It’s sad for me to say that this is my last mission trip with the church as I am soon to go onto college, but I think that this bittersweet time will produce the best change for me and the others here with me. I can’t think of a place better than one of the most important cities in American history to have my final High School trip than Philadelphia. There are so many opportunities here to better myself and to try to leave an image of Christ to the people here that shows who He truly is.
The issue of how people keep themselves fed has been a theme throughout our short time here so far, and will be for the rest of the week. In a place with such a loss for hope there are people here in this community that truly want to help make this a better place and transcend their differences from their neighbors. Today, the entirety of the students on this trip from the several different churches worked to clear a community garden. While we were pulling weeds, a man on a motorcycle pulled up next to the fence and wanted to know what we were doing. After it was explained to him that we were working as volunteers, he said that he wanted to help to make his community better.
There is certainly an immense amount of work that must be done before this city with such an amazing past can become great again, but I know that if more people can get the attitude of charity like our biker friend, then this city of brotherly love can hope to live up to the promises of its name. -Mattheus
I have to say that it has only been a little over 24 hours since we arrived, and I believe this is my favorite mission trip yet! It is a unique site, in that most of the food we eat is homegrown and what isn’t homegrown is organic. We also get to work at the sites that the food comes from! Seeing the people in charge of the sites having such immense passion for horticulture and the benefits it has on society is amazing to me. Today we got to go on a tour of something called a green roof! This was really cool. Green roofs are basically mats of plants on the roofs of buildings. This is said to prolong the life-span of the roof by 25 years! The roots from the plants take in 100,000 gallons of water when it storms which reduces flooding of the sewage systems. I love that something that seems so simple can solve so many problems! (thanks God)
One thing that has amazed me is how the 3 churches here have gelled and became friends so quickly. Even the Youthworks staff have interacted so much, and it feels like we have been together for an entire week already! I believe God had a plan when our plans to go to Atlanta fell through, and I’m so glad he had these wonderful people here waiting for us. I am so excited to see what else God has in store for me and the rest of the group! -Grace
So far this has been a very good mission trip I think. It was a long bus ride, but we made the best of it by distracting ourselves with card games. Today started out with a prayer walk along a river and a tour of PECO, the Pennsylvania Electric Company, that focused on its green roof. The roof helps reduce storm water damage and can reduce costs too. Then after lunch we went to an urban garden and pulled weeds. It was really hot and sunny outside and we were fighting with 4 foot tall weeds, but it was amazing what we accomplished because we all worked together. We got a lot more done since all of the crews were together today. We also got to meet and bond with a lot of people from the other churches, which helped make it a good day. My crew got to know kids from Maryland in the van today, and playing cards after we got back. I saw Jesus in how we all worked so willingly together today, and when a man drove up and asked how he could volunteer when he saw us working in the garden. We all got a lot of scrapes from the weeds, but it was a very good day and the work was very satisfying since we could really see all that we had done. -Megan