Albany 2017 – Update #1
Hello all! Our middle school crew of 8 students, 2 interns, and 1 youth minister made it to Albany, GA Sunday evening and have been busy ever since! We are partnering with an organization called Mission Change and their fantastic team as we serve the local community here in Albany. Every morning we have woken up at 5:55am and headed to the Salvation Army to serve breakfast to people who sometimes do not know if they will eat more than one meal a day. While the mornings are early, there is something special about using a warm cup of coffee and a warm plate of food as an avenue for conversation and relationship.
We have already painted two houses! Mission Change heard about our painting skills and put us to work. Our students were laughing about it feeling like Nashville Workcamp all over again.
Every Sunday night, First United Methodist Church here in Albany offers a free meal to the homeless community. We were invited to join them for the meal and to mingle with the church’s guests for the evening. One of my favorite moments of the trip has been watching our students sit down across from a stranger that they seem to have very little in common with and strike up a conversation. Inevitably they realize that they may have more in common with the person sitting across from them than they initially thought.
Our devos have focused on Matthew 25 where Jesus talks about serving the “least of these”. One of my favorite images from the devos came from Eli Weber and Evan Burch, both rising 9th graders. They were retelling a story of a woman at the Salvation Army being so excited to see them and inviting them to join her in line as she went to eat her breakfast. This woman was very persistent and kept inviting our students to join her in line. As Eli and Evan were retelling this story they realized that this is what our Father in Heaven does for us. He invites us to join the line that leads to his table. He keeps inviting and inviting, but ultimately, we have to decide to join him in line. What a beautiful picture of a God who pursues us relentlessly.
While our bodies are adjusting to the heat, lack of sleep, and gnats, we are having a wonderful time. I will send another update tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are some photos of the trip so far. (The last one is a picture of the house we worked at today before we painted it.)