Our day started at 6:30 AM for most of us. (We won’t talk about the girls that started at 5:00 AM) We had quiet time at 7:00 AM and then went to breakfast at 7:30 AM. Around 8:30 AM, we had a quick meeting and circled and prayed for the day.
Group One went to a park near by named “Pontchartrain Park.” I was not at this park today, but I heard things went really well. I will spend the majority of the blog tomorrow writing and posting pictures from that park.
Today, I went with Group Two to Richards Street Park. Richards Street Park is located across the big bridge and in the city of Gretna, Louisiana. The Park is a small neighborhood park just under an acre. The houses are small and the streets are tight. Most of the homes were built in the 60s and 70s. The park has a small playground and two basketball courts.
Team Two arrived around 9:15 AM and immediately went to work. The team of 26 students and adults set up the table, snacks, and awning and then began walking the neighborhood knocking on doors and inviting children. Within minutes the children were coming out and helping the teens find other children. Many of the children actually remembered us from last year. This put lots of smiles on our youth’s faces. Followed by hugs and “how are you?” the children and students made their way back to the park and began the recreation phase of the day.
Meanwhile, Steve Summers and I were limping our way from dropping of the students to the nearest mechanic to try and fix the bus. Seems both air condition compressors had broken and the pulley holding one of the belts on was coming off. If that pulley or belt had broke at any time during our drive down Sunday, we would have been stranded. What a blessing. We hope to get the bus back Tuesday.
Back at the park, team two was doing a great job. Even though the temperature of the day was 88, the heat index was 104. Following recreation, the kids had a snack and then did a fun arts and craft project. The children and teens made visors and decorated them in all kinds of creative ways.
After the arts and crafts project, the music aspect of the program began. Daniel Johnson, our audio man, did a great job of running the extension cord across the street from a willing neighbor to the park and played the CD. The youth began dancing and leading the children in all kinds of silly songs. (See pics below) Soon there were children and teens dancing together and singing about the love of Christ. This brought tears to my eyes. (But I’m a guy so I didn’t cry long.)
After the music part, we all headed over to the play ground equipment and set up the puppet show for Bible story time. Brittany and the Bible story team did a great job teaching about Creation and helping the children understand that God created all things, “and it was good!”
Soon the morning had past. Now it was 11:00 AM and the sun was almost straight overhead. Teens and kids were drinking water quickly but still playing and laughing together. You all would have been so proud of them. They truly were the hands and feet of Jesus. So many little children had a new friend today!!
We stayed at the park till 3:00 PM. The bus was still in the shop, so the other group had to come and get us. I never heard any complaints. The students stayed focused and adjusted consistently through the day. Although it was hot and humid and they were thirsty and hungry, none of them ever said a word but instead continued to love on the kids.
Shortly after arriving back at the seminary, some of the students took showers. Some are taking summer classes on online and spent two hours doing homework. Others rested and enjoyed the coolness of their air conditioned dorm room. Dinner is at 5:30 then then we will meet and debrief about today and then go over details regarding tomorrow.
They will get a chance to go swimming about 9:00 PM then head to their rooms around 10:00 PM. Lights out is at 11PM and then we start all over again at 6:30 AM tomorrow. Tuesday we will be singing at the nursing home. I will do my best to update you with pics from the other site and another blog about how God is doing wonderful things in the lives of our students.
God bless and keep praying.
P.S. (We have 8 students needing financial help with this trip. If God leads you to help please let Tina know.)