Monday, November 03, 2008

Youth Group Work Trip

On Halloween morning six adults and 28 or so kids headed off in a caravan of minivans for Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was great fun. Mike’s (the pastor) goal was for us to experience different expressions of Christianity, and to help out at The Source, a ministry in the inner city. So that’s what we did! We did not get off to a stellar start, though. We stopped at Fleet Farm in Stevens Point and 2 kids tried to steal something and (thankfully) got caught. After the filing of the police report and some intense discussion, it was decided that we would head on (and the kids’ folks would deal with them on our return). I was personally really glad the kids were still along, and I’m hoping God used the experiences from the rest of the weekend in their lives.
  • Hope Academy: a couple moved to a rough neighborhood quite a few years ago. They started feeling guilty that we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves” yet they were commuting their kids out of the neighborhood for a better education than their neighbors could afford. Because of that conviction, they started up a school which now has I’m guessing 300-500 K-9th graders. We joined them as they were having a fall carnival with their kids and needed folks to help man the duck ponds and musical chairs and other stuff. We had a great time, and thought the kids there were fun and very well behaved.
  • The Basilica of St. Mary: on our way to drop off our stuff at First Baptist, we stopped for 45 minutes or so at the Basilica to wander around and take some quiet moments before the trip really got going. There is some amazing architecture there that I could look at all day, and it was nice to have the time for reflection.
  • Christian Rock concert at Club 3 Degrees: yeah. I had fun playing pool with some kids down in the basement. :)
  • The Source: I just like this one. It's a group of people that has set up an art community in one of the more sketchy neighborhoods, and just does neat stuff. We did similar projects to last year - I got to help hang insulation and drywall (hooray!). The kids worked so hard and were just awesome to be with throughout the day.
  • Wooddale: A wealthier mega-church in the 'burbs. They graciously allow us to hang out in their youth room, shower, and eat pizza (yippee!). It's a beautiful facility, and a nice place to wind up. Unfortunately, we were at The Source too long to be able to make their Sat. evening service.
  • First Baptist Church: This is the cool old church where we crash both nights: they let us use their Sunday School rooms to sleep in. On Sat. night, Mike gathered us to read and discuss The Irresistible Revolution - good, thought provoking stuff. We then split into smaller groups to discuss it and pray for each other - the highlight of the weekend for me. Then the kids took on the challenge of a scavenger hunt - Mike hid bags of candy throughout the huge, crazy church, and the kids spent probably 2+ hours searching for it.
All in all, a great weekend - and it's especially good fun to meet more kids and hear about what's going on in their lives. Really does make me think about volunteering more regularly with the group....

Photo 1: playing cutthroat pool with Tanner & Sam - Sam's taunting me because he's so intimidated by my mad pool skillz
Photo 2: this one's for Amy. :)
Photo 3: the group after a hard day's work

More photos (with kids' comments!) here.

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