Hi! Boy, do I have a lot to say. For those of you who don’t know, I just got back from a week long missions trip to Tennessee. It was AMAZING!!!!!! We worked with a non-profit called Habitat For Hope and what they do is provide housing and an escape for families who have children who are very ill. We cleaned up the brush along this pathway, (which was supposed to take us a week…we finished it in a day.) did a ton of gardening, and we went to the house of a family who lost their daughter to cancer and we built them a fence and planted flowers in their yard and cleaned up and things like that.
That was the work we did. But on Wednesday we got a half day and then we all went touring around the city. We walked up Beale Street and saw the National Civil Rights Museum, and we also went to Graceland. (A.K.A, Elvis’ house.) On Friday (or was it Thursday…?) we went to Habitats neighbors property and went swimming in their lake and went zip lining!!!! Zip lining is now my favorite thing about life. I did it like, 4 times. And I’m afraid of heights so I’m pretty proud of myself.
The bible studies we did were about leaving a legacy and rising up to change the world. It was a very good lesson series. I learned a lot from this trip but really, I learned more from just working and interacting with people than I did from the lesson. Here are some things I learned.
On the first day we had to clean up all the brush and trees and weeds from the path. (Our chainsaw broke a few hours in, so we had to do it all with a tiny hatchet.) Everyone wanted to take down the big trees, but only so many people could do that job. Naturally, all the people with the big jobs got the most praise. Me, being the prideful person I am, wanted to get recognized for doing hard work too. But I felt that God wanted me to pull the small weeds and take down smaller branches. I didn’t get all the “Good job!” and “Nice, hard work Faith!” that I wanted, but I learned about playing the background and doing things simply because I was told to do them. God taught me even more the next day when I got to go to the store and then bake cookies for kids in the hospital because I was recognized as working super hard. So my friend, Megan, and I did that together. Patience. Its a good thing.
I also learned a lot while zip lining. Yep. It was awesome. I love cool analogies like this and seeing God in weird things like that. Well lately God has been very silent. I’m going through a stage where He isn’t speaking and simply asking me to trust Him. So when I went zip lining I had to climb up into this tree house and after getting harnessed and then clipped to the line I had to jump off. I couldn’t simply walk off because I might hit my back on the tree house. Of course I freaked out (all four times, though it did get easier each time.) and there was this moment after I jumped where I thought “How can I be sure this thing will hold me?” I didn’t know how fast I would go or how long it would take me to get there, but the guy who ran it said that the zip line would hold me. That’s it. But after I jumped I felt myself fall for a long second and it was so scary. But as I flew down the line screaming, I realized how beautiful the lake was that I was going over and how awesome the wind felt against my body and how freeing it was. And God told me to have faith. He told me that in my life I needed to do the same thing I was doing then; jumping off the edge, not knowing what would happen after that.
Each individual taught me something too. I made it my personal goal of the week to sit with people I wouldn’t normally sit with and to talk to different people and to really step out of my comfort zone. I am very glad I did that because the few minutes of uncomfortableness was nothing compared to the friendships that were strengthened/made because of it. One thing I want to share with you that made me cry more than once was something that someone said. At the end of the week we all had to write every person in our group a care card, which is basically a short letter of encouragement. There was this girl named Kendall, who’s the “new kid” of the group and her care card made me cry. She told me that after her first day of youth group she got home and saw that I had posted on her wall saying how happy I was to see her there and that post made her cry. She said that that was one of the reasons she came back to group and if I hadn’t done it then she probably wouldn’t be writing the card because she probably wouldn’t have come back. Needless to say that I cried so hard. It made me realize that the things I do matter. That encouraged me so much. I remember writing that post on her wall and I just felt like I should do it. I didn’t think much of it. But it made her cry. I didn’t know I could impact someone that much.
There were so many little things that made my day and I’ll never forget them. I have grown so much closer to all the kids there and I pray that those friendships continue to grow. Now, here are just a few of the pictures we took on the trip. I might do another post in all pictures but not today. I took over 400 pictures on the trip. I also got to take a bunch of pictures of flowers and scenery so I’ll post those later.