Deep

Deep Thursday was our last day of service for STL 19. Thursday is DEEP into the week. Our jokes are DEEPER, our service moves DEEPER into the community, our bonds are DEEPER, our care is DEEPER.

Thursday was leg day, every day is leg day! 🤣 Lauren has a knack for dramatically overexerting herself then sheepishly looking for approval to be done…keep working, but thanks for the material for our resident impersonator Matthew. 🤣 Mía got a bug bite on her butt that made her butt uneven…we didn’t see, it but that must have been an impressive bug! 🤣 Kyle announced to us that he must be pregnant – that explains the ridiculously absurd and unusual cravings he’s eaten this week often involving pickles, hot sauce, and sweets. 🤣 This and so much more led to DEEP belly laughs, but maybe you had to be there!

Our final day of service started on an urban farm where we were thankful the mercury in the thermometer fell a bit DEEPER and we had a little reprieve from the scorching heat advisory. It was simply summertime hot. The urban farms give refugees and immigrants opportunities to farm -connecting them with the earth and their home cultures of Eastern Africa and South Central America, and the ability to grow food that can’t be found in stores. The cost of urban farming is astounding so the organization requires funding from DEEP pockets in order to remediate contaminated city soil. The lot we worked had a 3-4 foot DEEP layers of wood-chips as the first step of the remediation process. Pulling weeds from wood chips can be easier than dry, hard soil; but, the roots run DEEP and can be entangled in old tree roots and sticks. There was a large patch of grass that took massive team work with about 15 of us working together to untangle and pull out the roots all the while the experience was entangling our lives with each other more and more and helping our youth grow DEEPER.

We also served at a senior living center playing a cheerful word game, word puzzle, and sing a long. I know that sounds like a slow, boring afternoon – we thought so too. But, we dug down DEEP and went in with a smile. The youth paired up with residents and sat sometimes on their laps, sometimes an arm around them. They came up with cheerful words, made words out of the letters in the word beautiful, and sang songs together from the 1920’s Singin in the Rain, to the Beatles Love Me Do, to the rap I Love My Mom (my new favorite song), and Taylor Swift’s newest, Me! We took a little break to welcome home and congratulate the newly crowned 98 year old Miss Senior Missouri. Aside from having fun, conversations and connection happened bringing a pure DEEP joy that was visible in the change of expressions & body language and the challenge of saying good-byes and getting the residents to their 4:30 dinner and our youth to the bus. They returned to the bus having touch lived and been touched. They left behind joy and their necklaces marking God’s love DEEP at work in STL.

For an afternoon snack there was no need to dig DEEP at 7-11 as we enjoyed the free slushies!

For dinner we joined the other work group at a homeless shelter and filled our bellies down DEEP with spaghetti and ice cream. We were under the rule of 5 year old King Patrick who informed us that Jesus was coming back as Sidney!

No STL visit is complete without visiting the iconic Gateway Arch that rises up from DEEP in the ground to 630 feet in the sky. We enjoyed the views from below only after we drove circles around downtown getting blocked by flood walls due to the DEEP waters of the Mississippi and walked here, there, and everywhere in search of the bathrooms. We wised up and had the drivers get the buses and pick us up so Robbie didn’t have to crutch a mile back. The kids frolicked in the water fountain as the sun set on the day and our mission trip. The colors lit up the sky much the same as our youth lit up STL and all those we served this week.

Our last evening in AMEN house closed with our devotion on Ephesians 4:2. It was amazing to hear how DEEPLY the youth have grown as they shared where they saw God on the move this week learning, serving, growing, and setting the world on fire with our love.

In the 21st century of highly competitive everything and technology in every room and every hand, it’s not often we get to truly PLAY. To cap off the week and leave any bits of remaining energy in STL, we spent the morning at The City Museum. We dug DEEP into our early childhood years to climb, explore, seek, scoot, slide, slither, crawl, twist, turn, and bend our way through whatever the next turn threw our way. There is no map. Much like life, you may have an “idea” of where you are going but you do not know the exact route. There is not a direct route. But, it’s a whole lot more fun if you accept the adventure by embracing and enjoying each new thing you encounter along the way. The morning will leave some DEEP bruises but also some DEEP memories from the smiles and accomplishments of going down the 10 story slide and making it up to the airplane wings.

Their love for God is DEEP

Their care for each other was DEEP

The joy they shared was DEEP

The service came from DEEP within

The memories run DEEP

The connections are DEEP

GCC should be be DEEPLY proud, I know I am.

Thank you

parents for sharing your youth,

youth for sharing your time,

friends for following along.

Tonight my sleep will surely be DEEP!

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