Saturday, August 14, 2010

I left a part of me in Detroit..

I don't know the total count of students & leaders that we had on this trip but I would say roughly 120 all together slept, lived, ate, worked, & worshiped together for a week at the Warren campus & in four different locations around downtown Detroit doing various projects, VBS, day camps, block parties, yard work, painting, garbage picking, relationship building, & anything else under the sun that we could find to do to spread the love and we called it: CitiWeek.
The whole week in general was beyond my expectations. To be honest I went into the whole trip kind of nervous & feeling very unprepared. I think because I wasn't going more than 30 minutes from home I let my procrastination & laziness get to me the week/end before the trip get to me & I waited until the very last minute to do everything. I also felt like I was going into it not knowing any of the students in my group! The week before we left I was switched form one group to another, but God showed me again & again all week how He makes every little detail work out, even if it's not how we intended it to! It was sweet to get to know a whole slew of high schoolers who I didn't know or know very well when the week started! {Faygo for life.}{THIS is just how I organize my thoughts by day, so it's kind of long.. :)}

{Day One} Youth for Christ & Heidelberg...
We traveled into the city of Detroit and made our way to Youth for Christ to do some work projects. Despite the outrageous humidity our group worked SO hard sweaty & hot all day & did so great getting so much done on just the first day. We worked for a few hours in the morning organizing things inside the YfC building, doing yard work outside, & pulling debris out of a huge mass from an ancient garage that had collapsed in on itself, then we headed to Heidleberg for a break/lunch.
{My sister Brittany met up with us there, and we found it interesting that every time we go there it is always kind of gloomy & cloudy outside...}
Post lunch we worked more on getting rid of the mass of rotted wood, a few walls, glass, other random treasures that we found amongst the rumble. It was a hot & sweaty day for sure but the little drops of rain in the afternoon helped cool things off & being able to take a shower before dinner wasn't bad either! We had a sweet time of worship at the church that night & got to share about our first day in the city, it was a good way to end the first day of work!

{Day Two} The day that I think brought the most JOY to my heart..
We started the morning off a little later than the others & went over to the train station to explore, talk about Nehemiah & eat some lunch before we went over to Open Door Rescue Mission. I had always heard good things about Open Door so I was excited to go serve there but didn't really know what to expect. They gave us a little tour & history of the mission, and we helped get things ready for the Forgotten Harvest truck to arrive.

{A woman who volunteers a lot of her time at ODRM is a member at the Warren campus & suggested to Matt that we have the students mingle with the people waiting outside to get in & take down prayer requests & pray with them. Honestly I was expecting the worst, that we would have to force our team to go for it... but I was definitely expecting the wrong thing because even though it may have been totally out of their comfort zone, they ALL went for it! And eagerly met and prayed with so many of the people waiting outside, it was awesome! It was just the beginning of joy that started to fill me up while we were there!}

Then it all happened quickly that we had to jump into action & get organized to start serving, so it was for sure all hands on deck & once again I just had to smile to myself seeing how hard everyone on our team worked! Everyone was doing this or that helping to get things ready to roll! Once everything was ready & sorted a line of people started to form to start coming through the line of tables filled with all sorts of food. We had some of us standing behind the tables explaining how much of what was to be taken and kind of directing traffic, some of the students were handing out bagels on the way out, some students were playing some music, & it was just a sight to see.
Another aspect of the joy that I felt during this afternoon was that my dad, older sister, & youngest brother were all there with me! At some points I felt like I was going to start chocking up & fighting back tears because of how I blessed I felt to have the chance to serve less fortunate people with my family around me helping too. Not every 10 year old joyfully helps serve the people of Detroit everyday.

All in all the whole scene just made me smile.

Later that night we all headed back into the city after dinner to hand out free water & pop around Comerica Park before the Tigers game & then had a good time hanging out at the game, even thought the Tigs lost..

...and we all had these "Hope for Detroit" shirts on.. some people at the game agreed with our shirts, some didn't. It makes me sad that people that live in the city don't even believe there is hope for their city. That's why we have to take baby steps to spread the hope for a broken city.

{Day Three}

We headed back to YFC to finish moving all the debris from the old garage into a dumpster & finish clearing the area. Since the team we had was amazing & the hardest workers from the whole trip we got that done pretty quickly & again had nothing but sweat & dirt dripping off our bodies & dirt under out nails when we were done.
Then we had lunch on Belle Isle & used the afternoon to explore & see a new part of the city for a lot of our team which was kind of cool. We just ate & relaxed for a while looking over at the city..
That night we got to go visit Brittany's Palace over on Second & have dinner & hang out with each other for a few hours for dinner!
It included fajitas, eating outside, enjoying each others company, & a large game of tag.

Then we all went over to Metro Church where one of the other CItiWeek groups was working all week for a Wednesday night church service. It was cool to see what the other group had been doing all week with a block party earlier that day & getting to sing crazy songs & meet some cute kids! It was fun to hear my brother talk about Nehemiah in front of everyone too. Love that kid. Love seeing him serve other people too.

The crazy night ended with a couple trips to Meijer, McDonalds, & Speedway & most of the group being awake until 3AM. (It has to happen on a missions trip...)

{Day Four}
Our group went on a tour of the Renaissance Center downtown in the morning. I've never been inside before but am always intrigued by the building when I'm downtown! So it was cool to see this city inside a city but a little weird to feel like a tourist only 30 minutes from my house. It was fun though & cool to see the city from the sky.

We stayed there for most of the morning & then headed to YFC to put the finishing touches on the work we had been doing. All while clearing out weeds, cement blocks, bricks, & some old lawn mowers from a side yard, & getting some minor cuts & scraps we left that place looking pretty great & clean.
It was sad in a way to me that our group really only worked with other people once during the week & were just by ourselves the rest of the time working at YfC and that we didn't really get to form any relationships with new people in the city, but I just had to keep reminding myself that even if we couldn't physically see the outcome of our labor now, that the work we did at YFC is just a step closer to helping them progress in their ministry!

{STORY: A way that God totally was protecting us while we were downtown was that on Tuesday while we were at Open Door, and not at YFC some of the people from YFC & two of their students that come there were jumped two blocks from the YFC building where we had been working... it's crazy that we just happened to be at Open Door that day. God was for sure watching over us while we were down there & thankfully none of the people involved were hurt or anything, AND the dirt bikes that they had been using that were stolen were found & returned by the end of the week!}

So that was what my few days in the city looked like.. we spent the last day of our trip at a conference center in Ohio with worship time, some down time, & a night of reflecting on the week & sharing highlights & lows of our week. And topped it off with feet washing. The whole idea of feet washing makes me feel blessed to be a part of such a sweet ministry to high school students. I had the opportunity to wash the feet of the sweet girls in my group after a long week or working hard & being sweaty & dirty & pray over them & speak truth into them. It made me feel so blessed to have that opportunity to share that with them. It was humbling for sure.
On Friday morning we had some more debriefing time & then had an hour solo-time to journal, read Isaiah 58, & just reflect on the past few days. And we ended it all with singing God of the City & Our God..

All in all it felt like the longest week of my life, but left me speechless at so many points. I feel blessed to be a part of a ministry that has so many awesome students wiling to give up their week at the end of a long busy summer to go on a half hour from home & get their hands dirty spreading the hope for Detroit.

The words I kept writing down in my journal were BLESSED & HONORED. That's all I have.
. . . . .

{I took a majority of the pictures but borrowed some from my mum & some of the awesome people on my team!}

1 comment:

Lisa Fillmore said...

“Tears are words the heart can't express” Dear Sweet Lindsay, I have tears.