When we got to Atlanta we did not know what to expect. Atlanta is such a big city and there’s so much to do there. We met with our partnering host, Anquette and she helped us get settled in at the church. We had an orientation about DOOR and what it means to have a “serving is a lifestyle” mindset. She also told us that words can affect people in different ways so instead of referring to homeless people as homeless people, we call them our friends without homes. We did some exploring our first day and learned a little about the history of Atlanta. We visited the MLK Center, Center for Civil and Human Rights, and also the Atlanta Zoo. Our first service day, we helped serve our friends without homes food at Action Ministries, a women’s community kitchen. The women were so excited to see us and were grateful that we were there serving them. We served them a hot meal and dessert and we did it restaurant style to show hospitality.
Our next service site we went to was the Lost-n-Found Thrift. There we learned the history about how they started and the population they seek to serve. This organization serves members of the LGBTQ community, ages 18-24 and provides tons of services to them. We helped sort clothes, organize sizes, as well as tag them and put them on racks.
On Wednesday, we went to Mercy Church which was the groups favorite. We went in with the intent to do some work but the pastor just wanted us to talk to our friends without homes. So we did, we met so many different people with awesome personalities. A big takeaway from this experience was that the group saw that no matter their (our friends without homes) circumstances, our friends knew that God was doing something great for them in their future. They kept happy thoughts and were really excited we were talking to them. One of our friends said that he was really grateful that we were talking to them because most of the time people never talk to them. We got to serve them breakfast, we got to worship, and eat lunch with them. We even wrote haikus about St. Patrick’s Day with them. As a student leader, I truly saw the students grow during this moment. There was no comfort zone, we were all family.
Our last site was fun. We went to Gillian’s Farm and met with Farmer P who showed us how to pull turnips and shovel mulch. We also got to feed goats and a sheep. Farmer Peducated us on the importance of growing your own food and how beneficial it is. He enjoyed having us and told us that the turnips we pulled would be donated at an event later on this month.
I can say that this experience was the bombdiggity. I really appreciate all the students and their willingness to be open-minded about the work we did and how it resonated with what God has planned for us in our future. We all hope to keep serving is a lifestyle apart of our lives from now on.