San Francisco Trip

Where do I begin? So much went on this week that it is going to be extremely difficult to remember it all in this post! But, alas, I shall try to remember at least most of it.

First, an overview...
It was amazing. Seriously. I had an awesome time of fellowship, ministry, and prayer. But more on that later. (please excuse my free grammar in this post...I'm just relaying what happened and not really worrying about making it sound "pretty" ☺)
We left for the ten-hour drive to San Fran at five in the morning. We watched Kung Fu Panda and the (hilarious) movie Extreme Days, and we arrived in San Francisco before dinner. That night, the leaders of City Impact (the organization we were working with the whole week) explained things to us and we settled into our rooms (us girls got a room with a ping pong table, foosball, and a piano!). Every day that week except Monday and Saturday (since those were the days we arrived and left), we would be assigned to a different task for the entire day. The tasks available were working in the Rescue Mission, the thrift store, the kitchen, the school, and "Adopt a Building" (my personal favorite).

Adopt a Building (AAB) is an awesome program that City Impact started that is trying to plant churches in all of the buildings called "hotels" (they aren't actually hotels, they're more like run down apartments) where people live. We go door-to-door delivering hot meals and Gospel tracts and talking to people and, if they are open to it, praying with them. I did Adopt a Building with my friends from my church Katie, Willie, and Leonard and a guy from City Impact named Bobby on Tuesday. And let me tell you...it was awesome. First, we bought flowers for the lady workers at one of the "hotels," then we went and visited a man named Charles who Bobby had met previously. Charles is currently not a Christian but is very open to the Gospel. We brought him a Bible and did a Bible Study with him on the first three chapters in Genesis. Then, we visited a man named Luther who had intense back problems and was confined to his bed most of the time. He doesn't like to eat that much, Bobby told us, and it is obvious that he is very skinny and in poor health. He is not currently open to the Gospel, but with prayer, perhaps he will be. We got to visit his friend Carla, who proudly showed us the Bible City Impact had given her and told us that she had been reading it. We later saw Carla on the street while we were doing street ministry. We talked to a few others in the building, and then we took a break for lunch, then did hot meal deliveries in different groups. Many of the people just took the food and shut the door, but a few were open to talking, and a man named José let me and a pastor named Glenn pray for him.

That night, we went out to do street ministry, and I was put in a group with a lady named Laura (she said to call her LoLo) who has a big heart for God and for this ministry. We handed out sandwiches and talked to people, and many people let us pray with them and talk with them. Laura told us that many times when people do ministry, they say they are going to pray for someone and then forget about it. So, instead, we wrote all of the people's names down and actually prayed for them and are continuing to pray for them. If we didn't catch the person's name, we'd write something like "the man in the wheelchair" or "the girl with pink hair." That was my absolute favorite day of ministry. The night before (Monday night), I had been a bit discouraged because we didn't get to talk to many people about God. But on Tuesday, it was an amazing day of ministry, and we got to talk to so many people. When the time came for us to head back to the City Impact base, no one wanted to. So we called our pastor and decided to keep doing ministry for another hour.

There are a few stories from that night of ministry that I'd like to share with you. Your prayers for these people are so greatly appreciated.

A man named Quincy told us that it was his birthday the following day (Wednesday the 28th). Laura gave him her San Fran hat, and we sang him happy birthday as he danced. We met another man named Beau who had been separated from his daughter by his parents, who had purposefully accused him of a crime he did not commit, and desperately wanted to be reunited with his daughter.
We met many others who are desperately in need of the love of God, and it was impacting for ME to be able to pray with them and talk with them and get to know them.
Here's something funny...on Tuesday when we were doing street ministry with LoLo, we saw a dead rat (or mouse) that looked kind of like it was praying. SO, we all got around it and got a picture with it.

One thing I can't neglect to mention is that LoLo taught us a song that goes like this:

"Shing hai adoya, shing shing hai adoya, shing, shing, shing!"

Apparently someone at City Impact had made it up and they sang it a lot at the school. Our ministry team for Tuesday came into City Impact singing "shing hai adoya" :-).

Wednesday we took a free day and walked to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. We had a lot of fun going in all the shops, but the walk TO the Pier was not fun because I was (un-smartly) wearing Converse. I took them off for a bit as we walked around, but I decided to put them back on, 'cause who knows how much glass and stuff is on the ground? Actually, when we went to Ghirardelli Square, I took them off for a bit, and after I put them back on, there was a NEEDLE on the sidewalk. So, yeah...I was glad I had my Converse on then :-).

After our youth pastor purposefully got us lost in a parking garage, we went to the chocolate shop in Ghirardelli Square and sampled delicious chocolates! We went to In-N-Out Burger for lunch, and many of the kids on our team found it humorous to throw fries to the birds nearby or throw the fries at FRIENDS so that the birds would go after them! It was quite a sight, actually...And on that note, the food was great :-). That night was a worship and prayer night, and then street ministry.

Thursday we resumed regular ministry at City Impact. I decided to work in the Rescue Mission, which was an...interesting experience. I met some great people and had a good time, but helping lead worship without knowing the second song is a little out of my comfort zone ☺...In the morning, I helped arranging platters of delicious (and unhealthy) looking pastries, muffins, and all sorts of yummy stuff, and then I helped out downstairs, around the kitchen, and setting stuff up. My friend Ani and a college guy named Bobby did an opening song, "Open the Eyes of my Heart," and then a college girl named Jamie who had also arranged food on platters gave a sermon. We went back to City Impact for lunch, then returned later and helped out some more. That night, we did street ministry again.

Friday I helped in the school, City Academy. I was supposed to work with the youngest kids, but I ended up accidentally going with another group and staying with them all day ☺. But it turned out really good. 90% of the kids that come to City Academy are from the Tenderloin district (the district we were working in) and had experienced pain, sadness, neglect, etc. It was fun playing with the kids, especially three girls - Ashley, Christina, and Ajabrielle. The kids at City Academy, for some reason, liked to tell us false names for themselves (Ashley told me her name was Becky and Christina's name was Sandy). A girl named Elle Louise told me her named was Inchworm. And an adorable five-year-old (who's real name I never caught) told me my name was Leaf because she wanted to rip me up and step on me. She demonstrated this with an actual leaf.

We ate lunch with the kids, and then ended early, about 3:30 pm, because the school ends early on Fridays, apparently. Then I helped clean out the storage room (there was SO much pop in there!) and move our team's gear. We also did street ministry that night.

Saturday morning, which was my birthday ☺, after a wonderful week, we headed home. We watched "The Princess Bride." I am convinced I have the greatest friends and youth group ever. The night before, after midnight, they all sang happy birthday to me at the top of their lungs. In the bus, our youth pastor Mike got me this delish chocolate cupcake and lit matches on top, and they all sang to me. Mike got candy and snacks and we had a mini "party." It was awesome.

That night when I got home, my family, grandparents, two cousins and aunt and uncle were waiting for me with a cake. Yeah, I was surprised! I opened gifts and had dinner and some cake and a really great time. I also found out that day that I had placed 15th out of 54 in nationals in a "Patriot's Pen" writing contest. So yeah, I had an awesome day.

All in all, the week was GREAT. I learned so much - especially the power of prayer. Prayer was so vital down at City Impact, and it was extremely obvious that God was working - even in the Tenderloin. I know it has affected my personal prayer life. I was also impacted by the people on the street. I had an AMAZING time and would definitely be interested in going back.
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Molly  – (April 4, 2012 at 6:59 PM)  

That sounds so fun! I still have yet to go on a mission trip, and I honestly don't know if I would like to right now, but I believe that if God called me to do it, I would.

~Molly~

Godsgirlz1  – (April 4, 2012 at 7:19 PM)  

Sounds like you had a great time!

Natalia  – (April 5, 2012 at 12:23 PM)  

Everything sounds awesome! So, your birthday was recently? Happy birthday :)

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