Wednesday, 15 March 2017

DAY 4 | one thousand breakfasts, kids, and street ministry

Today started off earlier then usual, with alarm clocks beeping off at 5:30, and with a good breakfast in our bellies, our tired feet climbed into vans by 6:30. The morning sun had fully awakened us (well, hopefully at least the majority) as we arrived at Padre Chava. (A Catholic meal distribution center for the homeless in Tijuana.)

Unfortunately we were a little late to the Catholic mass yet thankfully were present for the final prayer and closure. As soon as the priest closed the mass, we immediately sprung into action.

Very quickly each member was assigned a position, whether that be mopper, bread distributor, cup pourer or even towel holder. When the homeless flooded into the dinning area, we all bolted to our positions, frantically clearing and setting
tables in a matter of seconds so the flow of people being fed went by smoothly. There was a point it began to feel like clockwork! Though our feet may have ached by the end of it all and our arms weak with the shadows of burden, the fact we assisted in helping 900-1200 homeless receive a meal, made it all worth it!

As the kitchen wrapped up and the last table was stacked against the wall, it was hard to believe our day had only just begun. When we returned to the base, we were grateful to have a break to renew our energy for our next ministry opportunity. Our groups were split into two. One would be heading off to Church on the Street and the other to Zone Kids.

I, (Miriam Schriefers) was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Zone kids program. It is an after school event for kids ages 3-12 to attend. There are a plethora of activities
such as soccer, colouring books, photography lessons, biblical teachings, science experiments etc... for the children to participate in. My small group created a small lesson to teach to the younger child group which focused on kindness and treating others with respect even if said person has
perhaps wronged you. We decided to keep it on the shorter side so the kids wouldn't begin to scamper off. After that we began our craft, paper cup owls, which proved to be a success. It was truly a blessing to see these children concentrate decorating their owls and beam at each other as they compared results. I am thankful that I have had my heart impacted by such a seemingly simple interaction but it shows how God works through everyone, even young children who didn't even speak the same language as us. Just goes to prove that we can connect with others despite initial obstacles. 

Today, instead of going to Zone Kids, I (Reagan Van Belle), went to “Church on the Street.” There, we handed out soap, other toiletries, and burritos to the local people on the streets, many of them homeless. There was supposed to be a church service as well, but things didn’t quite go as planned, as so often happens in life.

We prayed and talked to many people, and all the people we asked allowed us to pray for them. We saw many 
people with physical and mental disabilities, and seeing the
suffering was not the easiest thing. After saying a final prayer together as a group, all fifteen of us got back into our van and drove to a taco place. We ate good food and talked together, and suddenly, it amazed me how quickly we had gotten over seeing the suffering taking place just a few miles from where we were eating.

At this point, when we were almost finished, the other van came into the place with the rest of group, who had just come from Zone Kids. While we were sitting there waiting, Adam suddenly said that we should go to Dairy Queen. It was completely out of the blue, and we weren’t supposed to tell the other group. So, we all quickly nodded our heads and filed out, and then drove to Dairy Queen.

Once we were there, Ethan started talking to this random guy named Aidan, and soon a few of us, including me, were talking together. Before they left, someone said that we should pray, and so the people standing there got into a circle and started praying. At the beginning of the prayer, Aidan opened by saying, “God, would you just speak your words to us right now.” Right from that point, my friends and anyone else who is reading this, I heard the voice of God come out of Aidan’s mouth. It was him talking, but he was only saying the Holy Spirit’s words.

He said a prayer for Ethan, which also deeply resonated with him, and then he said “And Reagan, I see you running and leading, but sometimes looking back. But do not worry about being alone in the front, for people will still see you leading, and they will follow. Don’t worry about looking back, but keep running.” As he said this, I knew it could not be him, but the Spirit speaking. I had known him for less than ten minutes, and he seemed to know so much about me. I love to run, and the entire train ride here, I was begging for someone to race me at most of our stops. I love to run, and run best, every time. It also struck a chord with a favourite passage of mine, Acts 20:24,

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

My goal is to finish the race that I am given, and not only to finish, but to finish well. Once again, I would like to thank our great church community for helping send us here. It has been excellent so far, and we are going to begin the house build tomorrow. We look forward to praising God with our hard work tomorrow, and we will do our best.


*editors note - which ended up longer than expected.*

Each day everyone is growing in their ability to serve, in their hearts for God, and in their ability to express both. The things in which we've all prayed for, are happening in front of our very eyes. Watching our students stand up in boldness, and pray for others, and each other is incredible. Hearing what filled their hearts with joy each day is such a blessing. Listening to them share about what they're learning is just simply encouraging. Thank-you to the parents who entrusted us as leaders with your students! 

I've been reading through the rest of 1 Peter, and 3:8-9 are jumping out at me. 

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil, or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing."
We are learning here what it means to be a blessing.

Handing out little gifts can mean so much. I was on the team with Reagan, and we were handing out little toiletry gifts to people. I had been chatting for a while with this lady, Rhonda. I asked her what the homeless people would do with soap, or with the hand lotion. She was straight up honest with me. "Nothing, we can't use soap - we've got no water. Lotion? we've got soars on our hands, can't use it." 

So should we stop giving little gifts?

"No!" she replies. 

She goes on to tell me that when they see teams and others come down and visit with them, and share little 'useless' gifts with them - that they are reminded that there is in fact hope in this world, that there are still people who care for them and are willing to sit and say, "hi." 

"But on the contrary, bless."

The world seems to be repaying evil for evil with these people. It's certainly what some of them feel. Some of them today felt a little different, and even shared with us that they did feel blessed. 

And, we in return, are blessed.

What a great God we serve!


ps. Tomorrow - we begin to build the house!

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