“God is going to wreck your life this week.”
by Olivia Hill
Well folks, we’ve safely made it home after our week-long mission trip to Denver. When we left off with blog post updates, we were about ready to start the poverty simulation. Now, due to some confidentiality agreements, we’re not allowed to go into great detail about the simulation, but we’ll give you a quick overview of what it was like, how we felt, and more importantly, what we learned.
From 4pm on Friday until 12:30pm on Sunday, we were, for all intensive purposes, homeless. With little more than the clothes on our backs, we wandered around the city. Dave gave us a map with “safe places” to sleep and eat for the night, but little more as far as guidance goes. That night we all slept on the hard pavement. Some of us had sleeping bags and blankets and some didn’t. It was rough for all of us, to say the least.
The next day, we were sore, tired, and beginning to feel the frustrations of being homeless. Throughout the day, Dave gave us tasks to complete and places to be at specific times. As the day wore on, we became more weary and frustrated than ever before. But even through that, we were able to see hope, whether it came through talking to a real homeless woman and hearing her story, playing chess (and losing) with a homeless man, or just realizing how we have Christ’s love to keep us going. We knew that in a few more hours, it would all be over for us. But it wouldn’t be for them, and that realization was probably the most humbling and hard to accept.
After an exhausting Saturday, we found ourselves looking forward to another rough night of sleep ahead of us. However, 2/3 of us were able to sleep indoors at the “shelter” for the night. The gentlemen opted to stay outside so most of the ladies could sleep on mattresses. The next morning, all we had on our agenda was to attend Providence Bible Church. In the same dirty, smelly clothes we had been wearing for the past two days, we worshiped with the congregation. The drama team was even able to perform our Lifehouse skit again for them. Rachel and Aaron were able to give short testimonies of what we’d been through this week and some passages from Scripture to the congregation. We recognized people we had seen on the streets, as well as kids from the Bible Clubs. But finally, the church service was over and we were allowed to go back home to Jackson Street, shower, and head back to Encompass for lunch and a debriefing of the week.
We all shared our thoughts on the week, how it has changed us, and what we’ll do in our community because of how we’ve been changed. We became so much closer as a youth group and as friends through this trip. We’ve laughed, cried, and really become a family.
Mission Denver then was officially over. Dave invited us over to his house in the evening for a bonfire, but first, we drove up to Mt. Evans. (You can’t go to Colorado without seeing the mountains!) It was breathtaking, but we were soon ready to go back down—the winds were vicious up there! We got back to Jackson Street after the bonfire at Dave’s and went straight to bed, exhausted and glad to sleep in a familiar place. However, I’m sure we were all even more thankful to make it home on Monday evening, after a 13 hour drive.
When we first met Dave, he told us, “God is going to wreck your life this week.” Looking back on our time in Denver, I believe He did just that. The memories and friendships that have blossomed from this trip will be impossible to forget, but much more than that, I believe we all have seen God breaking down the barriers between each other, within ourselves, and with Him. There’s so much that we’ve learned from this trip, and we’d like thank everyone for their support, either financially or through prayers. To end this blog post saga, I’ll close with our Mission Denver 2011 team verse:
If anyone has the world’s good and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)
You can learn more about Mission Denver at missiondenver.org.