The End: Part 2

Where did we leave off? Right…

So after our fun filled day of sightseeing we had a fun day at church!  We went to a smaller church that is the regular church for one of the families who act as staff on trip.  It was a younger demographic and had a much different feel from other churches that I have been to.  There was a 10 minute break about 30 minutes in; this was because there were a lot of young kids in the audience and the church wanted to be sensitive to how they are unable to sit still for long periods.  A lot of out team members found this to be an interesting way of holding service.  But it was also a really good service because the Pastor presented the message in such a simple way that it was a easy to understand and yet still held a lot of meaning.  After church we visited on the the oldest and post popular places to go in Seattle; Pikes Place.  This is a market that is like a farmers market/fish market/flea market all in one!  It has a lot of stores that make their own food there (like cheese, balsamic dressings, etc) but it also has some great fruit stands.  I think that the store that attracts the most attention was that Pikes Place is home to the original Starbucks.  There is always a massive line at this Starbucks; and understandably so!  They have a lot of items that you can only buy at this store that feature the original logo that other stores no longer use.  It was fun to go and say we had been because it is such an iconic place in the history of coffee shops.

Pikes Place is also a short walk from Puget Sound and the waterfront.  The water front is home to many stores and also the aquarium.  It was a fun day with the team and a great time to enjoy the sunshine!

After Sunday, we jumped into our week of kid ministry!  It was a fun, although very hot, week filled with precious kids and amazing memories.

Although my groups week started out a little rocky.  Sunday the entire team found out what groups we were split into.  Most would take public transportation to their places, others took the team buses but our group was lucky and the student staff member in our group drove us in her car to our site each day.  This was a blessing because it meant we got to leave a little later then everyone else = more sleep for us!! 🙂 But it also meant we had to deal with directions and finding out way to the right location….which didn’t always happen. The first day we went to a church and upon arrival found no one to be there.  We sat by the doorway for a little bit and when we saw someone drive to the back parking lot followed them.  We found a lady who told us she hadn’t been expecting out help and that it was a lucky thing we had caught her because she was only stopping by for a little.  But we didn’t care! We followed her to a sports camp being hosted by the football coach of the University of Washington.  There was a little confusion upon arrival as we waited for the kids to arrive.

The kids were coming from all over and from different locations to this one camp for just this week.  However, the locations that they came from (ranging from Union Gospel Mission to the Boys and Girls club) ran summer programs and this was just one week out of a multi-week program. But for us this didn’t matter! We were happy to be working with the kids and to be having fun! Once the other kids had arrived we found that many of our teams other groups were also working with us at the sports camp.  Our leaders had sent us to multiple locations of the Union Gospel Mission and many of them had come to this sports camp.

Each morning there were four options for sports; soccer, basketball, cheerleading, and volleyball.  Then there was a time for lunch and an afternoon session for sports with options of; basketball, football, and cheerleading.  I was a port of volleyball in the morning and cheerleading in the afternoon.  But in the afternoon, our group would leave and return to their home location at the church.  This was the place parents picked up their kids.  This time allowed for some really great bonding with the other workers and also with the kids.  They had such great hearts that it was fun to interact with them and to play games with them.  Sometimes you wonder what their home life is like but then I had to just trust God and that he knew what was going on and that he would provide for them.

After our three days at the camp, it was the fourth of July!! My favorite holiday 🙂 I was a little worried I wouldn’t get any fireworks this year but we did.  I actually got to sleep in on the fourth which was WONDERFUL! It was so great to get a good night of sleep. But then there was a big lunch with the whole team.  There was barbecued chicken, corn-on-the-cob, fresh fruit; it was delicious.  We took lots of pictures and just really bonded together as a team.  We relished our last weekend together because we knew that it would be on of the last times we had just chilling.  We walked to a close park where tons of people were and watched the fireworks from the side of a hill.  It was a beautiful view even before the fireworks.  It overlooked the city, the mountains, the Space Needle, and the water that the fireworks were shot over.  After the fireworks, we basically went back and went to bed.  It was such a restful, chill day.  Friday was the same because it was filled with no schedule and we had no plans.  My small group went to breakfast which turned into lunch (haha) but the rest of the day was just fun! The weekend was actually really long because it was such a long weekend but it was long in a really good way! Saturday the group went to the zoo and it was a fun day to see the animals and enjoy the beautiful sunshine! Sunday was and odd day because the church we were supposed to go to ended up falling through so we were able to hold our own service at the dorm.  Everything but the sermon was lead by the students.

All in all this week was filled with precious moments both with the kids and with the team.  It was a great time to bond, to grow in God and to just realize how amazing he is in every way.  Ok that is week 3!

The End: Part 1

So my project has ended 😦 But the memories have not! Because I slacked off in writing for the past couple weeks I will be doing a multi-part summary from the last time that I wrote.

So part 1:

The homeless simulation transitioned into homeless week.  This consisted of homeless ministry and learning about poverty.  I didn’t really know what to expect when it came to homeless ministry but I did know that it would put me out of my comfort zone.  

What we ended up doing was packing extra lunches everyday and taking those out into the streets of downtown Seattle.  We would talk around and find people who could use a lunch and that would hopefully be our window into talking with them.  It was really interesting and fun to hear the stories that these people had.  So many of them were really relatable and that made things more really and more heartbreaking.  A common idea during this week is that everyone is just one paycheck away from being homeless, one bad event from being an addict; it really put things in perspective.

Each day we took our lunches got on our sea-foam green buses and drove downtown.  We would split into smaller groups (with one guy per group) and then walk off to see who we could find.  After the first day some groups tried to find a person they had connected with before.  This allowed for deeper conversations and more chances to share Jesus’ love and forgiveness.  However, I didn’t do that, but not doing that allowed for more conversations with different people and more chances to hear peoples stories. And the stories that they tell are so amazing that I can say I will remember some of them for the rest of my life.  The stories of people who were doing great and then lost it all are just so heartbreaking.  But we were able to learn so much and to encourage so many people.  Though I can honestly say that some of the people that we talked to encouraged us more then we might have encouraged them.

But homeless week was about more than just sharing lunches and the gospel.  We also spent the mornings doing team training.  This training focused on poverty and the different kinds of poverty you can have. Yes, it did talk about financial poverty, but also about poverty of the soul and heart.  It took a look into what God says about poverty and how that should relate to us and the way we act.  It was really nice to have this training and to have opinions and knowledge shared by people who have done this before.  The training and the ministry definitely changed the way that I view the city and the homeless.  

After our homeless week we were given the weekend to see the city and to be tourists.  It was interesting to be doing this because we had just spent the whole week with people who had next to nothing and here we were spending time doing unnecessary things that cost money others only dream of having.  But it was amazing.  We went to the top of the space needle, visited the Children’s museum, and the EMP (Experience Music Project).  The EMP was filled with so many exhibits it was INCREDIBLE.  There was a Jimi Hendrix exhibit that held on of his guitars, there was a Princess Bride exhibit that held her wedding dress, a Chronicles of Narnia exhibit that held some of those original props and so many more fascinating exhibits!  I didn’t get to see all of it and so I missed the Women of Rock and Roll exhibit that held some clothes and guitars of women musicians (they had a dress and guitar of Taylor Swift’s). It was one of my favorite places that we went to that day.  It was a great day to bond with the team and to see some of the personalities emerge through how playful they were and to see what some of their interests were.

That sums up the week after our homeless simulation.  It was a very full week with little to no down time.  There were so many good conversations with team members and with people downtown.