Just because we are not on a mission trip, doesn’t mean we can do mission work.
This mission trip has been one of my favorites by far. People tend to only look down on Detroit, but it’s actually such a cool city. Being able to explore Detroit and spread kindness around the community really opened my eyes this week. I learned a lot about myself and the people around me. If you’d like to see what we did this week, take a look at my go pro video:)
As our Motown Mission comes to an end, and I reflect on the week, my head is exploding with “s” words…
😥SWEATY – our service work was almost all manual labor, outside while wearing pants, jeans, khakis, scrubs, but NO yoga pants!
☀️SUNNY – for a season that has had more rain than Seattle and a forecast that wasn’t promising, we were blessed with a sunny week and no full on rain…just a brief storm that literally blew by us on Belle Island.
👃🏼SMELLY – a whole lot of people sharing close quarters on the 3rd floor of an “air conditioned”?!? building built in the 20s after a day of work & play.
😴SLEEPY – lights out isn’t crazy late for HS youth, but the days are long, the heat can be exhausting, and the mornings come early.
👭SHARING – we shared nearly everything, not only with our GCC crew but also about 70-80 others from various churches. Sleeping rooms, showers, meals, chores, buses, cars, tools, gathering – is all to be shared. And we also shared our experiences, thoughts & memories – that is what creates bonds.
😖 SALTY – when you mix all of the above together for a solid 5 days, people get a little salty… patience and grace are a bit harder to offer as the week wears on.
🥽SAFE – I always felt safe everywhere we went. Detroit has a bad reputation that is doesn’t deserve. There is a high police presence. The church has 24 hour security. We had a full work week with only a couple very minor injuries. We’ve had and pray for safe travels.
♠️ SPEED – the youth reintroduced me to a favorite card game of my childhood. And, I learned a new awesome card game, Mao.
🤕 SORE – whether it’s an aging body, sleeping on plywood, or a week of manual labor, I am sore and I am not alone. My shoulders feel as tight and solid as concrete chunks found in a deserted lot.
🛏 SOFT – my own soft bed is calling my name to sleep with a soft mattress, soft pillow, soft blanket.
🚿 SHOWER – while it’s a luxury some don’t have, and we were fortunate to have decent size, clean, hot showers available to us. I’m looking forward to a long hot shower at home instead of the basement. And I can even shower at the top of the hour!
🥪 SANDWICHES – we had sack lunch sandwiches every single day. We served sandwiches at NOAH and made sandwiches for Operation Find and Feed in Indy. To many, sandwiches are a luxury and welcomed nourishment for the body. For me, I’d be happy if I didn’t eat another sandwich for weeks.
📱SMARTPHONES & SCREENS – while they are still evil and the games are annoying, we would not have survived the week without the
instant communication among the adults, alarm clocks, music, social media, the blog, and maps constantly rerouting us around the confusing streets and detours.
🏃🏽♂️STEPS – we all have high step counts this week from climbing up and down all the stairs if nothing else. However, 2 youth have far more as they diligently stuck to their HS XC coach’s mileage assignment and ran 3-4 miles every.single.day in the HEAT of the afternoon, AFTER a full day of manual labor WORK! Kuddos XC Tigers!
🧼 SOAP – we went to a fun little store, City Bird, with nice Detroit souvenirs and two teenage boys each bought a bar of fancy scented soap. Did you hear me…scented soap?!? Maybe it will undo the stink!
🚬SMOKING – I’ve inhaled a bit more second hand smoke than I’d like (which is anything more than none) and a fair amount of it is now legal in Michigan! Yikes!
🏁 🇫🇷SIMILAR – everyday I’m more and more amazed at the similarities I’m finding between Detroit and Indy all the way down to populations and the Georgia like street downtown to the museums, art and creepy basement bathroom like Paris.
😱 SURPRISE – this week has been full of all kinds of surprises and the most unexpected has been the city itself. People here are proud of their city. I’m the 313’s newest fan!
💬 SAYINGS – when you spend time with a group of people around the clock there are always funny sayings that come out of it…they may not make any sense or be the least bit funny to others, but they can be roll on the floor funny for us…downtown Michigan, are we in Canada, no yoga pants, are those jeans or khakis, have fun with the police, what kind of chicken is on a chicken cesar, am I peeing, boob boob, all hail the chief, have a nice day!
🐿SQUIRREL – God Bless her and her unending to do list. Enjoy your murky green pond, painted windows, & poison ivy. We are out!
🤪SILLY – it’s not just the silly things we say, it’s also silly things we do. Spending a week together and largely away from screens helps us let down our guard and expand our comfort zone so we can be silly- it seems perfectly normal to raise your arms and punch the air in the middle of a card game.
📆SCHEDULE – Motown Mission runs a tight schedule. Logistically, it was necessary and helpful (minus the recycling) and helped get the work done. Generally, I like a set schedule but that’s not usually how we roll…and it was refreshing for us to break away from the schedule Friday and just be us spontaneously in downtown Detroit.
💌SERMON – this mission trip we had large group evening gatherings rather than our typical evening worship and reflection. Friday we got back to us and had a meaningful reflective time for mini sermon and reflection in the park on the banks of the Detroit River. This trip brought us together as we grew in service, knowledge, awareness, and faith.
🎚SCRIPTURE – Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
🎹SONG – God is on the move,
On the move today. I see your generation standing on the truth.
In each and everyday saying God is on the move. Anytime the Gospel stirs a searching souls and someone says send me, here I go.
~God on the Move 7eventh Time Down
💒SERVE – we served together and worked along side people of Detroit to reclaim and beautify their city. We mowed, weed whacked, raked, edged, planted, painted, peeled, bagged, transplanted, pulled, carried, installed, dug, fed, watered, cleaned, prepared meals. We set aside a week of our summer to serve as Christs’ hands & feed.
🙏🏼SELFLESS – the youth were selfless as they willingly walked through this week being led by Kyle, the adults, the counselors, the partners. Being led by God. I’ve had the privilege to share 2-3 mission trips with most of these youth and their growth is amazing. Yes their lives are different than our generation, but isn’t that always the case. Knowing these selfless youth are our future gives me hope!
💪🏼SUPPORT – when we come together and support each other, we can accomplish so much more. This was demonstrated taking an extra project Friday making sandwiches so Kyle might have a bit of rest Saturday and by knocking our last service project out of the park as a well oiled machine working efficiently and effectively when we were our most worn down. We are called to care well for one another and that we did…for Geist and for Detroit.
🏡STAY – Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, and the lonely, right where you are — in your own homes and in your own families, in homes and in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, you find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for, just rejected by society — completely forgotten, completely left alone. ~Mother Theresa As we return home, we are reminded that you don’t always have to go on a mission trip to serve… we can serve and love and smile and support right where we are – in schools, activities, sports, work, church, and home.
🙊SILENCE – there wasn’t much of it during the week which can be challenging for an introvert like me. That’s why I find peace in the late night hours typing away my reflections as everyone else slept. Sleep is restorative and restful but so is silence.
😊SMILES – smiles show love, care, support. Smiles can change your mood or someone else’s. Smiles warmed our hearts and were etched in our memories this week. Now, we eagerly anticipate smiles of loved ones welcoming us home.
💗SHARE – thanks for allowing me to share my stream of conscious thoughts and reflections from the HS mission trip. It’s been a pleasure to serve along the youth and adults of Geist Christian Church at Motown Mission 2019
SHINE your light.
SET the world on fire with your love!
We should be home by noon today!
Detroit has been my 4th mission trip and I can say it has been a blast. The hard work we’ve done throughout this week was tough to get through but well worth it in the end. All of us powered through together and ended up bonding once again. Today was the last work day and it was a hot one. My group went back to Regina’s house which we had previously gone to. We painted the windows but there was some problems that occurred along the way with the taping. We were hot and tired but we knew that if we tried our best it would turn out alright. After working most of the day we came back and went downtown for some coney dogs. I’m pretty picky though so I had a thrilling plain hotdog. We got some ice cream afterwards and it was scrumptious mmm. Coming back to the church I was exhausted and I am sad but also ready to get back to Indiana. This week has been an amazing experience and will never be forgotten.
4️⃣ observations on day 4️⃣!
1️⃣ Expectations often need to be adjusted. This does not mean lowering your standards, but it does mean adjusting the expectations based on the situation, facts, and circumstances. I enjoy lawn mowing and love, love, love the clean crisp lines of freshly mowed grass, especially on a nice diagonal perpendicular to the previous mowing. Today, I was mowing vacant lots with sometimes knee high “grass” on a riding mower that was NOT zero turn. The wavy lines from treeline and the long grass sneakily escaping the blade here and there would not meet my normal expectations, but that wasn’t reasonable or even possible in the circumstances. The lots looked fantastic when we finished. REVISED expectations exceeded!
2️⃣ You never know what is lurking beneath…so it isn’t a bad idea to use a little caution. We’ve repeatedly reminded the youth not to stick there hands in piles and always wear your gloves. A simple piece of trash that appears to be a napkin may be a full used diaper, a little pile of grass may be a hunk of concrete from the recent house demo waiting to eat you (or your mower blade) alive!
2️⃣.5️⃣ Teamwork – I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot. Together, we can do great things! Mother Theresa
This is true on so many levels and for so many reasons. On a riding mower, I could not mow over all the ruts and steep inclines, over concrete chunks and next to flower boxes. The Weed Whacker Team was on it. They could’ve weed whacked the three lots all through the night. But together, we accomplished so much more. The same is true not only for using the physical tools but also for using our spiritual tools. We all have different God given gifts and when we bring them all together to serve, the outcome is so much sweeter!
3️⃣ Celebrate with a smile or ice cream or both! True to form, Kyle found us another ice cream treat after a long hot day of hard work. You may think the highlight was the ice cream itself, but it may have been the big smile on a little boys’ face at the ice cream shop!
3️⃣.5️⃣ The irony isn’t lost on me…
🍃We have spent hours volunteering this week doing landscaping and yardwork to help revitalize Detroit, meanwhile I’m paying a small fee to have major landscaping done at home.
🥧Kyle urgently made sure all the GCC adults were in the parking lot this evening because the youth paid to throw a pie in Dan-Dan’s face. He thought she was the perfect one to pie. But when the time came, they pied Kyle Brown and HE was the perfect one to pie!
🚙 The roads in Motor City are nothing short of awful!
🏙 Detroit has a bad reputation for Crime, Corruption, and the Car Industry (or decline of such). There is even a store Detroit vs Everybody. No one wants to go to Detroit. Well, no one except me – now! There are so many things I’ve enjoyed or would like to try another time. I’m not against Detroit, I’m with them!
4️⃣ Simple things in life are often the most fun…
🏃🏽♂️Youth racing their pastor down the street AFTER a full work day. Kyle was solidly in the middle of the pack. As he’s approaching 40 years old, a 40m dash was all he could handle. My money is on the youth in any longer race!
🎨Tonight, we went for a walk in the Eastern Market neighborhood and looked at the massive, colorful, and creative murals while snappimg fun photos and engaging in meaningful conversations. Who knew the paint on the outside of a building could be so aamaxikg and impactful.
Finally I leave you with the quote on one of the murals… They thought they could bury us, but they didn’t know they we were seeds. This incredible mural and quote led to engaging discussions about different perspectives of the mural. It can be interpreted and applied in so many situations, I’ll be unpacking that one for a while!
Yes I said 4.
Yes I can count.
Yes I lied.
Shortsweet is not exactly my style.
But this introvert needs some downtime and reflection at the day and makes for good Facebook memories down the road!
Love with your laugh. Love with your smile. Love with your eyes. Love. ❤️
This morning we woke up at about 7:10 am then we went down stairs and started are day. We were working with the founders of Resource Community Devlopment Corporation Ada and Arthur. Ian, Tyler, Mr. Burhenn , Mrs. Lindsey, Arthur and I weed whacked and mowed a giant open yard. There were weeds everywhere and Mrs. Linsey did a really good on the riding lawn mower, and Arthur used the chainsaw. We finished fast and everything looked really good. While we were doing weed whacking a couple blocks away the other groups were working. Braden, Savannah, Taylor and Mr. Craig worked really hard and completing there two flower beds really fast and really well. The other group of Nick, Paige, Olivia, Ava, Brady, Matthew and Kyle did really good on here two flowerbeds also. At about noon we had a lunch break and had fun but after the break we went right back to working. We went to a new place right around the corner it was messed up. It had big branches hanging in the sidewalk and lots of cracks in the side walk. There where weeds everywhere and straight away we got to work. But one by one the weed whackers stopped working. Until it was only Mr. Burham and Mrs. Linsey the weed whackers were not he best quality and Mr. Burhams was really heavy and nice, the riding lawn mower was slow but worked so we separated into the other groups. Tyler and I helped Dan Dan, Hailey and Arthur fed the trees, and attached a tree to a metal rod because it was tilted twords the street. We worked as hard as we could hammering the rod into the the ground it was hard. While we where doing that Mr. Craig, Braden, Savannah, Matthew and Brady were trimming the long branch’s and Bush’s that were around the sidewalk. Nick, Paige, Olivia and Ava all picked up trash and debree and you could see trash anywhere they did really good. We had worked really hard we joked around had fun made a difference. Thats what all of us came here to do make a difference and bring back this amazing city called Detroit.
Hump day on GCC HS Mission trip was full of life lessons…
😴 Sleep – is does a body good. Just like you put your oxygen mask in before you help others on a plane, you have to take care of yourself so you can help care for others. We slept in just a bit today and it made a world of difference. The sugar in the Dutch Girl Donuts might have helped just a tad!
🎧 Luxuries taken for granted. NOAH offers support to the homeless including a mailing address. Yes a mailing address… did you ever think of that as a luxury? What could you do without an address? How would you fill out paperwork for assistance or jobs? Also they offer computer access… some people just sit at the computer to listen to music. Listening to music, a luxury…? Yes, yes it is.
🌇Beauty is all around, sometimes where you least expect it. We enjoyed our meager sack lunch in the rooftop garden of Central United Methodist Church and the views were fantastic! I didn’t think I’d describe Detroit as being beautiful, did you? But it is…from multiple angles high and low. Yes, views from up high because the rooftop garden was on the roof…just in case you wondered!
🌀The line isn’t always straight, the process isn’t always tidy (even though every ounce in my body wants it to be just as planned!) In the midst of chaos, we can accomplish great things. Despite confusion, contradictions, and lack of clarity at our afternoon site, we left the place more beautiful than when we arrived having hauled & spread mulch, created beds & paths, transplanted plants, moved dirt, moved rocks, laid brick edging, weeded.
☘️ Leaves of three, let them be! Enough said!
🤦🏼♂️If you stop vehicle when it’s pulling away so you can get something out of the back, it would be wise to close the door after you get said item out of the back. Crisis averted. We did NOT leave our belongings strewn down the street.
🤣 Laughter brings people together… A trivia game where you can’t talk or are simultaneously playing Simon Says. And, the most bizarre card game I’ve ever not learned but still played – Mao. Playing cards, in silence, with pranks, unknown rules, and ridiculous motions and sayings just trying to guess the rules is a way to laugh *with* people doing stupid things, boost Rev. Kyle’s ego as he plays the Mao Master, and finish our day in community and lighthearted laughter.
Laugh often, Live well, Love all!