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Last Blogs and Reflections from Team Oakland/Redding

 

 

Here is a series of Reflections from some of the team members as the trip came to a close:

(This was written last weekend as the team made their way home. We are happy to report that the team is home safe and sound!)

 

 

Hello everyone!


After a long, eye-opening, and emotionally tolling week, Team Oakland has finally finished our trip! During the Oakland part of the trip, we learned extensively about many of the social injustices occurring in the Oakland area. We were immersed into the urban Oakland culture and witnessed the injustices of sex trafficking/prostitution, the healthcare system, and immigration. It was heartbreaking for me to watch the documentary about the young girls who are brought into the abusive prostitution cycle, and then go out that night to witness the solicitations occurring right down the block from our hosts’ house. This experience, along with others involving learning about Highland Hospital of Oakland and the immigration experiences of those traveling to the United States from Mexico and Central America, were very intense learning experiences for the whole team. We were also blessed to hear the testimonies from Shantell and Orlando, who talked about their different experiences immigrating to the United States, and the testimony from our hosts’ close friend, Than, about his experience with prejudice, drugs, violence, and his eventual conversion to Christianity.


After travelling back to Redding, our team was challenged to apply what we learned in Oakland, to our home setting in Redding. Here, we were given the opportunity to shadow some of our fellow Shasta College students, and were also educated about many of the programs available for students and the community. We were also able to learn about a program in Redding, called ESYAC, which helps children whose lives are affected by parental substance abuse, homelessness, and unemployment. We were able to help Joanie Griffin, the founder of ESYAC, for an afternoon, as she talked about her organization and some of the mentoring and tutoring options available. As a team, we also went out into the Redding community to witness some of the transiency and drug and alcohol abuse that is affecting the downtown area. After these experiences, we, as a team, felt convicted to help our community through volunteering our time to help as many adults and children, both in the Redding area and in our own hometowns.

 

This short-term service experience was unquestionably life-changing, and we look forward to working in the community in order to end some of the injustices we were introduced to during this trip, as well as to spread the Word of God to as many people as possible.
Thank you, everyone, for your love and support!

 

Catherine Roysden

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Hello,
The exposure to poverty, social injustices and oppression that we
experienced in Oakland broke each one of us. As a result, I believe
that our team returned to Redding with changed hearts. We recognize
that we are no different than our neighbor. We could just as easy have
been given the same set of circumstances as the prostitute on
International Boulevard or the refugee child, Shantel, or the former
gang banger, Tane. We are no more deserving of our fortune. It is
with this new heart that we are able to see our neighbor as Jesus sees
them and love them as he loves them.

 

 

Upon returning, we learned of the needs, and opportunities to serve,
in our own community. My experience with WorldSERVE has brought me to
a place in which my heart is driven to continue to reach out to those
that are hurting all around me.

 

Jennifer Jannsens

————————————————————-

Hello!

 

     As I sat at lunch sharing warm fuzziness with my teammates I looked at
Nikki’s world serve shirt and read the words “come and see.” Let me
tell you, we have come back to redding and we have seen.  The past few
days have brought our team to parts of redding that we have never seen
before.  Personally I’ve spent four hours on the bus traveling on
routes through parts of redding I did not know existed.  Our eyes are
not the only thing that have been opened, each of us have had our
hearts opens as well.  It is amazing how much hurt we have seen around
our own town, but we have been able to have so much good conversation
about what we can do about it and ways that we want to keep each other
accountable for.

     Each individual member of the team has grown so
much, make sure to follow up with them, but God has wrecked some of
our lives, in a good way.  We have spent lots of time going over ways that we anticipate this experience playing out, for example, one of the team members has asked for accountability in sharing the things they learned with their family.  Each of us asked for accountability in some sort of change that we intend into our daily lives.  I think I can speak for all of when I say that it is so good that a portion of our trip was in Redding, because we got to explore some of the opportunities that we have to serve “the least of these” here in our own town. What an amazing trip, to God be the glory!

 

Jessie Hall

Last Update from Team Chicago

(This was written last weekend as the team made their way home. We are happy to report that the team is home safe and sound!)

Hello All!

On Thursday, we taught the after school program students about Asian cultures, focusing on Malaysia, Cambodia, China, Japan, and Laos. During education time, we talked about the different types of food, languages, customs, holidays, and famous people from those nations. We also taught the kids a couple of traditional dances, from Laos, Malaysia, and South Korea. The South Korean dance, “Gangnam Style” from PSY, was the surprise fun dance for the students. For snack time, we handed out chopsticks for the students to practice eating eggrolls. In the evening after the after school program, we led the ESL program for the adults. That night was game night, so the students were able to practice their English through playing games with the team. The students were able to interact with the team to practice conversational English. The “life skill” taught by the team was honesty and integrity. Brad covered how to be honest to yourself, Abigail covered how to be honest to others, and Kim covered how to be honest to God. At the end of the ESL program we also had reflection questions for the students to respond to for more English practice with the team.  While some students thought it was challenging, we all had a good time.

                Overall on this mission trip, we learned about a lot of cultures in preparing the curriculum for the students, which helped us become more aware of the cultures around us. Because we are more aware of other cultures we can better understand where different people are coming from. And with this new understanding of people we can form relationships which allow for a foundation to be laid to speak into people’s lives about God.

Thanks for all the support and love,

Team Chicago

Team Olympia’s Final Update “On the way home”

 

(This was written last weekend as the team made their way home. We are happy to report that the team is home safe and sound!)

 

Hey friends!

We are currently cruising down the 5 (going the speed limit and
nothing faster, of course!) on our way back to Redding. It has been an
amazing trip. Leaving the beautiful city of Olympia was harder than
expected! The great people of Hidden Creek Community Church have made
us feel like family within a week’s time. Their hospitality has been
inspiring to us all. They welcomed us into their homes, let us hungry
college students take over their kitchens, and even allowed the girls
to monopolize their bathroom counters and sinks. We are extremely
thankful to all of our host families who took such great care of us
throughout these past nine or so days.

Yesterday, we did a lot of debriefing, which was much needed! We have
learned so much and have been on the go all week, so we were ready to
sit down with a nice cup of Joe and talk about all of our feelings. Of
course, on our way to said coffee shop we went to the wrong place two
times before we arrived to the correct Batdorf and Bronson (authentic
Washington coffee, of course…apparently us Californians are doing it
all wrong).  Once there, we began talking about the week in great
detail – one day at a time. It was refreshing to go through each day
and discuss all that we had learned and gone through together. After
our discussion, Ahna gave us a challenge of answering the key
question, “What now?”

We had about an hour of free time before we had to head to lunch with
some important people. During that time we all split up and had some
quiet time. Some of us spent some time in the Word, some did a little
journaling, and some of us even took a holy nap. Around 12:30, we
headed down to join the Prime Timers (if you don’t know what that
implies, think wisdom and grey hair) for a late St. Patty’s Day feast!
(On a slight sidenote, we have been fed extremely well – so no need to
worry, Mother dearest! These folks from Hidden Creek Community Church
sure know how to cook!) As soon as the last tapioca pudding cup was
slurped up and the denture glue was re-applied (slight exaggeration),
the Prime Timers headed out and the team began earning our keep by
cleaning the entire church.

What did we do after that, you ask? Well, we went out to Dickey’s BBQ,
of course! More food. Our huge group basically took over the whole
restaurant. Tim tried to play a prank on a few people by nibbling off
the bottom of his ice cream cone and sticking his finger through the
bottom. It definitely wasn’t his most successful prank, but we laughed
because we love him (Tim, if you’re reading this, we miss you
already). We said a few goodbyes and went back to our host homes to
change into warm clothes for a bonfire that the Nielson family was
preparing for us.

We sat around the fire talking, laughing, enjoying each other’s
company, and eating s’mores of course. Ahna then asked that vital
question, “What now?” We went through the group and discussed our
plans. Amongst many other things, one theme was a trip to the Capitol
building in Sacramento. We each had different answers to this
question, and I am excited to see how we all start changing the world
around us. This is a powerful team with more influence than we
realize. I really believe that God has equipped us to make a positive
difference in whatever area He calls us to.

We seriously have an amazing team & I have been incredibly blessed by
them throughout this trip. Our leaders, Chelsea and Kevan have been so
great. I am thankful for so many people in so many different ways.
Ultimately, we are all extremely thankful that God has blessed us so
heavily on this trip. We are excited to take all that we have learned
and experienced on this trip and apply it. Thank you all for your
continual support and prayers. Thank you for allowing God to use you
as a blessing!

Love,

Amber Bishop

Chicago ” Experiencing Culture”

Hello Simpson,

Today is Thursday and it is our last day with the kids at the center. We have had an exciting, yet busy week and we are so saddened to say bye to the kids today. This week at the center it was cultural awareness week. The first day we learned about Spanish Culture, next was Indian and Pakistani, followed by African and today is Asian. Our days typically followed the same routine as we prepared for the day. We wake up around 7:30, get ready, eat breakfast and prep lesson plans for the day. Each day we taught on the language,animals, customs, famous people, holidays and colored a map for where each culture is located. For lunch, the team goes out into the city and experiences the culture through food. It has been a really neat experience to learn the different cultures alongside the kids. When we come back from lunch, we are excited to share with them what we prepared for them.

On Tuesday night, we were in charge of running a Cafe for the ESL students to come and practice their English in a restaurant setting. Our team had chefs, a waiter and waitresses and after serving we sat down and talked with them. We enjoyed learning about their lives and connecting with them. We have another opportunity tonight to work with them and we will be teaching on Honesty and Integrity. This will include interactive games, skits, and conversation. We will end the night by playing board games.
Our prayer requests:

-Josh and Kim’s knee are bothering them.

-Hannah is beginning to get a cold

-That the rest of the trip will go well and that even though we will not be working with the kids each day, we will keep our focus and willingness to serve.

Thanks for your loving prayers and support,

Team Chicago

Oakland “The intense application of loving your neighbor”

Hello Friends, Families and Supporters,

We just got done with an intense urban plunge in East Oakland and are currently on our way back to Redding for an intense application of what we learned in East Oakland. And this is not just in the city of Redding, but for any place we might find ourselves in.

Social injustices are everywhere, and the call to “Love your neighbor as yourself” has never been greater. In Oakland I counted a total of 19 prostitutes on a five minute  prayer drive on International Blvd in Oakland during the evening hours.They were openly out there soliciting.

There was an instance during a red light at an intersection where an old man looked at us and smirked. He began to honk at a prostitute at the street directly ahead of the intersection. As she briskly walked, he looked at us again with no shame and flashed a big smile. His smile made my soul shudder in disgust and my teeth clench.  I stared at both of them as we drove off, realizing that the only difference between me and this man was probably Jesus. My heart not only broke for the prostitutes that night, but for the john’s and the pimps. It is ugly.

On a brighter note, we got to play with kids from Harbor House in Oakland! They were just begging for our attention, and it’s ridiculously hard to say “no” to any of them.

Please pray for our team as we continue to learn and grow on our second half of the trip in Redding.

-Wes Moldogo

Olympia “Learning how to change the world!”

 

Hello Friends, Families and Supporters!

     On Monday we went to Washington’s Capitol and learned about the
process of how to testify on a bill and the process of passing a bill.
We did this to better understand the process and we also went through a
mock bill testimony. For each bill, citizens are able to come into the
Capitol and testify as to why they want the bill passed or changed. It’s
an awesome way that citizens can give their opinions and fight for or
against the bills. We were also able to meet the governor and watch the
signing of a bill into law.

    Yesterday we helped landscape and plant
potatoes and berry bushes in the seeds of hope garden which will go to
the food bank at the church. Also we spent time in prayer and ministry preparation so that we may better serve God in our lives and help in the fight against trafficking. Last
night the church put on a “deceptions” training to teach the public
about the signs and dangers of trafficking. This helps us as
advocators against sex trafficking to learn how we can put on a the training
ourselves.

    Today we are helping at The Source (a program that gives
groceries to many families every week) with their guest appreciation
day, which helps over 100 needy families a week, providing them with
resume help, their nails, face painting and hotdogs. And then tonight we
will be hanging/helping with the youth group!

Thanks again for all you prayers and support!

Update from Team Oakland “Our Arrival, What we are Learning and lots of Prayer!”

 

Hello from Oakland!

We arrived safely on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed a lovely lunch with our trustee. After lunch we journeyed to East Oakland where we met our hosts Nic and Mo. After arriving we watched a documentary on Oak Park, a  close-by multicultural neighborhood complex, that fought their way out from under their oppressive slumlord in 1999-2000. Since this film we have done a lot like identifying our own prejudices, visiting an African-American church that placed a lot of emphasis on social justice and is very active in the community, and we have listened to multiple testimonies that give hope of God’s guidance in the lives of people who live in the inner city. We also watched a devastating film on underage sex trafficking victims. We felt overwhelmingly convicted to pray for the people of Oakland who have been affected by this. ‘

Also, we have been participating in extensive Bible studies dealing with the book of Luke (Luke 4:14-30 and Luke 10:25-37). We will be updating you all again soon and we ask that you continue to pray that God would open our minds and hearts to better understand injustice in the inner city.

Love Team Oakland!

First Update from Team Chicago ” Freezing but Excited”

 

Hello from Chicago,

 

    Chicago is COLD! We have been in weather ranging from 17 to 30 degrees over the past few days. Friday we left Sacramento in the morning and flew to Chicago. We landed in Chicago at 7:00 pm local time. Then we drove to the Family Empowerment Center, which is where we will be serving for the next week. We had dinner and some good team bonding over a game of chess and Life.
    Saturday morning we helped with a rummage sale to raise money for the center. For this we passed out flyers around Rogers Park and helped sell items to members of the community. After the rummage sale we got the opportunity to take a much needed break (two hour nap). We then walked around Rogers Park to observe the economic, social and cultural differences. Later that night, we reflected on what we had observed previously that day.
    On Sunday morning four brave members (Kim, Josh, Hannah, and Tony) took a six mile run in sub 20 degree weather, while the rest of the team got ready for worship service at the center. Some of our own (Abigail and Mirna) helped lead worship to the congregation, while Josh and Brooke helped out with children’s ministry. After the worship service, we had a brunch for the community which was a good opportunity to bond with those in Rogers Park. After clean up from brunch, we went to a local grocery store to see similarities and differences of a Rogers Park store.  Rob, one of the pastors at Family Empowerment Center, led us in a debrief about Rogers Park where we talked about the differences in the community and led us to discuss the ministry there. We finished the night with some solitary time  to relax and pray and then some Chicago Style Pizza!
    Over the next week we will be helping out with the after school program and ESL classes. We are excited to see the children and what God has in store for us.
Our prayer requests are :
-Josh, Tony, and Hannah have a 20 mile run Monday morning in sub 20 degree weather, pray for perseverance and safety.
-Kim’s knee has been bothering her and she can barely walk around without any pain, please pray for strength and healing.
- The next week will be long and tiring so strength and rest for the whole team so they can get through the next week.
Thanks for all the support and prayers, we couldn’t do it without the support!
Kim and Brad