Last week, week three of my new job, we took 14 students and 5 “adults” (am I considered an adult now? I guess maybe I am… weird how time flies), on a week-long mission trip to Detroit! It was an incredible experience and God worked in so many ways!
Here is a team picture before we left:
While we were in Detroit we had the privilege of helping out at Central Detroit Christian on Monday and Tuesday. We painted a lot of different things, built a gutter on the side of a building, mulched a walkway through a garden, weeded a garden, and really helped to ease some of the burden off of their own workers. CDC does so much good around the city of Detroit. They have 8 different business that seek to employ people who are trying to turn their lives around and get back on their feet. They have a produce truck that drives around like an ice cream truck, but selling fresh produce because it is such a rarity for people in these struggling neighborhoods to have good or fresh food. It’s a great ministry. They have even gotten so much publicity for their work that the First Lady has ridden in the produce truck!
The evenings on Monday and Tuesday found us serving in a Men’s mission and a Women’s mission. We split into two teams and we were able to experience both missions. We helped out in the kitchen, served the food, and discovered the incredible passion the other workers there have for Jesus Christ and the Word of God. It was here, on Monday night, that some of us met Walter, who sat and talked to us for at least 15 minutes about his faith in Jesus Christ and was one of the most passionate Christians I have ever met. He is in love with Jesus and it was contagious.
Wednesday was spent in preparation for the Backyard Bible Club we were running on Thursday and Friday. It was a great team building day, and we had a lot of fun. We ran through the skits, the music, the teaching, and the games. We got to play kickball in the rain later in the day and it was just a great time of building unity bringing the team together before sharing the gospel on Thursday and Friday.
Thursday and Friday were just awesome days. We woke up early and headed to downtown Detroit, to one of the most dangerous zip codes in America. We went to the Hellman Rec Center and served in whatever capacity they needed. Here is where we did graffiti removal, trash pickup, prayer walking, canvassing, and sharing the gospel. The Rec Center is where, in the afternoons, we played games with the kids, sang some fun songs, and had lessons about extreme love and extreme forgiveness. The kids really seemed to understand the lessons. The gospel was shared by the students both Thursday and Friday, and kids responded each day. It was an amazing experience.
As we were canvassing, there was a timid man some students interacted with. They prayed for him and invited him out to the Backyard Bible Club and told him about the free hot dogs on Friday. They thought that was the end of their interaction with him. But, after they had finished knocking on the doors on that street, they were headed back and this man motioned them back over. The students began talking to him more and more about Jesus Christ and having a relationship with Him. One of the students, Adam Harris, had the opportunity to share the gospel with Antwon, this middle-aged man, and lead him to Christ. It was so cool to see God moving and working and drawing men, women, and children into His kingdom right before our eyes!
Here are some pictures from Thursday and Friday:
This is just a short summary of what we did and what God did through us in Detroit. It was hard to leave. The kids had already bonded with us after only two short days of spending time with them, serving them, and showing them the love of Jesus Christ. There are many stories that were left out, and many things that God will continue to do in us and in the area we served in now that the trip is over. The most exciting part is that the story is just beginning.
Pastor Matthew Vroman, the pastor from East Side Community Church in Harper Woods that we served with at the Rec Center, called me this week already and told me that he had the opportunity, because of the work we had done at the Rec Center, to pray and share from the Bible at a gang funeral this past weekend. We left Friday and Pastor Mat was already able to have an inside impact on a gang there in the area because we helped go in and break down some barriers there. God is definitely doing a work in Detroit! Keep the city and it’s people in your prayers, and pray that us leaders and our students would continue on the contagious passion of living for Jesus Christ boldly and sharing Him with everyone we meet.