Dr. King’s Birthday

Fun Fact: Today was the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s Jr.’s assignation.

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The team visited the National Civil Rights Museum by happenstance today. The team’s leadership did not plan to visit the museum the same day as the civil right’s leaders’ death. It was packed with individuals from all walks of life mourning the death of Dr. King. To walk through the entire array of exhibits took about 2 ½ hours spanning two separate buildings. Prior to the museum, we had lunch at Central Barbecue. It was very tasty!

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After the museum, we spent time roaming Beale Street. As a result of both Dr. King’s assignation anniversary and a home NBA basketball game, it was a happenin’ place. Soon after, we went to eat at Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken. Finally, we wrapped up the night at Jerry’s Snow Cones. They have soft serve mixed in with the ice from the snow cone and flavoring. A common flavor from the team was Wedding Cake. Tomorrow, we celebrate Easter at SOS, and then embark for Kentucky. Prayers for safe travel!

Much Love

Team Memphis

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Some team members hanging out on Beale Street

Some team members hanging out on Beale Street

 

“We all just need to love each other, you know?”

(This post is written by Paige McCourt! She is a wonderful friend; she shoots straight; and she is an expert gamer!!!!!) 😉

What a whirlwind of a day we’ve had here in Indianapolis! Our day began before the sun as we spent the morning serving with Athletes in Action at the Legends of the Hardwood breakfast, a part of the Final Four festivities taking place in downtown Indianapolis. Each member of our team played a different role such as greeter, ticket taker, or usher as we welcomed coaches, players, sponsors, and guests to a breakfast that recognizes Christian character in the world of college basketball. This was a very different type of service than what we’ve been doing throughout the week, but I found it really special to see big name players, coaches, and broadcasters speaking out in the name of Christ. The Gospel was presented at the breakfast by a former NBA player (as a not so sports-minded person, I apologize that I can’t recall who he is), and there is great potential for lives to be changed from the program this morning. How inspiring it is to witness God’s word being spread throughout the city of Indianapolis in various venues and situations!

After a brief nap to energize us for the rest of the day, our team headed out to spend the afternoon exploring areas of Indianapolis with our free afternoon. We checked out the Indianapolis Public Library which was a really cool building that you should stop by if you ever have the opportunity. As we left, we stopped on the steps to take the ever-so-popular jumping picture as a team and caught the attention of a girl on the street. Tasha, as she soon identified herself, actually grew up going to basketball camps at Taylor. Small world! We spent a few moments chatting with her about our purpose for being in the city when a man, clearly drunk, came down the steps and began to talk with us as well.

What happened next is an experience we’ll all be processing for weeks to come.

Lavert is one of many homeless men living on the streets of Indianapolis. He came down the library steps with his possessions in hand, just two small bags and a tablet. As we spent some time talking with him, he told us he lives life in shame of his situation, his background, and other unnamed things as well. But in his words, none of that mattered because God loves him. We spent the next hour or so talking with Lavert about God, both the one he believes in and the one we came to the city to share with its people.

Because Lavert was under the influence of various substances, it is hard to say what he really believes about God. He seems to know a lot of the Christian language that we throw out in evangelistic conversations, but having a head knowledge and having a heart knowledge are two very different things. There were many uncomfortable moments throughout our conversation as I don’t believe many of us have been in a situation like the one we had with Lavert. Regardless of this, I saw the love of God pouring out from each member of my team this afternoon. They left their turf of comfort and entered into the conversation with words of truth on their lips.

We left Lavert with a prayer over him, and we gave him the time of Shepherd’s Easter service tomorrow morning. I don’t know if we’ll see Lavert again or if his interaction with us will be lost in the muddled mess of the alcohol he had consumed prior to talking with us. I don’t know what will happen to him tonight or where he’ll sleep since he said his pride won’t allow him to go to the men’s shelter down the street. I don’t know a lot of things about ministry and the way God works through His people, but I do know that He was present with us in our time with Lavert today. I know that He is watching over my team as well as watching over Lavert and working on his heart each moment. I know that God is good and, as Lavert said, “We all just need to love each other, you know?”

We appreciate your prayers more than you know, and we know that God is doing great things here in Indy through Shepherd Community Center who we all feel blessed to partner with this week. We look forward to celebrating Christ’s resurrection with the people of Shepherd tomorrow morning! Wishing you and your families a very Happy Easter!

Wrap Up for the Week

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It’s Saturday morning and the ‘official’ week at Sun Splash has ended. Today will be a bit of relaxing and processing before we load up the vans and start the long track back on Sunday. It has been a wonderful week of seeing God work through each member of the team as we cared for each other and reached out to the people of Daytona. As we wrap up the week, wanted to give you some names and stories that you could, with us, continue to lift to the Father:

  • Pray for our friend James Lewis. He turns 64 this month and we have had a chance to be with him for 7-8 years during these trips. He is a wonderful man, gifted with an amazingly thankful heart…he has been living in Ocean View for over 30 years and has siblings scattered around the country with a mom in north Florida. He would love to see his siblings one more time. Pray that God could somehow orchestrate that type of reunion for James.
  • We met a 22-year old man named Mike who is “getting his life back on track.” He has been clean from drugs for the past fifteen months, and knows that God has delivered him, but is living in a spirit of fear that the devil will pull him back under. Pray that he is able to find a community to support him and that the Spirit of power will leave no room for a spirit of fear.
  • A demon was cast out of a 17 year old girl named Sadie. Please pray that she continues to accept the Holy Spirit who she asked to replace the demon and that God continues to show her His power, truth, and goodness.
  • A Muslim friend named Habib asked many questions about Christianity and who we believe Jesus to be. The Trinity and the New Covenant were explained to him and what it means to have a relationship with a God who wants to be close to us. He is moving to the hometown of one of our team members and wants to meet with him to continue discussing what Christians believe. Pray that God would unite them and the truth would be revealed!
  • We were given the opportunity to a man with (most likely) Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. He had not taken his medication at the time, and there may have been demonic activity in his life. Our hearts are broken for him as we see him listening to the lies of the Enemy. Pray that Justin would come to the realization of Truth in our Lord Jesus Christ, and that he would be called to living in communion with the Savior.
  • Pray for Colby, a junior in high school who had the opportunity to receive the gospel this week on the beach. He has a servant spirit and a heart of gold, but he wrestled with the hugeness of committing to following Jesus. Pray that he may trust in the Lord and find hope in the gospel. May he see that true life is only found in relationship with Jesus.
  • Pray for Bill, a 47-year-old man at the homeless park, who has never experienced love from a parent.  He had been abused.  Praying that God will emotionally heal him and invade the darkest parts of his heart.  Praying that Jesus will meet him as he starts reading God’s Word.  He kept saying he doesn’t end his life because he feels something good is going to happen in his life.  Jesus Christ is the best thing that could ever happen to him!  He began crying as we prayed over him, and the next day he said something happened deep in his heart as we prayed over him.
  • Pray for Robert. After more than two years of living on the streets, after years of a seemingly stable and successful career, he appears to have given up on finding a way out of his condition. Pray that he will find encouragement and will begin to see that his real need is reconciliation with the Father.
  • Pray for Richard, a 58 year old man of God who is so genuine and real.  He served in the armed forces for 8 years, and did roofing for 28 years. After getting arthritis in his knees he has been unable to get a job leaving him homeless the last six years. Please pray for healing in Richard’s knees and that he can get a job in the area. Also pray that he can receive encouragement and support from fellow believers.
  • Pray for Richard and Justin, two high school sophomores who love being friends, but have yet to realize the friend that they have in God. Please pray that they would discover a relationship with God rather than the religious experience they’ve already had.

These are just a few of the people we encountered this past week. There were so many others…a young man with an amazing mind, who has thrown it away through drugs; an older Jewish man so impressed by the way this team loved each other and the residents of Ocean View; three young guys from England; and many, many others. Each one was unique. Each had their own story. And each meeting touched us as well as them.

We are excited to head back to Upland with a renewed desire to see each person we meet as a unique masterpiece of God and each meeting as a divine appointment.

Tomorrow we pack up and start the drive home. Please pray for safety as we drive through the night!

 

WOW

WOW (world full of wonder) is all I can say about these past few days. We have done everything from digging in the dirt to serving at an Athletes in Action breakfast for the Final Four. Throughout our time one thing remained the same, no matter if we were in the midst of affluence or poverty, Jesus was there.

He was here in Indianapolis before we were even born, and He will remain after we leave. We have not brought the Gospel to Indy this week, but we have had the phenomenal opportunity to join in the wonder He has planted all around us this Easter. As one of our group members, Mallory said her high of the week was simply experiencing the diverse collection of people in this city. She said that it was so powerful to be reminded of Christ’s love for people (especially during the season of Easter) while joining in His love to minister to people at Shepherd, and even just people on our team.

The sun is shining on Indianapolis today, and our team is experiencing the warmth of Jesus’ love for humanity.

I am so thankful for this trip. As a senior about to graduate without solid plans, I have spent the past few weeks worrying about my future. On this trip, God has shown me that that He will provide what I need. He molds the disconcerting experience of jumping into the unknown a joyful one, and He has filled this world with wonder.

We are attempting to open our eyes wide and embrace the wonder around us through gratitude and prayer. I am going to try to get everyone who wants to a chance to share their experiences and lessons learned on the blog, so please keep checking for updates, praises, and wonderful moments from my teammates. And, as always, thank you all for making this journey for us possible. We have had such a unique opportunity to engage our hearts, minds, and bodies in service of the beautiful people of Indianapolis. Glory to God, and have a WONDERFUL day!!!

All is Finished!

As Holy Week peaks with Good Friday and our last day roofing, we reflect on our past week at SOS. Our team finished all six of the assigned projects this week. We roofed in total four houses and got another 2 started. The professionals at SOS will finish shingling the other two houses this coming week. Thank you for the many prayers this week as they were answered. Several times throughout the week it began to rain. All work on the job sites ceased, and a prayer for the rain to stop ensued. Shortly after, the rain let up. This happened three times this week. The team will be bringing back many stories among these likes – where Yahweh answered prayers.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. – Hebrews 11:6 NIVIMG_0997

On Saturday, we will be traveling to the Memphis Civil Rights Museum, which is on the same property as the Lorraine Motel where civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King was shot. The team will be enjoying some classic southern barbecue at Central Barbecue in Memphis for lunch. Dinner will be at Gus’s Fried Chicken. After dinner, we will spend some time walking about downtown Memphis along Beale Street. Easter Sunday will consist of attending church at SOS. In Memphis, there is a network of home churches that meet at SOS a few times out of the year together. Easter Sunday happens to be one of those occasions. Lunch is being graciously provided to the team by the network of home churches. After lunch, we will embark on our journey to Bowling Green, KY. From there, we will be staying at a hotel overnight and enjoying company of the team. Mammoth Cave is near Bowling Green, KY. The team will go to Mammoth Cave on Monday morning. After the excursion to Mammoth Cave, we will venture back to Taylor.

Thank you for your prayers this week, but please keep the safety of all Taylor’s spring break missions teams in your prayers as we begin to head back to Taylor.