Sunday morning I give a report to our church about our Mission Trip this summer to San Antonio, Texas. I only have eight minutes and it is definitely a challenge to convey in 8 minutes an infinite amount of emotions and thoughts. But I nor anyone else desires to be at the church for an infinite amount of time so I follow the guidelines. Below is the text of my report followed by the video that I put together for it. I hope you will be encouraged by these things and will offer up a special prayer for the children of San Antonio and all over the world that are the victims of our many frailities and failures as adults.
San Antonio Trip Report
I wish this morning that I could give each one of you a special pill that would allow you to experience with all your senses what we experienced on our youth mission trip to San Antonio. I wish you could hear the screams of delight and the words of anger from the children we worked with there. I wish you could smell the humanity at the Mission Oaks Center for Adults with Mental Disabilities. I wish you could taste the satisfaction of a hard-earned evening meal prepared by Fred McKay, Carl and Karen Morris and Sondra Allen. I wish you could see the beautiful brown eyes on the faces of the children and the uncomfortable, itching white of the lice in their hair. I wish you could feel the weight of a child on your back who refuses to get off because he just wants to feel a loving and appropriate touch from another human. I wish you could hear the silence of our bus as we drove away from these children on the last day of that week – a silence broken only by the weeping youth and adults who were leaving some of their heart in San Antonio. As one youth said, “We knew it would be hard to leave, but we never expected it to break our hearts.”
If my wishes were granted, your life would be changed just as our lives were changed by what God taught us.
Forty-eight youth (grades 7 – 12) and 15 adults went to San Antoniowith the purpose of being the presence of Christ. Our theme verse came from Paul’s letter to the believers of Philippi in which he instructed them to “Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God.”
Our youth and leaders did just that because of God at work in them and through them.
· They were a breath of fresh air to the children of the San Antonio Housing Projects of Villa Veremendi, Cassiano and Wheatly and the Sunrise Learning Center where we played games, taught songs, shared Bible stories, made crafts and simply loved on the kids from 9 am until 3 pm each day. Our kids were tired. It was hot. One of my girls at the end of the first day said, “That was the longest day of my life.” But they didn’t give up. They worked hard knowing that their time was short to teach these children a message they don’t often hear – the message that they are beautiful and special and loved by God.
· They were a breath of fresh air to the adults of the Mission Oaks Disabilities Center whose world is so small and scary and alone. Our youth brought the gift of music and the gift of youth to these special children of God and we were all blessed by what took place there.
· They were a breath of fresh air to over 100 youth of the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center. Youth ranging in age from 9 to 17 who have followed a path that led them to incarceration. Our youth stood in front of them and sang words about freedom in Christ that is offered to all. Cori Jenkins, one of our seniors last year, brought a message of grace and love to a group of peers that have a much different story than her own.
· They were a breath of fresh air to the members of the Crestview Baptist Church in San Antonio and the Gaston Oaks Baptist Church in Plano where they were able to preach through the gift of music that God has given them and that they have committed to give back.
I wish I could give you such a pill that would share all these things with you but I can’t. The most I can do is to thank you on behalf of the youth and adults that gave a week of their summer and the children of San Antonio who shared that week with us. Thank you for giving money to help make this trip possible; thanks for praying for us while we were away. But most importantly, thank you for continuing to give and for continuing to pray so that First Baptist Church can continue to be a breath of fresh air in our community and around the world.
Enjoy these snapshots from our trip this summer.
** Video was deleted by author because it took too freaking long to load. However, if you really, really want to see it you may go here.