For the 3-year anniversary of God forever changing my life, here is an entry is from before I began my blog. It was important to add. Please, enjoy.
The trip itself was a blur to me. 16 hours in a 2 15-passenger vans with those same 20 people whose names I couldn't remember, some taco bell stops later we arrived in Dallas. We stayed with one of the guy's parents in their beautiful home. It was 70 degrees, beautiful night out with a star-filled sky above us. We drove the 4 hours the next day to Galveston Island. Hurricane Ike had taken its toll on the state. It was in just as bad a state as Louisiana & Mississippi after Katrina. We lived in the same guy's grandparents' beach houses. The houses had filled with water but survived the terror of the storm. The furniture replaced, we stayed in a sometimes-hot, sometimes-freezing beach house, but it was beautiful waking up to the sunrise every day and walking the beach at night in the sunset. Never thought a mission trip could be so much fun!
By the time we stepped out of the vans in Galveston I knew most of the people's names in my van. But no one in the other. It took all week, and lots of late-night games and dance parties but I grew to love this crazy group. [I'll explain later]
But back to business. The 1st day, we worked with a man named John. He was a very interesting man, sort of scatter-brained but on fire for God. His ministry was sorting and collecting materials for a Medical ship to go overseas to aide people in Third-World countries. He had us sorting clothes and boxing food. Someone on the trip told him that I was a graphic designer. He asked me to work with his assistant on their website. I wanted to, but it was very awkward. She kept telling him that there wasn't any work to be done and that the website was on her server at her house. So in laymen's terms, there was no way to work on it that day. So in total, I didn't get to do anything but stand around his office.
The next three days, we worked on a woman's house, scrubing mold from her walls and fixing her drywall. The program we were working with had sent teams to her house before. Everything she owned was crammed into one room, piled to the ceiling. Her furniture, her family photos, everything. It was so sad. She had such a willing heart. She had so much work to do on her own, but didn't want her house torn down. She just wanted help cleaning it. In truth, we should have been tearing her house down and rebuilding it. But that was not our mission goal. As God's servants, we were there to serve her however she needed. She didn't ask us to tear down her house. She asked us to clean it out. So we did. And it was the best 3 days of mold-scrubbing that I've ever had in my life! :D
However, on the second or third day, my friend Justin and about 5 of us were standing around with nothing to do. We stood outside watching our friends, but there was no room or supplies left for us to help out. The couple next door had been throwing out carpet pieces on their lawn, gutting their house out. He decided to walk over and ask if they needed help. We followed. Although we weren't assigned to their house, we were here to help. They were so sweet, they switched their radio from Latin beats to Top 40 when we walked in. We pulled wallpaper and carpet from their home for two days.
The last day was so bittersweet. We were brokenhearted for these people. They had lost everything, but still had smiles on their faces as we took pictures with them in front of their homes. They asked if they could get a copy of the photo and we wrote down their address to send it to them.
Upon returning to frigid Indiana, I was more aware of people's issues and had experienced them for myself. What I did not know was that God had been moving me exactly where He wanted me -- closer to Him. I did not think that life would change. Very soon after this trip, it did. I now know that once you've encountered Jesus there's no way you'll stay the same. Peace.
Until we meet again,