Day 4 Bethesda Mission Trip

Sorry for the unimaginative title, but it’s late and I’m tired.  This morning was the second day of vacation bible school and things went much smoother.  The wild children were less wild, most of the kinks have been worked out and it’s getting to be old hat.  This afternoon we did more local mission work, with groups going to two nursing homes; a community garden; the Salvation Army; a teen bible study and we hosted a group from local girls home at the Epworth Center.  My group went to the Salvation Army and did a lot of cleaning and a couple of the kids served a meal.  Several of them spent time talking to some of the people in the shelter and we loaded up some trash.  A good afternoon, all in all.  On the way up, the kids saw an old steel bridge and they begged to cross it on the way back.  Wes (our group leader, one of Chad’s interns) caved and we took a right instead of a left on the way back.  Then, just for the heck of it, we went here:

"We took a wrong turn and decided to make the most of it". What Wes told Chad when he texted him the picture.

The coolest thing of the  day happened when we got back to the Epworth Center.  As I said earlier, one of the groups (all girls) hosted some young ladies from a local girl’s home.   Most of these girls have screwed up in some way or another and most are the products of a screwed up childhood.  I think it’s safe to say that they don’t have much chance to do regular teen-age things.  Cameron (another of Chad’s interns) and Shani (Andrew’s wife) went to the store and got stuff to make bracelets, do hair and all that kind of girly crap and our girls (I’m beginning to think of the Bethel kids as ours, too) spent the afternoon doing all the simple, ordinary stuff that teen-age girls do.  And, of course, there was plenty of talk.  The amazing thing was the way all the kids, the ones that stayed and the ones that went somewhere else, took these girls to heart and, at least for the time they were here, made them a part of the group.  I haven’t gotten to see much personal interaction and I didn’t realize how much I was missing that until I saw the kids in action.  It was amazing. 

Chad’s group handled the bible study at a teen center and they were blown away, too.  Planning the study, the kids decided to talk about hardship and whether God was with you.  During the study, one of the Bethel girls was led to share her story about losing her dad and, in doing so, touched one of the local teens attending.  They wound up going off in corner and working through their grief together.  It was an incredibly moving story and I haven’t done it justice.  The best part of the story is that Chad and his group are going to pick her up and take her to VBS and the block party tomorrow.  As I told the kids tonight, these two things alone were worth the trip up here.

Tomorrow is more VBS and a block party.  Hopefully, I’ll be a better photographer and there will be plenty for you to see.  Until then…