June 28, 2014
Today we were fortunate enough to take part in a beautiful ministry called Mercy Community Church. Mercy Church has a congregation composed primarily of people struggling with homelessness. During my experience at Mercy, the face of God became prevalent to me in various places. I saw God through the actions and passion of the 2 pastors of the church as they led us in worship. One of these pastors was an ordained Presbyterian minister! I saw God in the heart of a man struggling with homelessness who rescued a dog, and committed to feeding it when the owner himself was often without food. I also saw God through the mannerisms of a 1 1/2 year old boy who was homeless, and who was the happiest child I had ever seen. He said thank you to people who did nice things for him and he offered me some of his cheerios. This experience left me with so much. Kevin, one of the men we met today, asked that we work on “reducing the distance” between ourselves and the homeless community. Through this experience, I learned that we can do that. -Elizabeth P.
June 27, 2014
1) In our bible study at Mercy Church we rewrote Psalm 23. We meshed as a community of believers our understanding of scripture into this.
The Holy Spirit is our shepherd as we walk through the system. We will gather together as often as possible to eat together and enjoy one another’s company as church so all will feel included. We will practice being good, healthy community inside the church so we can better be good, healthy community outside the church. We will also sing together to praise God and become more unified as a community.
2) Psalm 23. This is the version we read in our bible study
The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He lets me rest in grassy meadows. He leads me to the restful waters; He keeps me alive. He guides me in proper paths for the sake of his good name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no danger because you are with me. Your rod and your staff — they protect me. You set a table for me right in front of my enemies. You bathe my head in oil; my cup is so full it spills over! yes, goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the LORD’s house as long as I live.
3) the Homeless Psalm was written by Lynda Baker. Linda was an active part of the Mercy Church community. Linda passed away about a year ago but wrote this before she passed.
The system is my shepherd, I lack everything that I need. The system makes me lie down on the concrete. The system tells me that I am not good enough for its water. The system slowly destroys my soul. Yea, though I daily walk through the system’s wastelands, the system still tries to destroy me. Their constant hounding and no sleep do not comfort me. The system doesn’t do anything for me, my cup is surely dry. Surely hatred and intolerance shall follow me all the days of my life in the system. And I shall dwell in the house of lack forever.
June 26, 2014
Today we went to the Mennonite farm just outside of Atlanta. There we met some inspirational people who told us about the different ways the farm gets involved in the community; from day camps for kids to a neighborhood garden they would be opening soon.
We cleared bush, pulled weeds, chopped down trees, fed farm animals, and broke down a barn so that the materials could be reused. The work was exhausting but very rewarding knowing that we had helped the farm and the neighborhood. -adele
What a day! Thanks be to God for safety, energy and dedication! God was surely present with enthusiasm at our work site notwithstanding a 7+ hour workday in the heat as we mixed concrete, moved it by wheelbarrow to the kitchen we were working on and then, using buckets, lifted it to the roof.
As the roof was being completed, we spontaneously broke out in song, making a joyful noise to the Lord. We saw God in how we worked side by side with Ovet, the host family, and the Mexican masons, overcoming our communication challenges.
God was certainly present at the end of our evening devotions as we all came together in song (led by Elizabeth Raby and a student at VIM) and had a big adios group hug with everyone at VIM. Thanks be to God for this day!
– Group “Frasier and the Jets”
June 25, 2014
When it comes to marriage, what is the Bible most concerned about? What is the biblical model for marriage?
Can anyone ever live up to that model? If not, what does that mean for couples who decide to commit their lives to one another?
In our state, country, and, now, our Presbyterian (USA) denomination, there has been a raging debate about same-sex marriage.
What might this debate reveal for us about how we understand marriage in general?
So mainly this entire week is about serving others. It’s about giving ourselves to the people around us and especially those on the margins. We were asked to “give” something to one of the people we meet this week. It doesn’t matter where …. it might be at a soup kitchen or at a men/women and children’s shelter. Some of the things people chose to “give out” are hugs, smiles, to be a friend, etc. I didn’t see God in a certain place….but he helped me decide something that I might not have been able to decide on to “give” and I’m thankful for that. But later this week we will be having some free time and visiting some other places and I’m excited to see how that’s going to go!!
Another beautiful display of teamwork and camaraderie at VIM today! God was ever-present as our youth worked together in helping to complete the roof of the kitchen building at VIM. God is here in our fellowship with our hosts and shining in the eyes if the children attending VBS. In spite of a language barrier there is the universal communication that is the Holy Spirit. This is the Holy Highway that our youth are treading.
– Work Group “Team Sebo”
June 24, 2014
World Cup game! Cheering on US from Mexico!!
Today was a special day in Mexico as it was our first day hosting Vacation Bible School. The youth really enjoyed interacting with the village children. God’s footprints were evident in the children’s laughter and smiles. The group continued working hard and succeeded getting 28 17-ft cement poles positioned to start the roof on the dining hall. The unusually breezy day was definitely enjoyed by all.
– Small Group “7 Dwarfs”
Upon arriving at the Gateway Center on Monday morning, I was assigned to give manicures to clients, which is what the homeless members that visited the Center were called. One older man who looked to be in his 50s wandered over to us and asked for us to file and buff his nails. As we started to file them, we asked him where he was from. He told us he was from Pennsylvania, then eagerly began to explain his early fascination with cars. As he got deeper and deeper into the details about his cars from the 80s, the best I could do was smile and nod, as I had no idea what cars he was talking about, and didn’t understand any of the car parts he was talking about either (maybe I’m just not good with cars, but now that I think about it, the cars he was taking about were from almost 20 years before I was born). But I guess that was all he really needed; someone to listen to him and just smile and make him feel like the important, beautiful, child of God that he is. Maybe that’s what we all just need sometimes: someone to talk to, and just smile and nod and make us feel loved. – Abigail