I can’t remember the last time I felt so exhausted, or loved what I was doing so much. The last three days have been packed full of being shuttled between sites by Lyndee, running meetings, and trying to make sure everything is happening on time. The days here are full of sun, heat, and constant drinking trying to keep everyone hydrated. I am here in Atlanta and part of a leadership team for Experience Mission.
In the last three days of the mission trip, I have seen a bridge built, a trail carved, and multiple walls covered with a fresh coat of paint. Krista has led a successful Kid’s Club each day at Capitol View Apartments. The kids that she works with are very well behaved, and they fill their afternoon with games, inside and outside, a Bible lesson, and general relational time. On the other hand, Matt is greeted each day by a rowdy group of kids at the Jonesboro trailer park looking for entertainment and making threats if they don’t receive it. The trailer park is a place lacking discipline immensely so it’s been hard work the last couple days as the team works to gain some respect.
Krista heard a small testimony from a Vietnamese girl who attends the Kid’s Club at CVA. Following a Bible lesson addressing things we want to hide from in life, the girl answered that she would hide in a closet to escape “all the yelling and violence.” It strikes a chord in my heart to hear a girl firsthand dealing with things like that in her home-life. Thankfully, most of the kids have been consistent in their attendance and Krista has a good start to strong relationships being built over the summer since for us it is more than just one urban mission trip.
Today at Sol Luna, we had some extra willing hands come out to finish spreading mulch and dirt and put the last nails into the deck of the bridge. Earl and Earlisha are 10-year-old twins I had seen peeking out windows for the last couple days. Their cousins Tunisha (11) and Ronisha (5) also came out to help. I’m continually impressed, and at the same time saddened at how quickly kids become adults, from their vocabulary even to their mannerisms. Ronisha told me all about how she could read in her kindergarten class, and kept telling me how strong she was and how she could take care of herself. I didn’t get to meet their parents/guardians today, but hopefully they will be around and also take an interest in the project going on.
Progress in this community is being seen and, more importantly, felt – by us and the people around us. We got to join Lakewood for their midweek service tonight, opening up a chance to meet even more of the people we are partners with this summer. Tomorrow will be our last workday with the team from Indianapolis, and then it’ll be time to catch up on some sleep!