wait to get home to share more stories with family and friends.
-Lindsay Campbell

Today was my third day working at this amazing transitional home site that also provides every service you can imagine. It’s called Mary’s Place and offers dental care to those who don’t have insurance, medical clinics, laundry, showers, a food bank, mattresses, a soup kitchen, and 90 apartment styled transitional homes for mainly immigrants or other homeless people who came from the gloomiest of situations. For example, 40% of their residents came from Somalian refugee camps.  People literally line up to talk to Mary Joe who writes checks on the spot for those in need if they have genuine needs. She is a god send, and is even referred to as the Mother Theresa of Minnesota. I can’t even wrap my mind around how Mary’s Place gets no type of federal funding whatsoever and completely relies on donations, and over the thirty years its been around has turned into a 3 building facility. Now that you have some background info about Mary’s Place, we can talk more about what I’ve experienced this week so far. Our work crew, Free, has the blessing of playing with the children who come from all types of backgrounds and the majority of which English is not their second language. The language barrier is surprisingly not much of a problem at all.  It’s awesome to see how I can make strong relationships with kids who I can hardly understand. We can communicate and learn about each other just by playing games with them. All they want and need is some one on one attention. This is my first mission trip where I have worked with kids for four days straight, and I can honestly say this has been an amazing experience that has changed the way I view immigrants and the world. These people literally have nothing and yet find joy in everything. For the amount of kids present at Mary’s Place, there are very few to none discipline problems which to me could never happen without God. Most of these kids have never even heard of God’s name yet exemplify what being a Christian is all about. For example, I met a seventh grade, Darell, who would draw the younger kids pictures of whatever they wanted just to put a smile on their face. He told me he had just graduated sixth grade and planned on going to college to take some art classes so he could make lots of money! It’s crazy to me to think that graduating sixth grade is a big deal. I also met Moktar, a 5 year old Somalian boy who had been in America a mere seven weeks. He makes me smile every time I’m around him. You never see Mokatar without a smile on his face, or him dancing, or singing random vowels and I just love to be by his side and partake in whatever shenanigans he wants to get into. Like painting his fingers and toes with nail polish we bought or bombarding me with bubbles (haha). Half the time he has no idea what I’m saying and he normally just answers yes to my questions but that doesn’t matter, we are best friends. I tried to explain to him what Christmas was the first day and now he just calls me Christmas which is adorable. J He’s made such a difference in my life because he’s taught me that there’s no reason to complain, life is a beautiful thing if you make it that way. I can’t put into words what he and the other children mean to me, they have changed my whole perspective about how to live your life. We can overcome anything if we put our mind to it. These kids are an inspiration to me and have taught me so much about myself. I absolutely hate that I have to leave him and all the great relations I’ve built with the other kids. They need a stable role model in their lives and it breaks my heart not knowing where they’re going to end up.
-Kristin Myrick

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