Mission Denver 2011 – Update 2

Posted: June 22, 2011 in Mission Denver

“Quiet down, fish!”

by Olivia Hill

Well, we’re up for our second update during break time for the Mission Denver team, and we’ve got plenty more shenanigans and adventures to talk about.

When we left off, we were just about ready to start setting up for what we’ve been working for and anticipating the most—the Bible Clubs. We scavenged the neighborhood once more for kids, as others set up canopies and the sound system. For the first 20 minutes, we played kickball with kids and had lots of fun. Then it was time for the official “program” to begin. Around 25 kids were sitting under canopies waiting to learn from us. From the worship team to the drama team, everything was super high energy, which the kids seemed to enjoy.  The drama team acted out the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace.  After that, Dave Cederquist got up to share the “good news” about Jesus with the kids. Some knew the story, some didn’t, and some didn’t even speak English, but we were just excited that kids came.

After we wrapped up the clubs, we were able to hang out with the kids in the park, paint their faces, and talk with them. Some of us were really able to latch onto one certain kid that they really connected with.  And many of them confirmed that they were coming back tomorrow —and bringing friends! We’re so excited to see how tonight’s club turns out.

When we were all packed up, we talked about the night with Dave. Looking back, we packed our day so full of stuff that it feels more like five days rather than just one and a half. The leaders and students alike all felt excited and empowered by all that we had accomplished in one day of missions work. We went to bed tired, but content.

This morning, a few of us went to the men’s shelter bright and early at 5:30am. Now we’ve all had the opportunity to serve the homeless food and interact with them more. Just like yesterday, we had breakfast, devos, and then set off to Encompass (the community center) to learn from Dave. The topic was poverty. At first, he had us list what misconceptions we had when we think of the word “poverty.” Dirty, violent, lazy, proud, and desperate were some of the descriptions. Dave showed us all that poverty is actually “the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of peace in all its meaning.”

Dave then had us look at the four main relationships that all people have: with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the rest of creation. We learned through this that we’re all in poverty according to this definition. We are no different from those dirty, greasy men and women living on the street. We all need God’s grace and to fix our relationships with God, with ourselves, with other people, and with the rest of creation. It was an eye-opening experience. If we could create pure unity within our Mission Denver team, perhaps we could change our youth group, then perhaps our church, and then the community. The simplicity of his proposal was all about building and growing relationships.

We were given some time after to eat lunch and prepare for going to help with the Summer Reading Program. However, this is our first bump in the road. Unfortunately we were unable to help out with the program because of mixed schedules and bad communication. Therefore, we had three hours of free time. But we didn’t waste it. Instead, Dave proposed that we go door-to-door and ask if we could be of any help or service to the people of the community. Mowing lawns, pulling weeds, cleaning houses – whatever we could do.  Some of us were able to help out by pulling weeds and cleaning up some of the neighbors’ yards. Even though we weren’t able to do what we planned, we were still able to serve the community.

When we reconvened at Encompass, we were able to hear the amazing story of a man named Walmart. Yes, Walmart. He told us about the gangs he had been involved in while living in Texas, prison, riots, and how he had been in the hospital for 17 days and almost died. This man, with only a ninth grade education, told us, a huge smile on his face, all about how Jesus Christ changed his life. His knowledge of the Bible was incredible to say the least. He really impacted all of us in a way we did not expect.

And we’ve caught up again. We’re just about to run out the door for dinner and to set up for our second night of Bible Clubs. Thanks again for all the loving support from all you! We’re going sing Disney songs in “The Beauty” and “The Beast” now!

  1. Deb says:

    Thanks so much for keeping us informed regarding your activities. It helps us to hone our prayers for you and Mission Denver! God Bless!

  2. Dave Hill says:

    Please explain “Quiet down, fish”! We got a call today from one of the team and she was actually very excited, even with the lack of sleep she generally needs. You are all in our prayers, Dave
    Very nice job Olivia, you write like your mom.

  3. jennyjoline says:

    I love these daily updates – so interesting to read & exciting to hear what you are experiencing & learning. I have been praying for the Bible clubs tonight & look forward to hearing about how it went. Love you all!!

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