Sunday, July 04, 2010

Nashville Mission Trip: Day 5

This was our final full day at the mission site.  I ended up going out with Karen Krammes’ team that consisted of many of the new 9th graders.  In the morning we spent time with a local YMCA that was doing a camp for many of the neighborhood kids.  Our teens played a lot of games with the kids including basketball, a goofy variation of kickball, ping-pong and video games.  After some free time the kids were split up into their groups for their camp.  The two groups that they had were sports and theatre.  I went with the theatre group.  Some of the kids gave a prepared speech on a favorite quote of theirs.  Then we played some theatre games.  The scenario was two people in the morning making breakfast: eggs and bacon.  If the director did not like the acting then he or she could recommend a new approach to their acting such as being more ghetto, angry, slow motion, fast motion, gangster, sesame street, zoo animals, etc., etc., etc.  There were a lot of laughs. 

For the afternoon we went to an urban garden to help.  We got a full tour of the garden.  It was a completely organic garden so there were some differences in their approach to caring for it.  It was very, very interesting.  The owner was very passionate about the garden being an expression of his faith and caring for the community by providing real organic food for a low price.  We did some weeding, mulching, and composting.  All the teens did well.  There were areas of the garden that were created within a pyramid of tires or a pile of cinder blocks.  It was fascinating.  I wanted to go home and turn my backyard into an urban garden.  During most of the time that we were there I was not feeling good.  I think that all the activity of the past few weeks caught up with me and I was not doing well.  I had to lay down for a good chunk of the afternoon but after some time I felt compelled to help Austin shovel compost.

When we were done with our jobs at the garden we went back to the church site we were staying at and did a foot washing ceremony with our team.  Our teens really got into it and made it a very memorable experience.  I was impressed with some of the leadership I observed in our teens who took the initiative to wash the feet of many of their friends and pray for them.  It was touching to watch.

After that we cleaned up and went out for our free night!  We had a ton of fun going down to Broadway Street.  We took all of the teens to Jack’s Bar-B-Q for dinner.  They all ate well and had a good time.  It was the perfect restaurant for our group of teens.  Then they hit the strip.  We met several Elvis’s.  We tried on cowboy boots.  We tried on cowboy hats.  I bought some country music (Johnny Cash!), and we found a Willie Nelson fortune telling machine.  We heard tons of music pumping out of all of the bars, restaurants, and on the street.  We had a lot of laughs. 

Eventually we made it back to the church.  That evening we had our final debriefing session.  This is probably the most important session of every mission trip.  I always emphasis the importance of making our faith and our attitude of service a habit in all areas of our life, not just a “one-week-out-of-the-Summer” thing.  If “mission” only means the trip I go on for 7 days during the Summer then we have missed the hole point.  So we talk about family, school, friends and youth group and how we can apply all that we learned from this mission trip to all of these areas of our life.  It was a really good night. 

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