Monday! Our last full day here!! So, so sad. This day was packed full of activities and it went by so fast. When we woke up, we went down to chapel to have our last devotion with Mike. Again, we talked about the story of the Good Samaritan. This time, we talked about excuses. Excuses that the pastor and the Levite may have had as they passed the man on the side of the road who was in obvious need. We talked about what our excuses were and we each made a sign with three of our top excuses we use when we choose to not help someone. The most common themes of these excuses were 1- I don’t have time; 2 -I don’t have the resources and; 3 -I’m not qualified enough to help these people. We went around and talked with each other about why this is an excuse to better understand what is at the root of this excuse. What we found was the we often overcomplicate it. There is a need in front of you, and we ultimately can be that person who takes the extra five minutes to figure out what they can do to help. When you approach people with a kind and open heart, first giving them something before expecting to get their needs in return, you change the atmosphere. We are all going back home and focusing on one excuse that often comes up, and using the strategies we learned this week to negate those excuses when they pop up into our heads.
After we ate breakfast, we immediately got to work on the toy drive that the church is hosting. We worked on separating a huge pile of toys in boys, girls, different ages, counting the toys, and bagging them. This took us a couple of hours, but in the end, we separated and bagged around 1,200 toys. In this toy drive, the church is allowing one child to receive one toy. This was such an overwhelming number for us all because it is hard to fathom that these kids and their families are able to come to this church and hopefully see the goodness of the Lord through this event. As we will not be here for this event since it is happening on Saturday of this week, we will be praying for this day and encourage each of you to be praying alongside us. We are trusting that the Lord will do amazing things at this event.
After this was over, we went to an amazing açaí bowl place and all got a smoothie or bowl. We had the rest of the afternoon to spend as a group, and we chose to go to an area called Sunset Cliffs. This was an ocean-side community located near Point Loma, California. We spent the afternoon just watching the waves come crashing in and enjoying our last day together. We also took some bomb pictures, if I may add… see the photos below. Once we were done here, we went to meet Mike back in town for dinner. He treated us to a restaurant with Pho and encouraged each of us to try it. Its basically a Vietnamese version of chicken noodle soup. Our adventurous Daniel and Bogle ordered some pho with rare steak and ox tail and tripe (stomach lining, villi and all!). After dinner and showers, we headed back and had our last devotional. This was an emotional night, as we all realized how close we had gotten, how many answered prayers came from this trip, and how this group had turned into a little family. I had never before been surrounded by people who care so deeply for one another and who build each other up the way that everyone in this group has done. Each person’s story of how they decided to come on this trip is so unique, but all have a common denominator of following the Lord’s call to be here. It is so powerful to know that you are in a certain place for a certain reason with a chosen group of people.
After devotional, we headed out to the beach for our last night. When we left, it was about midnight, so we needed to stop by and get some coffee and food before heading out. We went to Mission Beach because we heard this beach is amazing. When we arrived, we saw why. They had bonfires and a really cool view. There was a beach there and the waves were crashing in so high and hard. The sign said that the beach was closed because of the waves, but we still went out to check it out. Some of us went back to the campfire because the beach had an eerie feel to it, and some of us stayed back and went knew deep in the water (crazy!). Luckily, we all made it out alive and returned back to the church and hit the hay!! The last night of our trip had come to an end, and we were all so sad to see it go. There are so many lessons we learned during this trip, and many still to learn as we part our ways and process this week. One thing is for sure: God was with us and worked through us all to show each other the love he has for us and to show those we worked with His love. He doesn’t have to use us, but He does, and what an honor! We learned a lot about ourselves and the posture of our heart, and how to disregard those and walk into a conversation with kindness, and how impactful that is.
Each person on this trip has come to mean so much to me, and I would love to end this blog with highlighting a favorite memory or characteristic about each of them!
Our leaders on this trip were Kelsey and Ryan. They were like our momma and papa. Everyone learned so much from how they lived as husband and wife. I can’t thank them enough for leading us so well, and feel so blessed to share this experience with them! Ryan, you lead with such gentle compassion and your dad jokes were a highlight of this trip. Kelsey, I loved riding shotgun with you and watching your hunger for the Lord show up in all that you do. Daniel, the sass is real but you have a heart of gold! You always know what to say and you have such compassion for everyone you meet. I loved watching you go up and have a conversation with every random stranger throughout the week. Chase, I loved talking to you about questions we had and the experience we were sharing. Also loved seeing sleep-deprived Chase come out many times. Watching you grow this week is something I will cherish forever! Bogle, I loved watching you lead and open up throughout the week! Thanks for running with me & caring about each and every one of us here so deeply!
Hayden your faith is inspiring and I’m so glad you’re part of this family! Thanks for making us all laugh multiple times with your famous one-liners and screams. You always had a smile on your face and never complained! Carlee, thank you for being so vulnerable with us all. I loved seeing your light-hearted spirit in action. I loved every conversation we had and seeing your heart for people and how much you care! Hayley, you are the life of the party! Thank you for making us all laugh and cry (not many people can do this) and for undeniably being yourself. Watching the Lord work through you this week was one of my favorite parts!
I loved getting to know everyone on this trip and serving alongside them. I can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to grow and lead us, and this community cannot be shaken!