Last Update… This team returned on Sunday 5/26/19
Hi Friends and families ,
We are back , healthy and filled. I had the pleasure of being the student leader for this trip and it has changed me completely. From the beginning of this trip we did not know what to expect, plans would change but our passion did not. Each person on this team was ready to serve and willing to give their all.
Over the course of this week I have experienced healing and restoration In so many parts of my life. The city of Los Angeles has been a place of hurt for me in some ways. But when I did live in LA I was shown what it looks like to serve . I attended a church called Angeles temple , my mom would take my family to as many outreaches as we could go to. Homelessness made my heart crumble when I saw people asking for money but their eyes asking for hope . This is one of the reasons I was so eager to come on this trip.
We got to skid row with an open mindset. We were lead by those who give their life to serving. A woman named Tina lead us through everything . Not only did she pour into staff and people of the program. She gave us our itinerary and set up each day for us. Every single day was a new adventure , the itinerary was more of a suggestion. When running an organization for those readapting to structure there is not always a way to have a specific schedule. This gave us the opportunity to meet a new face wherever we were needed. We had the opportunity of helping with the breakfast lunch and dinner. But not all on the same day. Some of the places we got to serve were in the kitchen, painting homeless woman’s nails, childcare, and passing out water. Serving at different meals I got to hear the hearts and stories of the cooks/staff , volunteers and people in the program. One example was when Phil- one of the head chefs -poured wisdom into me, and empowered me as a young woman. He told me his whole life story & it will stick with me forever . One thing he said to me that I want more people to hear and digestwas ,” anyone can give a homeless person dollar but what they need is our time and willingness to serve”. While being apart of the volunteers for kitchen duties we also passed out food . I got to talk to families and make connections . Two specific people that broke me was a man named Anthony and his grandson with Down syndrome. I waved at Anthony from behind the counter in the kitchen and his grandfather slapped his hand. I was hurt and confused so I decided to get out of the kitchen and walk over to them as they were waiting in line. I introduced myself and started by letting him know how much I respect him for being a parent to a child with down syndrome and I wanted him to know that I found his grandson beautiful. I wanted him to know that his hard work does not go unnoticed and that even though it feels hard it’s worth it. My brother has Down syndrome and I understand how hard it is for parents. When my parents divorced I became a parent to my special needs brother and have felt the weight of wishing people would love and value kids with special needs the way they should be . Anthony the grandfather shared that his daughter/ mother of this special needs boy- gave him up and he had been raising him alone. He said that she says she will visit him but doesn’t . This broke me to the core to think that a mother would give up her child and not see value in him. And it broke me also because he child will never be able to have closure or ask his mom why she left and never came back. I was able to thank this grandfather for being selfless and living his grandchild more than his own mother does.
As a team we also painted the nails of homeless who lived on site in the housing.
I was able to talk to and paint the nails of a 27 year old beautiful woman. She was living on her own when she was only 17 . During her lifetime there was a lack of stability and a lack of support. She never thought she would be homeless but she ended up on the streets. She shared her thoughts, beliefs and goals. Being able to sit in a space and serve her by listening meant a lot to me. Homeless people do not have opportunities to be heard often . Especially because homeless people aren’t always seen as those with: dreams , or a story. They are treated like vessels that take up space and decrease value. But they are children of God with feelings and souls. This woman poured everything out and her trusting me enough to vulnerable in my presence meant a lot to me. As a team we have really been used to allow those who are unseen , seen. We were used to reawaken the self value they buried.
From holding a child that never lets anyone hold and and watching him fall asleep while we work for child care had me thinking and reflecting. The kids that we got to take care of are not always born into safety and love . As a team we were allowed to make a safe place with love for them while we worked for child care as their moms where in training through the Rescue mission.
During one of our switched itinerary plans we were given the opportunity to serve in the basement. As mentioned in another blog update . The man we served asked for us to come back. He shared that it was lonely keeping the rescued mission going alone in the basement. He shared about his son and about how he was as a dad. He also told us that it’s lonely and tiresome planning how to delegate donations and bought items. Our presence actually made a shift in his day, we got to take a load off him the what he does to help the mission run.
It was an honor meeting the people at Union rescue mission who selflessly help people change their lives but also an honor to watch everyone on my team use the gifts God gave them to serve other people. My leader PC lead us with excellence and care . There are many people who do not see the need for serving those here in our nation . This trip has brought healing , it has revealed God to me in unique ways and has given me the privilege of Erving and being under the leadership of the most amazing people I have ever met. Thank you for reading and staying updated. Until next time. Sent from my iPhone