Wow! I’m glad I threw out my preconceived notions of what a short-term mission trip is supposed to look like, because God completely blew my mind! I had such a great experience that I don’t even know where to begin.
I guess the beginning is the best. We arrived tired, yet excited in New York City knowing that we would unpack, have dinner and then head to the streets of New York for homeless ministry. Our group of about 50 was broken up into several different teams. My team, number three, we named “Benny and the Jets,” first went to a homeless shelter to give out supplies and pray with people.
There, I met a man who told me his story. It was then that I truly understood the saying “we are all just one paycheck away from living on the streets ourselves.” After our first experience, members of our team were going up to people in need every day to talk and pray with them.
I found that I enjoyed the work that required hard labor as my team traveled around New York City to serve. We ventured to Harlem to serve on a relief bus that provided food and coats to the poor. This was a difficult experience, because almost all of the people we were greeting only spoke Spanish. But, I found that when you offer someone hot soup with a smile, they understand that you want to help.
Another day we went to St. John’s Bread of Life ministry and pack a total of 455 food bags for Hurricane Sandy victims that are still struggling, despite the fact that their stories are no longer prevalent in the news.
I can honestly say that my spirit grew towards God on this mission trip. I watched my fellow classmates, some of whom I did not know before this trip, extending themselves in every sense to help strangers. Each day was a struggle when it came to physical strength, but the Lord provided and the Holy Spirit renewed. I loved every moment of this trip and I cannot wait for next year’s trip! Until then, I am taking everything I learned and applying it to my own city, Virginia Beach, because I know there is a desperate need for God’s love in all places.regentnyc