Note from Sam: Sorry, this post is a couple days late. Really I just wasn’t ready to admit that our trip was over.
Kenzie (8th grade): On Friday we went to Country Music Hall of Fame. There was a Taylor Swift room and of course we were in there the longest. Then we recorded T Swift songs. Below or above is one of the recordings. Some of us got things at the gift shop. The church treated us to Jeni’s ice cream. Then we had lunch back at the house. We got to the lake and it was amazing. We skipped rocks, raced, showed our swimming off, TikTok’s, and much more. We sadly had to leave. Then we went to a book store for more souvenirs. We picked up Hattie B’s hot chicken for dinner. We all did our cleaning jobs. Then a quick round of catch phase and Mao. Dominic taught us officially how to play Mao. Then we headed to bed. We found out who the sleep talker was during the night but what happens on the mission trip stays on the mission trip. We woke up and packed the bus and started the journey back home. Before leaving the city we made a couple stops the first of which was to visit our friend, Walter, and pick up some copies of the current issue of the Contributor. Then Heather and Christina treated us to Five Daughter Donuts. Then back on the bus we are. BeReal update above or below. Overall best trip ever thanks to Sam, Taylor, and Dominic.
Laila (8th Grade): So my day started of getting up at 8 (we got to sleep in!)and then after that we ate breakfast and went to the Vandeerbilt campus. After went back home to say bye to Brenna sadly:( After that we went to Shower the People and tie dye! Last but not least we went to Safe Haven to pack school supplies!!
Kenzie (8th Grade): We all sadly had to say goodbye to our amazing Brenna. Today we went to Shower the People and tie dyed towels for people experiencing homelessness. I filed up bottles of tie dye and brought them outside to everyone. I love how we all got to use our creativeness on the towels. After that we headed back to our house and ate lunch. We went to Safe Haven and organized and carried school supplies. They had yummy pizza for us for dinner then we continued with organizing. We got on the bus and had our necessary Target run. Then got back to the house and had devotions. We all ended the night with some chores and then hit the hay. Update on BeReal above or below.
Taylor (College Sophomore): Taylor: Day 4! Today we woke up and had the morning free so some stayed back and others went to Vandy. After that we all went to Shower the People to tie dye towels for people experiencing homelessness. After that we went to Safe Haven to finish our day sorting school supplies. We ate dinner there and had some nice conversations. Came back and had a good devotion. It was a good day!
Kenzie (8th grade): We started off to day at the Contributor by serving breakfast to people that experience homelessness. I had the chance to be able to get to know a few of the people working for the Contributor that experience homelessness. We hopped in the bus and headed to the warehouse called Shower the People. We organized shower and hygiene products. We then headed to Mother to Mother where some of us folded baby clothes and sorted them. Others (me included) were carrying boxes and bins full of anything you could think of for a new mothers to load onto trucks to take to the community. I thought it was so amazing how so many people were dropping off donations while we were there for only around 3 hours. One fun thing I would like to share with you all is our BeReals on the trip. Let me explain what is first. It’s an app that gives you a random notification during the day to take a picture from the front and back of your camera. It’s a fun app to see what everyone is up to during the day. Down below are our BeReals so far. Today and this trip has been such a great experience and I’m excited to see what Thursday brings for us all.
Selena (8th grade): Today in the morning we went to the Contributor, and that is a newspaper where people experiencing homelessness were the vendors. We served breakfast, while they had one of their first vendor meetings after Covid. After that we went to the warehouse of Shower the People, and we helped them sort and pack hygiene kits and dental kits. When we finished our lunch on the go, we went to Mother to Mother where they give supplies to low income moms for them and their children. During our Connect time with Hope, we talked about how when you are connected and you do something, everyone you’re connected to is affected by your actions. While we were still connected with the string we made a map of our area, and while we did that we looked for ties to Nashville.
Sam (7th grade): What I found exiting was talking to people experiencing homelessness. I liked listening to their stories and how they are. A card game I found exiting was the game Mao, it’s a really fun game.
Dominic (College Sophomore): So we definitely had an interesting day today for the mission trip. After waking up 30 minutes late and having to rush out of the church, I was positive that the youth would be dead tired, unenthusiastic, and overall not happy to be there, but they proved the opposite. It was amazing to watch the youth jump into their work serving breakfast to the vendors working for the street paper The Contributor, and just forming connections with everyone they met. Afterwards, we took a quick trip over to Shower the People, and organization which focuses on delivering hygiene and dental products to people on the streets experiencing homelessness, as well as providing a place to shower and get cleaned up in a converted bus which now holds 2 functional showers. Although it was slightly tedious, the group worked hard organizing various hygiene products so other groups could put them into the care packages which would be distributed. Our final stop of the day was Mother to Mother, a group which accepts and redistributes products for mothers including diapers, toys, clothes, etc, where we worked for a few hours and filled an entire van and U-Haul with supplies for a trip they are taking tomorrow. To end the day, the group did an exercise in which we were all connected with a piece of yarn, and then drew a map of our home and church to show the importance and consequence of connection. It was a long, worked filled day, with lots of heavy lifting and sweating, but these youth stepped up, even under the circumstances, and took the challenge to heart and did some truly incredible work.
Today the youth of Geist Christian Church woke up at 7:00am. We made our own breakfast before heading out for our adventure! Our pit stop was to The Contributor, a newspaper that employs people experiencing homelessness giving them an opportunity to own their own business. There we moved old newspapers out and brought new ones inside. After work we went to the Parthenon at Centennial Park and saw a statue of Athena that was really big, really tall, and really shiny. She is the goddess of war and she had a big shield with a weird face on it (it’s tongue was sticking out), a spear, and a snake.
After lunch we headed downtown to the Nashville Library. There we met Lindsey and Terry from Open Table Nashville. We spent the afternoon walking around the streets and talking about how much the community has changed and pushed people who are experiencing homelessness out. They have taken out benches and made laws that make it a felony to sleep outside. They have basically taken rights away from people experiencing homelessness. Then we played some games to put things into perspective. The first game showed us how it might feel like to be homeless and how lucky we are to have the families and resources that we have. The second game was a version of musical chairs that showed us how people can get their homes and resources taken away by increased prices and developers.
To wrap our day of working we got ice cream at Bobby’s Dairy Dip and went back to make dinner for Taco Tuesday!! It was a great day! (we had a taco stuffed animal mascot provided by Laila)
Brenna (8th grade): Today, I woke up peacefully. I made myself some breakfast, and some lunch. We got on the bus. Then we dropped the boys off to help prep food at Luke 14:12, a nonprofit here in Nashville. After we got to the destination we saw a dog named Wrigley. Then we headed to Safe Haven, a shelter home for families experiencing homelessness. We moved school supplies into the van. After we got to the destination we unloaded. After we unloaded all the school supplies we reloaded the van with housing stuff for a family. After that, we went to go get the boys. On todays mission I learned that stereotypes about people experiencing homelessness are not true at all.
Laila (8th grade): Today I woke up to Lion King theme song next we all got ready and hit the road the bus was super fun I learned a lot about homeless work and a lot of cool thing I didn’t know before after all that we came home and talked about pray partners and then just talked afterwards.
Taylor (sophomore in college): Today was our first day in Nashville. We started our day with dropping the boys off at a food pantry while the rest of us headed to Souls for Soles to collect school supplies to take back to Safe Haven. One packed in the van we headed back to safe haven and unloaded the van, and then reloaded the van with more housing supplies. We then picked up the boys from their mission, and brought them back to Safe Haven. We then did some more stuff there and spent some time digging deeper into homelessness and learning some personal stories from people who have experienced homelessness through watching a video. We then spent some time outside, and went back to the church to eat a meal provided by Woodland Christian Church. I’m looking forward to the ways we can help the community in Nashville, and am hoping to build better connections this week and see God through our mission.
To start off the day we had french toast sticks for breakfast, which were provided by the camp for us. Then we drove roughly 30 min to the theme park, Adventureland, listening to Jackson’s playlist he made which was very good. (Btw it was very fun). First when we got to the theme park (that had a bit of a reputation) we did a few rollercoasters as a group. Then we split off in 2 groups. The first 1 was Sam, Ella, Dave, Katie, and Abby. Group 2 was Nick, Lindsey, Jackson, Ashlyn, and Lauren. So both groups rode so rides and then we eat lunch. After that we went to the water park, which is where the theme park got its reputation. We stayed in our groups pretty much the rest of the time and we went to a race slide that Nick and Jackson won every time. Then we eat a burger joint that took over an hour to get the food and when we did it was devoured almost immediately. The food was very good but we wish we had gotten it sooner. To end the we went to get rolled ice cream provided by Sam’s mom. Then went to bed. The End.
The church camp that where we are staying and working, the Christian Conference Center, has been building and painting chairs all summer as part of their summer camp theme, “building more chair at the table” Today we painted a chair to represent our group and Geist Christian Church. We made it a minion and added pickles (in honor of the HUGE jar of pickles bought at the beginning of the week) and our names on the back. We sealed the other chairs to make them waterproof. Then we helped clean the Chi Rho villages. We swept cabins, put curtains on rods, hung up tarps, and set windows up for rods to get hung up. Later some of us dug/worked on a trench while the others helped clean off the trails. We cooked dinner ourselves outside in one of the villages. We grilled hamburgers and then had dinner with the camp interns. After that we went to the lake and Sam ~attempted~ to play some of the games, but ultimately failed. We ended the day with devotional.
This morning we pulled weeds on the camp’s putt putt course; many bruises were formed from the monstrous weeds. After that we tore down an old shed in the back of a full time employee’s home and deconstructed the screened-in patio to prep it to be re-screened. We broke for lunch (corn dogs and jello, a fan favorite) and headed back to finish our demo project. To get the shed down we had to attach it to the ATV and dragged it out of its corner, and in riveting turn of events the shed came down with little issues. During the tear down we were discarding some trash and discovered a small chipmunk living inside an old gutter. We ended with some ice cream and volleyball in the pool. Our day didn’t go by without a few injuries from rusty nails and dehydration, but we all made it out okay in the end. After dinner we had an exciting round of bowling and headed back for our evening devotion. In our devotional we discussed and visualized the importance of community and nature and how it is all connected to our faiths. To end the night we had a late night snack of pickles, with a few anti-pickle remarks.
Our first day working started off strong with a good breakfast provided by the camp. After breakfast we got together and talked through our morning devotional before we got down and dirty for the day. The work day started off at 9am at the infamous black hole; moving old paint, wood scraps, brick, and metal. Clearing space out and making the camp grounds look nicer and removing unwanted junk that they didn’t need. And after lunch we headed back into the woods to clean up and get the cabins ready for camps happening in the coming weeks. One group stayed at the cabins to hang up curtains and prep the cabin windows. The other group took trips in the back of the camp’s pickup truck to grab mattresses and chairs that needed to be moved to the cabins. The group got mattress surf down some stairs… because it was obviously the most efficient way to get the mattresses down. While working all day we saw an assortment of bugs and animals including: spiders, beetles, wasps, mice, baby mice, a bat, frog, and deer. So you could say it was an eventful day of work. To end our day of work we went to see Minions: Rise of Gru and then came back to eat dinner and go swimming in the lake. We were cut short with our time in the lake due to roaring winds from the incoming storm. Our night was spent in the storm shelter playing cards and doing our nightly devotion rapping up the day.
On Monday we started the drive around 9 am. Three hours into the drive we stopped at Culver’s and got some lunch. After that we played a game for the rest of the ride down to the camp. We all joined a playlist group on Spotify, in this game we all had to add a song to the playlist that fit into a category that was chosen by someone on the bus. We spent the majority of the rest of the ride singing songs and adding them to the playlist. When we got to Newton we went to the store and split up in groups to buy food for dinner. We also bought a foam football that we have used a-lot so far! We got to the cabin and started to make dinner. After we ate we all got to play games. We played volleyball and corn hole. Lindsey and Jackson fished while Nick and Lauren beat everyone in corn hole. After we played games at the cabin we went down to play putt putt. After putt putt we had devotion and communion. We ended the night playing clue and then went to sleep!