Saturday, June 13, 2015

2015 Mission Trip: Tulsa, Oklahoma

June 8-12, around 130 members of the SunRise youth group (and adult volunteers) served in the surrounding communities of Tulsa, OK. I originally wanted to vlog the entire time but once I got there I decided to just embrace the experience without a camera. 

Day #1: We drove, and drove, and drove. We left a little after 9:30 and arrived at the Verdigris Schools (where we "lived" the entire trip) around 5:00. 

Day #2: Our first day of serving occurred at the Wah-Zha-Zhi Youth Academy. I worked at the Bible station, where we handed out Bibles to kids who may or may not have had them. It was amazing to see some of the kids eyes light up when they got them. A lot of the kids asked if they could keep them multiple times, and we kept reassuring them that those Bibles were theirs. 

The youth group with some of the kids

Day #3: The second day of serving, we went to the Salvation Army to put on a worship service and our concert, and serve food to the homeless. At lunch, we served over 600+ people, and then ourselves after, too. 

We didn't have a lot of photos at the homeless shelter because a lot of times, the homeless don't want pictures of themselves unless the individually ask. I do, however, have a funny photo of our entire group after serving on Day #2.

Day #4: Our third and final day of serving was spent at the United Methodist Children's Home in Tahlequah. Some boys went to the United Methodist Boys Ranch in Gore, before joining the rest of the group at the Children's Home in the afternoon. For me this was the most impactful day. For the past four years I've gone on mission trip and each year at the Children's Home I never make a connection with the kids. Around 25 minutes in I was helping a little girl make a pillow and she introduced me to her brother (who was actually her foster brother). The little girl was attached to my friend Allie, and her brother wanted me to go play a game with him. Right after the game, he was attached at the hip to me. Before lunch he kept telling me that I had to sit with him and lunch and continuously asking me where I was going. It was absolutely the sweetest thing. He introduced me to his foster mom and everything. A lot of the youth group had their "Subject to Change" retreat bags from last year with them, and he pointed it out and said he wanted a bag. I didn't bring my bag, but my mom did, so I asked if I could put her stuff in my bag and give her's to him (hopefully that wasn't confusing). His face lit up, and I was so happy that such a small thing, like a draw string bag could make his day. He also had me sign the pillow he made so that he'd always remember me, and we also took a picture together so that, as he said, I would always look at it and remember him. The concert we performed there was most definitely the best concert we ever performed because every single child ended up on stage singing and performing.

We thought all of our service was done, but God had other plans. Some adults saw an older man across the street where we were staying struggling to mow his lawn. We gathered a group of kids to help him out, thinking it would only be a one hour ordeal. When we got up close we realized that the "1 foot tall" grass was actually 3 foot tall grass. While I was doing work in the backyard I almost stepped got into some poison ivy, and also almost picked up a spider's nest. However, the end result made it all worth it.

Before: 



After: 


Day #5: We drove, and drove, and drove. It took us around 9 hours to get home because we made a detour in Joplin, where we went on mission trip four years ago, and then again three years ago. There is a tree in Joplin that, when the tornado hit, had an 18-wheeler wrapped around it. We came back to visit the spot and pray over it.




I'm glad to be back home and sleep in my own bed, and this mission trip made me value what I have that much more.

Until next time,
Taylor xx

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