End of Day 4:
Lauren–This morning we went downtown and my group asked a homeless man to join us for breakfast. He said he had been sitting there feeling very hungry and wondering how he was going to eat today. We sat down and talked with him about his life and answered his questions too. When we asked him if we could buy him some food for later in the day, his eyes lit up and he said he would really love some hot soup. I thought he was going to order a bowl of hot soup from the restaurant, but he walked to a convenience store and picked a Cup of Ramen soup, which by the way cost 55 cents, and a can of pop. Back home we joke about poor college students being stuck eating Ramen noodles and here was this grown man and his heart’s desire was one cup of Ramen noodles soup. We even asked if we could buy him another cup for later, but he said no, that he was content and very thankful for his one cup. I was really proud of my group for putting aside their nervousness and discomfort to participate fully in this activity and everything else we have done this week.
Tim Burge– The trip has been awesome so far, and its definitely not what i thought it would be. I’m pretty tired and ready to go home but at the same time I want to keep on playing with all of the kids at the Salvation Army mission. Also, volunteering is so much more fun than i thought it would be and I’m excited to find some volunteering places back home.
Mykayla Orner – Wow, this week has been the most interesting week of my life… Without a doubt. It hasn’t been bad, just… different. Like seriously, everyone I have met has opened my eyes, heart, and mind about all sorts of different aspects of human life. We look at homeless people and we think, oh they’re addicted to something illegal or have a drinking problem, but that’s not entirely true, at least with most of the people I’ve really had a chance to talk to. One, is not so different than you and me. I mean, he actually showed me his college transcript, and wow. He was smarter than me by a long shot, and maybe even half the people I know. Not even kidding. If you actually get to talk to them, you’ll learn that some… most of them are just average people, that if they weren’t out on the streets, they could even be your friend. Some of them are the sweetest, kindest people I have ever meet, and talking to them I felt guilty. I mean, here I am, complaining that I can’t get the newest jeans or a new jacket, but here these people are thanking us for talking to them and just are grateful for what little they have. Thinking about that, I feel like a spoiled brat. We really need to start being thankful for what we have and stop complaining about what we don’t have, because we could be a whole lot worse off than we are now. God has showed me that, and I hope I can pass it on to the people I love.
Alison- We started off our day with only three dollars for breakfast. Our task was to find a homeless person and ask if they wanted to join us for breakfast and then use the little money we had to buy ourselves and our new friend breakfast. Then we went to the Midnight Mission and served the people lunch. A lot of the people were very friendly and thankful. After lunch we went to Las Familias and played with the children. We have visited Las Familias everyday for the last week and it has so far been the most rewarding and enjoyable experience I have had on this trip. We played tag and made crafts. I loved getting to know the children and be able to better understand how they live in skid row. I will miss them and my CSM leaders the most.
Bryan- Today my group went to the Los Angeles Food Bank where we helped sort the food into bags, five bags to a crate, 30 crates to a pallet. My group finished first, mostly because the people putting the food in the bags were going so fast. After we finished with the food we moved on to the non-food items and sorted them into boxes. Next we went to the Red Shield community center and helped the kids there. I ended up being chased all over the center by a bunch of kids who wanted to pinch me because I forgot it was St. Patrick’s day and didn’t where anything green. Finally we went up to the Griffith Park Observatory (editors note: this is one of the most impressive areas in LA–it overlooks the Hollywood sign and the entire city :)….Bryan was impressed 🙂 )) we looked around and talked, soon after we headed back to the housing site, I fell asleep ( I had an entire bench to stretch out on) in the van and eventually fell off the seat and on to the floor which woke me up and made everyone laugh. All in all it was a great finale day that i wish could have lasted a little longer. On this mission trip I have had a great time and would really like to thank my CSM guide Jay for forcing me to put down my book and get out of my comfort zone, I feel I would have missed a lot more if he hadn’t, so I really need to thank him.
Maria – Serving the people of LA today included packing bags of food for school age children to take home with them over the weekend. It brings joy to my heart, knowing that children will be able to have good food in their belly, when normally they would have little healthy food to sustain them until Monday, when school resumes. While we were at the food bank, we were able to hear about the community of people that are served through their organization and see testimonials of people who are encouraged through the food and items they are able to receive. I had to laugh a few times at the fact that the standard of food & items we were packing was sometimes higher than the things we are willing to use in our own home. An onion with a bad looking outside – I’d say, ‘just peel off the bad & the rest is good’, but at the food bank, I was forced to throw things away!! Ahhhh….goes against every bone in my body, but I obliged. 🙂
Nearly starving & with sore feet, we devoured our home made lunches with PBJ or Meat/Cheese and reflected on our time there. Joy!
This week we’ve had the joy of working at a Salvation Army community center, in their after school program. I found great satisfaction in helping these elementary children with their homework, listening to them read, playing a little Lightning or shooting some pool. I never knew those games of pool I shot with my Grampa would come in handy when working with kids in LA! Thanks, Grampa Miller
–this morning we are cleaning up the housing site, saying good bye to the CSM staff, and heading out for a free day. This will be an important part of the week as we process everything God has done. Please pray for excellent and deep conversations :))
LA: End of Day 3:
Today was a very busy day! The mission we went to this morning was different than the previous ones we went to. At this particular one, we got to interact with the people we prepared the meals for. It was very cool to start a conversation with some of the people in the program. They were there because they had chosen to accept Jesus Christ and turn their lives around. The people were very polite and they smiled a lot. This day has worn me out but I am so glad that I have gotten to experience all that happened today!! Ciao!!!
Carley Johnson– This Los Angeles experience is totally different from the last time I was here. Some people don’t realize that there is a different side to the city than hollywood and fame. Over the past few days my group and i have been going to different food banks and such to feed people and in the afternoon we go to a little school called Las Familias to hang out with the kids. Today we ate lunch with some homeless people and talked about their lives. Though we are all pretty tired, I am super excited for the rest of this week and helping those in need.
Rachel Roach– Today is Day 3 of this amazing trip 🙂 and my first time blogging. . . .I don’t really know what to say but I guess I will start with how amazing this experience is. This trip has already changed my life in so many ways its crazy. I see God all over the place working in our group, working in me, and also in the programs and things that we have been involved in. Today was probably one of my favorite days though because this morning started out great I woke up and had a good breakfast 🙂 After everybody was up and moving we headed out to St. Francis Center where we helped serve breakfast to the homeless. Some of us didn’t though, for example I got to sit down with people while they ate and talk which is of course one of my favorite things ever 😀 I got to meet some really interesting people and listen to some of their stories which was absolutely amazing. Then we got our groups chosen and did a city search which means we worked together as a team and found things all around the city. Some time in the middle of that our group had a really big challenge, our challenge was to invite a homeless person to lunch with us. I don’t know about anybody else but that really took me out of my comfort zone to take courage and asking a total stranger to eat with us and that ended super well which is always good but yeah so far this week i’ve been taken out of my comfort zone multiple times but everything happens for a reason. God works in mysterious ways and I’m seeing it all over the place. We went to a park the other day where we brought pastries there and shared them with the homeless. I got to have a really great conversation with this guy from Guatemala who spoke very little if any english and we had an amazing conversation about Jesus and how he lives in his heart and ours. A lot has been going on in Guatemala but he talked to me about that even through all the pain and drug wars that are going on in Guatemala, God is still in control and he is going to take care of them. The guy i was talking to really opened up my eyes and heart to what God was telling me and really showed me like where God was working in his life as well. Tonight was super fun though. We got back in our groups and we did a little karaoke type thing where we all picked a song to sing and we performed it in front of everybody but we had little time to do it. Then we all got together again and made up a slideshow consisting of three slides to show everybody what we did today and how we can apply what we learned in our daily lives back in Kansas City. I have learned a lot in these past few days and I’m excited for what God has in mind for me for these next few.
Will Kanan- Today our group woke up pretty late to start it off at around 8. We went to the Long Beach Rescue Foundation by taking the Metro Train and helped set tables and prepare lunch. Also, we were able to eat lunch with the guests of this foundation and prepare another meal for some homeless people. We heard an amazing story of a graduate of the program who was also our host. Afterwards we went back to Las Familias and I played soccer and tag for around Dos y un media horas. (two and a half hours, spicing up the espanol). We finished up doing skits in a local park before coming home to finish up the day. Goodnight
BRADEN NEIHART: To-day we got up earlier than we needed to but it all worked out. i found a game called Loaded Questions which was fun to do and get to know another group that resides here as well. went to a mission for rehabbing men and women. really amazing how the people interacted and their plethora of personalities despite dealing the the same types of problems. fun day.
Isaac, Jay, Mark: Hi, it was a weird but startling adventure. We did a lot of things including missions and fun. (More from these guys later)
–Please continue to pray for health. Nobody is up yet this morning but when we went to bed last night everybody was feeling good. I think exhaustion is the only thing we are fighting right now.
–Today is our last full day at CSM and I’m pushing our group hard to connect with each other. This is one of my prayer requests throughout the week that this group sees the bigger picture of being “the church” together. This group is AMAZING and school lines keep them from totally seeing that. Please join me in that prayer.
Thanks for praying! It really is making a difference 🙂
What a week we’ve had so far! It’s really incredible to see all that God is doing in LA an our group is so honored to participate in this ministry. I’m going to try and have the students write more tonight so you can hear first hand from them how things are going–but our schedule is jam packed with good business. Hopefully tonight we will have some time for our group to share some thoughts. That being said, here are a few highlights from yesterday:
–Health wise our group is doing great. Thanks for your prayers! Tiredness is setting in which always plays a huge factor. Isaac Hodges, one of our leaders, has a pretty bad cough and congestion–please pray for him and our whole group.
–Work: CSM is bringing us to some amazing places! Yesterday the two groups spent time at Soup Kitchens down on Skid Row, working with children in the afternoon, and packing meals for those daycare programs that host poor children so their families can eat over the weekend.
–Housing: We are sharing the housing site with a number of different people so it is causing us all to flex big time with things like showers and space. It’s working, but it’s tight 🙂
–Dessert: Yep, we’ve treated ourselves to Yogurt land two different nights now! The little things are great energizers!
Thanks for reading–watch the blog later tonight for a more thorough update from both parts of our group.