Our group got split up into three teams. We made our lunches, had our team devotions and then headed off to our sites. My team for the day was lead by Ann Mosby. We had a small group of the new 8th grade girls. We went to one of the Boys and Girls Clubs for the morning. I was not too excited about this because of my experience with the Boys and Girls Club on our
trip last Summer, but this was a much different experience. In Chicago
it was hard to get to know the kids and many of them were oblivious to us. But in Chicago
I was blown away by how nice the kids were with our teenagers. They bombarded all of the teens with
attention and affection as we played with them out in the playground, in the
gym, and in their game room. There was
never an awkward moment. If there was a
slight moment where I was not doing something, I instantly had a kid in my face
saying, “Hey, play with Nashville ”
And they would pull me into a basketball game, a foosball game, a ping-pong
game, a bumper pool game or a carpetball game.
In fact we played several rounds of thumb wars too. The kids at this club were all really sweet
and fun to be with. All of our teens
felt that they really contributed to the success of the organization and had a
lot of fun doing it. me.
At lunch time we ate outside in this park that had a beautiful WW2 memorial. And I do need to say that there is just something about the peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a mission trip. It tastes so extraordinarily good for some reason!
After lunch we headed out to the Second Harvest Food Bank. When we pulled up we realized that we would be with one of the other teams for the afternoon,
Karen Krammes’ team of
new Freshmen! The Food Bank people took
us in to their food packing area. Giant
bins of food needed to be sorted out in categories of good vs. bad food. 99% of it ended up being good so then it went
over to the conveyor belt. There all the
food was thrown onto the belt and a large majority of the teens were spread out
at stations which would collect and box specific types of food that they would
see coming down the belt. This kept up
at quite a steady pace where the time went fast and the kids worked hard. They packed several pallets of food that
ended up being an estimated 10,000-12,000 pounds of food!
We called it quits soon after 3:30 and then got a full tour of the facility. The teens were most impressed with their freezer warehouse. The cold room was a nice contrast to the heat that we had to put up with throughout the day.
That night we went to dinner at a restaurant called Sheets. It was a sole food joint. It was amazing. Many of the teens got fried chicken with the cheesiest macaroni and cheese ever. I had to go out on a limb more and I got the turkey and gravy with stuffing with a side of cabbage and sweet potatoes. I know that sounds like a traditional Thanksgiving meal but it was cooked and served in a completely different way. It was excellent.
Just after dinner we did a prayer tour of the city. We went to a variety of sights that showed the glitz and glimmer of the city as well as the dark and depressing sights. The one that stood out the most for me was when we went down to the Tennessee Titans stadium. We stood on the sidewalk right outside of the stadium. It was then explained to us that the building right next door was the
. We talked about the contrast and similarities
of these two landmarks. The kids came up
with a lot of interesting thoughts. Then
the question was asked, “Where would Jesus be if he were here?” Many felt that he would be spending more time
helping at the Juvenile Detention
Center . Our CSM director challenged us to recognize
that Jesus would be standing in the center of these two contrasting
worlds. With that we were challenged to
identify with Christ who would “stand in the gap” by lying down on the sidewalk
that separated these two organizations and pray for all the people that are
represented in their spheres. It was a
cool experience. We also saw the
contrast of the rich and the poor within the distance of one block. It was an eye opener for many of our
When we arrived back at our home base, we had a debriefing time with everyone together and heard a lot of interesting stories such as: Mallory trying to help a guy with no arms, some of the teens helping to give a meal to homeless people, other teens spending time with other city kids at other clubs, and so on. All of them seemed to have a really good day. Our debrief time went well as I challenged all of our teens to let go of their masks and labels that they all have of themselves and each other at school. Do not allow the things that divide us into categories affect us on this trip. We are all children of God here doing what Christ has called us to do! It ended up being a good evening with the girls going to bed immediately and the boys needing some “encouragement”.