Sunday, July 22
The long drive to DC was peasant and peaceful. If you ever have to do a road trip I highly, highly, highly recommend trail mix with a Starbucks Double Shot Vanilla Energy Drink. That combination will keep you very awake and alert for HOURS!
Once we got here we met our fearless leaders. We immediately took off to go pick up Ryan who flew in the day before and was staying at Erin Randall's place. Then we all went out to dinner at a Salvadorian restaurant. It was great! The teens chowed down.
We then hopped in our vans and went on a prayer tour of the DC area. We stopped at several sites that represented the powerful all the way down to the powerless. We prayed over the city in many different spots as well as learning a lot about the history of the DC area and the struggles that this area has had to deal with over the years.
Then it was time to go back and go to bed. We are in very, very tight quarters as far as the bedding situation goes. What is interesting is that I am right up against a tarp that separates the guys area from the girls. This may not seem like a big deal but I have discovered that I have direct access to the "girl talk". This actually scares me. I am not sure I want to accidentally over hear their conversations. I am intentionally loud so that they remember I am right there!
Monday, July 23
Our group got split up into 2 teams. So Doug and I are going to switch off every day so that we can get some time with each one of the teams. Today I had the team that was heading out very, very early. The team consists of Jennifer, Kaitlin, Maria, Hannah, Kristen, Olivia, Ryan and Austin. We had to be up at breakfast at 5:45AM! Then we headed off to a mission site that serves meals to people. We obviously were helping out with breakfast. The mission site was called SOME (So Others May Eat). It was a very well organized mission that does a lot for the community with helping them with any needs they may have in order to restore them to be able to care for themselves. It was quite impressive. Our teens did a great job working hard as we served pancakes and bacon for breakfast.
Now the big story of the day goes to Ryan. Apparently, Ryan tried to lob just one small cherry in the general direction of Austin and one of the more intense kitchen workers just happened to see it and really leaned into him. Unfortunately, I did not happen to be present at just that moment to see Ryan get the hammer. I was bummed. Ryan is such a good boy I just can't imagine him ever getting into any kind of trouble so this was quite unprecedented.
We then came back to our home base. From here we did a prayer walk around the neighborhood. We made some observations of this neighborhood in comparison and contrast to the ones we live in. We also saw a lot of services that help those who are down and out. We ended the walk by being able to pray at the World Vision headquarters. And then we met up with our leader at Ebeneezer's Coffee House. This is a coffee house that was the site of Mark Batterson's first church here in DC. Goggle him if you have not heard of him before. He is a big pastor in the DC area doing a lot of great ministries and missions for this whole area. He has come out with some books that I hear are pretty good as well.
We had a little bit of down time after that so we rested up a little bit and ate our lunches at the church we are living in for the week.
For the afternoon we went to a site called Children of Mine Youth Center. The story goes that the lady who is running it had a tragic situation happen to one of her kids in this neighborhood so instead of it destroying her, she built a youth center that gives them all kinds of stuff to grow: meals, books, clothes, garden, playground, etc. It was amazing to see how she could turn a bad situation into something so good for the community. At first we did not know how to help because she had another whole team of volunteers from another mission that was already helping. So we hung out for a little bit and slowly found areas that we could all pitch in and help with. I noticed that her ceiling fans were not blowing the right way so it was stuffy and muggy in the dining hall. So after switching them all over you could feel the circulation of the cool air in the room so much better. Some of the girls got to help in the kitchen as they prepared dinner for the kids who were coming that evening. Some did yard work. There was plenty of grass to be mowed and weeds to be dealt with.
For dinner we ended up at a Thai restaurant. Needless to say we walked out of there stuffed with all kinds of excellent food in our bellies. We went down to the Jefferson Memorial for a time to gander and then do our debrief for the day. The teens got A LOT out of today. They had a lot of fun but also have already shown a sensitivity to what the Spirit of God is teaching them as a result of all our experiences from the day.
Tomorrow I will be with the other team and we get to sleep in a little bit longer than today so I am going to go take a shower to peal off about 20 layers of sweat that has covered me and sleep well tonight!