This week, Britt and I took a group of 10 of our youth to Nashville. Let me tell you…. It was GREAT! Actually, I don’t think that great even covers it. Fabulous, phenomenal, wonderful, awesome, inspiring.. The list could go on for a while. This post is going to basically just cover what we did. I’m going to have another post to cover the rest of the stuff.
We left the big town of Madison on Sunday afternoon. We ate dinner and did a bit of line dancing at the Wild Horse Saloon. It was great. Everyone was out on the floor learning to dance and then just goofing off. (I believe one of our girls even did her own odd version of the chicken dance.)
Monday, we got up and headed to Second Harvest Food Bank, where we sorted food in the cooler.
These kids worked their booties off in this cooler. We had no idea what we would be doing and none of us were prepared for the cold, but we all just complained to each other, got over it, and kept working as hard as we could.
After lunch, we went to Nashville Rescue Mission
. This place is so awesome! We were taken down to the basement where their warehouse is located and were introduced to B.B., a resident of their men’s program who also works in the warehouse and helps to keep everything organized and running smoothly. Our job with him that day was to move and re-stack mattresses.
When we finished with the mattresses, B.B. told us his story and how he came to be at the Mission. He was really the first person the kids got to meet who told them a story very different from their own. B.B. had struggled with drugs, homelessness, and was able to turn around and begin to repair his life with the help of the Mission.
B.B. also took us on a tour of their facilities and explained how their program worked and showed us, I am going to call it the Hall of Honors, where they have hung pictures of all of the graduates of their program. The kids were so amazed at how many men had been helped by the program.
Monday night, we just had a fun night and had dinner and played at Dave & Busters and then went to see a movie. I and some of the girls went to see Maleficent (AMAZING), while two other groups saw Blended and Godzilla.
Tuesday was such a long, but fun day. We met the folks from Mission 615
and helped with a Sidewalk Sunday School for kids in a low income neighborhood. They were split into small groups and went knocking on doors and ended up bringing in about 50 kids. I’m not sure if the little kids or our big kids had more fun.
Tuesday night, y’all…. that’s where most of our kids came in contact with homelessness for the first time ever. The Bridge
is a ministry that provides food and other resources to the homeless. We met under the Jefferson Bridge in Nashville. Homeless people in Nashville know that every Tuesday, they can come here and have a hot meal and get free groceries. There was a huge trailer full of produce, drinks, bread, etc. which we and other volunteers unloaded and organized. After the meal and worship service, the people line up and are able to receive things from sodas, to strawberries, to lettuce, to tomatoes, to squash, to bread, to raspberries, to corn…. you name it, most likely they have it. Most of the people who came down our line were so gracious and thankful. A few gave us or other volunteers a bit of a hard time, but I have to say that for a few of our youth, it was a HUGE turning point. They were able to put faces to real people in need and were able to actually help these people and to see their work go to good use.
Wednesday, we met up again with Mission 615 and did some more outreach around the library in downtown Nashville. The kids were split into groups, again, and were sent out to just talk to people and tell them about Mission 615’s worship services and free meals on Saturdays. They were even able to pray with some of the people they met. That night, we had our own small worship service and shared communion.
On the way home Thursday, we went white water rafting. I’m not going to lie…. I was terrified. This was the first time I’ve ever been and it was a blast. For those of you who know Reilly, you won’t be surprised that she fell off on the very last rapid which is named, Hell’s Hole. She went in Reilly style: Head first. Even more unsurprising, she got back in the raft laughing.
After being on the bus with Sam (our resident ginger and DJ) all week, I almost couldn’t handle getting into my car this afternoon to head to Greensboro. There wasn’t anyone to “Turn up” in the back. Good grief, this kid kept me laughing the whole trip.
Stay tuned for The Awakening: Part 2. It will cover what we taught, what they learned, what they taught me, and anything else I left out of this post.
(Originally posted on my old blog on June 20, 2014)