Mission Trip Update 1

Hello from New Orleans! It’s going to be very hard to summarize everything that God has done and is doing here after just one day, but I will try to hit all the main points.
Before I go over our day, I want to say how good it has been to be back with my team. We are such a family, and I’ve missed them a lot this summer. I have said it a lot but I’m so thankful God led me to Union. The people on my team being one of the main reasons why.
We started the day off bright and early with a running workout led by the captains. After our workout, we ate breakfast, pumped up with worship songs, and met some of the members of the church we are partnering with for our trip. We then traveled into the city to do ministry.
We visited two spots where some small homeless communities live under the highway in tents with any belongings they have. It is hard to put it into words, but it was just an extremely cool experience for many reasons. We were able to give the homeless people there a plate of food, as well as talk with them and pray over some of them.
It was so fulfilling to live out exactly what God has called us to do: love on the least of these and share the Gospel with the lost. There is nothing, absolutely nothing better than that.
Not only that, but it was such an amazing thing to get to do it with my teammates. Seeing everyone step out of their comfort zones and get over our initial fears was super special. It is so good to know God doesn’t require you to know everything or be at a certain level spiritually, He just requires you to say yes. I’m so proud of my teammates for embracing that.
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Madison Studstill, Anna Venkus, and Hannah Hilburn helping serve food.

 

During this time, my partner was Sam (shout-out to being awesome and loving on other s so well today. You rock!) We had some really good talks with the people we met. One lady, I definitely will not forget, talked to us the entire time we were there, and it seemed like she really just needed someone to listen to her and her story.
Her name is Raven and listening all the things she has been through and experienced was so hard. It made me wonder why God places us in different circumstances in life, but at the same time eye-opening and a great reminder to be thankful for all He has given me. Hearing about her life made me sad, but what truly broke my heart was when we asked if we could pray with her and she said no thank you because her husband and her were atheists. It’s so hard to imagine already living in such difficult circumstances, but to not believe or know there is a God that loves you and knows you seems so impossibly bleak. That experience hurt my heart a lot, but in a good way because God really touched me through it.
Afterwards, we went back to the church we are staying at. We were going to go to another location, but it started pouring rain so we stayed at the church for the rest of the day. We had a great time doing some team-bonding through intense card games, making bracelets and listening to Disney music. After dinner, we did a debriefing of the day. Each person gave their highs and lows of the day, and then we did a popcorn round of telling others what they did well during the day that they noticed. This turned into a really open and encouraging time (you know it’s real when tears were shed), and it was really cool to hear about how God is moving in each person.
After the debriefing, our team leader James. He works with Adventures in Missions, the organization we partnered with for this trip, gave his testimony. He has one of the craziest and most incredible testimonies I’ve had the privilege of hearing. He gave us the shortened version (he said he ha
s taken 3 hours before to tell it), which still took about 1.5 hours to get through. It was such a blessing to hear his story. Hearing how God transformed his life in multiple ways and has then used him to transform others was incredible. It left me with the thought of “How can you not believe in God and how amazing He is after hearing that?”.
In short, today was amazing and full of blessings. It’s hard to choose what my favorite part of the day was. I’m so thankful to be here with my team, and we so appreciate everyone praying for us and the people we are trying to impact! I’m excited for what God is going to continue to do the rest of this week.
– Shelby High, Senior (#7)
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