This summer, after having raised the necessary funds from generous donors, 10 youths and four adults prepared their hearts and their suitcases and piled into two mini vans.
We set out westward on an adventure to make a difference not only in the hearts of those living in the San Diego area, but also in our own. We were blessed by several churches along the way where we stayed the night along our 1,200-mile, 18-hour trek across the southern highways.
The following, brief overview describes our events from June 29 to our return on July 7:
Youth and adults served at various sites in the San Diego area including:
St. Vincent de Paul (preparing and serving meals to 800 TO 1,200 homeless people each day
Harvest Crops (picking and providing fresh fruit to Non-Profit organizations)
PUM (Presbyterian Urban Ministries-serving the homeless)
Back in the Saddle (clearing land for a Therapeutic Equine Program in Alpine, CA)
Ronald McDonald House (preparing and serving food for “families with children being treated for serious, often life-threatening conditions at local hospitals”)
Evening Activities to learn more about the community we served included:
JULY 1: Border Angels tour exploring the border wall and beach changes in recent years
JULY 2: Church group option night: Old Town San Diego for cultural food and shopping
JULY 3: Church service with a bilingual church and prayer walk in Balboa Park. YouthWorks leaders shared their personal stories and led the youth to pray
JULY 4: Community picnic, foot washing ceremony and church time before attempting to see fireworks
JULY 5: Youth and sponsors spent the day at Chicano Park then in Balboa park exploring the museums and food truck culture of the city.
As one youth said, her “eyes were opened” to the homelessness in San Diego. She had seen this in New York City and other cities, but not to this extent.
Ethan helped a ranch that works with children with autism and learned “that families could go on a mission trip,” too.
Hailey learned that “people are grateful for the small things when it makes a difference in their life.”
Steven “learned that it’s not always their (homeless) fault.” Bailee learned to be respectful [of] what you get ‘cause some people don’t get to shower [and have] things.”
A.J. learned “to not be scared of homeless people because they are really nice and just trying to get back into their place.”
We are grateful to all who donated monetarily from Zion and the community, including Happy Jacks, Hill Country Telephone Coop, Thrivent Financial, Encore Radio, Nobilitea, Route 66 Salon, The Lakehouse, Texas Express Lube & Auto, and Jimmy John’s. The sponsors attending included: Misty Erlund, Joel Johnson, Audra Rode and Pastor Mike Williams; without these the trip would not be possible.