Thursday, July 23, 2015

Philadelphia - Day 5

Today was our last day of working here in Philadelphia. Lots of good-bye's, our last showers until we get home, a community cookout, a party, and a time of reflection and serving through footwashing, it makes for a very emotional roller coaster of a day. To see more of how the day went, check out our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to get updates and pictures. Thanks for all your support and prayers. And here are three snippets of what happened in the lives of students today.

Today was the last day of service in Philadelphia. Most people were tired and ready to go back, do the daily worship, and then fall asleep. However after the showers, the Youthworks staff directed us to a local park for a cook-out that they had prepared with help from a local church. While the food was simple, there was an abundance of activities going on. Everywhere there was a mix of students and Philadelphia citizens enjoying dinner. While some students were playing cards or eating in their own little groups, some talked to the locals and had conversations. I had to give some small directions to some locals, but it wasn’t until one dad approached me that I actually started interacting with the people. He asked some other students and me to join his son in a game of wiffleball. After we picked the teams, the youngest came to bat first. The children were at most under the age of 10. We had quite literally a ball. The weird mix of serious teenagers and carefree children made an interesting game. At one point Zane fell down and wiggled to get away from the 8-year old with the ball. Little kids were given the rush of excitement while the students smiled as they saw locals enjoy a game that was hard to organize in this kind of city. The whole park was roughly the size of a city block, yet it was filled with dancing, music, Frisbee, wiffleball, food, and interactions. The term of naming Philadelphia the city of brotherly love had never been so right. I’m glad we could end off the Youthworks week with a good impact on the local community. I hope we can have a larger effect on our future mission trips and show how much we can help this world. –Connor

This trip seemed to be the week of gardening; every day had something to do with food or plants. It hasn’t been as relational as past trips, but I have enjoyed the manual labor involved and the fact that I wasn’t the only one sweating while working. This trip has been very different in other ways. We usually have a snack waiting for us when we return from showers. That wasn’t there this year. We usually have another snack before bed. Again, not this year. Being only provided with organic and unusual foods, I was hungry a lot of the time. Most of it I ate, but there were some that were just too different. Tonight being the footwashing ceremony, I was expecting the other churches who had never experienced it before to not really get why it’s such an emotional and tearful time. I was wrong and they cried just like a lot of us. Overall this trip has been fun and worthwhile, with little mishaps and surprises that were very bad. –Matt

Today I got to experience a children’s mission. It is a place where children who are behind in school get caught up to grade level. I was in charge of the first graders, and as rambunctious as they were, they were adorable. We learned how to count and add and spell things like “cat.” Although it did not go as well as the previous day, the children still seemed to be learning the material. They were even sometimes excited to learn, and considering it’s their summer, it impressed me. After teaching the kids we had lunch. The motto at the site was work hard, then play hard; and we certainly played hard after lunch. This involved running through an open fire hydrant spewing water everywhere, and it was followed by a lot of jump roping and piggy back rides. We then packed up to leave the site, and before we left we got hugs from all of the children. Many of the children looked like they were ready to cry because they were going to miss us, but they were strong and waved the bus away. It was a wonderful experience, and I’m very glad I got to know them – Tyler

1 comment:

Susan Hobson said...

Prayers continue for you to encounter God while you travel home! I love how Conner and the other students saw how just being in relationship even through something as simple as playing a game could impact lives even their own. Our students have such a servants heart (modeled and taught through those that lead them)! I hope this experience gives them more insight into the work they already do in their own community and a passion to continue to impact lives here at home. I look forward to continue to serve alongside them at community outreach opportunities like Fun Friday, at the apartment complex and Children's Ministry events. I am always thankful for you, Troy, and the other adults who help us more radiantly reflect Christ's love.