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Tag: Atlanta

June 22, 2016
ID-10026194
Photo by Nuchylee

During last week’s mission trip to Atlanta, six First Pres middle schoolers wrote prayers to capture their reactions to all that they had experienced and learned. Excerpts of their prayers are found in this week’s issue of FirstNEWS. Here are their prayers.

Gracious God, Watch over all your children in the days to come but in particular watch over those who are struggling with homelessness, who are out on the streets, weary, hot, and in despair. And in particular, watch over those individuals we have met this week, over Teddy, and Davis, and the Cleveland Cav fan, Isaiah and his brother, the fortune teller, and those at the Urban Recipe who are working so hard to provide for their families. Keep us always mindful of them: help us to keep it going.

Lord, hear our prayer.

I pray that people struggling in any way will have faith that everything will be all right. I pray that one day, the violence that has emerged on this planet will cease. I pray that people will learn to love one another regardless of how they look, their sexuality, or their beliefs.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Help our friends on the street find guidance to a better life. Make sure that no one else enters homelessness. Help the hurting and the sick get over their troubles.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Thank you for all that we have. And please help all of our friends to guide them to getting a job. Help them off the street and under a shelter. Give them water to cool themselves off and quench their thirst on these hot days. And food to feed them.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Please be with us as we go out into the world. We pray for those who are experiencing homelessness, we pray for the people that are ill/sick.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Please be with those at Loaves & Fishes, Urban Recipe, and Gateway. Also please be with those who are out on the streets tonight living an unfair and “abnormal” life. Also please be with those sick and injured and need your help. Help these people to take flight. Also help me with my worries and stress and to have a safe rest of the trip. Be with those to not be afraid at night and help them to find food resources in the morning.

Lord, hear our prayer.

Please be with all the homeless people who are on the street with nowhere to go. Please help me, Lord, with not getting homesick…Thank you for giving me a roof over my head and food in my belly. Thank you, Lord, for everything.

Lord, hear our prayer.

I pray that I will not go home and return to status quo but rather that I have the faith to see and the courage to do what is right. I pray that I remember.

Lord, hear our prayer.  Lord, please hear our prayer. 

In the strong name of Christ, Amen.

June 19, 2016

atlanta final croppedI saw God in almost everything we did this week, but especially in the people we met and worked with. I loved how grateful and happy most of our neighbors that were struggling with homelessness were to see us helping. I thought it was so amazing that even in their situation, they were so thankful and kind.

Overall, this week was an awesome week and I learned so much about life in general from so many different people. I learned that I might have been on this trip to help others but they certainly helped me by sharing their stories and
faithfulness.

– Cam

June 17, 2016

Youth Mission 2016 farm5Today we got to be in God’s garden and see God’s miracle workers.

I saw God through the earth while digging the potatoes for those who need at a community food bank.  It was fresh and nourishing food for people eat.

Youth Mission 2016 farmingI saw God as I learned about Medshare through the kind world healers as we sorted and packaged medical equipment.  It was wonderful to know that this  medical equipment was saving people’s lives throughout the world with all the perfectly good equipment that was being thrown away in the United States.

God’s magic had been so many places throughout this week that I can’t count. God is the light through which us youth have seen and experienced through remarkable healing, love, and transformation.

– Addie

June 15, 2016

Youth Mission 2016 homeless centerToday we went to Urban Recipe* and Gateway**.  Both of these experiences moved me.

At Urban Recipe I saw Christ when everybody was working together to get food for them, their families and other families. There were no problems and everybody respected everyone else.

At Gateway, I saw Christ in a woman’s story. She had worked there for three years and she was homeless for four weeks when she ran away from her father after he called her names from the pulpit in church. This was one of the worst things to be in their church. I respected because she was trying to help people who might be in the same position as she was in her childhood.

Then it rained and we had to run back to the church.

After today I feel like I understand that there is a story behind every person that shaped who they are and where they live.

– Ross

* Urban Recipe’s food co-ops for low income families provide a unique alternative to many traditional food-centered ministries. Under our model, each family we serve becomes a member of a 50 family food co-op that meets every other week and is convened completely by the members themselves. Because of the consistency and sense of ownership the model offers, our co-ops not only provide food security for those in need, but are a place where relationships are formed, dignity is affirmed and community is strengthened.”

** The Gateway Center is designed to serve as the “gateway” to the community continuum of care that helps individuals move out of homelessness. GWC provides over 330 places for men who enter into programs geared to address the underlying reasons for their homelessness, such as unemployment, addictions, mental illness or domestic abuse.”

June 14, 2016

Atlanta mission trip 2016 1Day 2 of Middle School Mission Trip to Atlanta With eyes wide open: I saw God in Martin Luther King Jr’s life and everything he stood for.

Martin Luther King Jr wanted freedom and respect for ALL people.  I saw God in the people that we served breakfast to. God uses every person and loves every person the same.

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 26, 2014

ImageToday 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.Image

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

#middleschoolmission

June 25, 2014

Giving ... seeing God ... being thankful ...

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!!
Elizabeth R.

June 23, 2014

This is the first installment of our summer youth mission trip series. The middle and high school youth will spend time this year in with our mission partners at VIM in Mexico and with DOOR in Atlanta. Please keep an eye on the blog for updates on their travels, their work, and the ways they see God’s hand and love in our world.

On our first day in Atlanta, I was already very moved. As soon as we turned the corner toward the church we saw lines of struggling homeless people laying outside. I was confused at first but soon learned the church lets them sleep there every night. They kept each of their spaces so clean and it was almost as if they had their own room. We began distributing sandwiches and came across a kind homeless couple. They sang us three songs, all about having trust in God. I believe God was truly shining through them that they had close to nothing and they knew God would provide. – Kate