Learning, loving and living together

Today marks the end of our group’s service at St. Martin Community Center for the week. We can hardly even believe tomorrow we’ll be back at Taylor. Looking back, this past week has been a roller coaster of memories and fantastic opportunities of service and sharing with our local community.

 We started every day at 7 a.m. with prayer, then enjoyed breakfast at St. Martin’s before receiving our instructions for the day. Board Member Mary Jackson aptly observed, “There’s no such thing as a ‘normal day.’” Each time we walked through those doors, center operators Mike and Teresa presented us with a new adventure. Our work alongside the regular volunteers created a comfortable, communal atmosphere for the people of Marion. We cleaned pantries and coolers, organized clothes, stocked equipment, demolished boxes and even served food directly to the people. So much work is put into this well-oiled process, especially since all but four of the workers are volunteers!

  The volunteer community and those whom we served were all so welcoming and eager to talk with us. Everyone had a story to tell. With every conversation, we gained a new friend and a new experience to share. Some of the tales were heartbreaking. It was very educational to understand the position of the people of Marion and the importance of aiding this very community in which we live. It was also uplifting to see other people just like us, living life together each day, and worshipping God even just a few miles away.

  Because of the large amounts of work, our group split into subsections each day to cover more ground. This allowed our small group to do intensive work with each other member eventually throughout the week. Our nightly debriefings were even more colorful because we each had a different vantage point depending on where we were and what we were doing that day.

  Some of the week’s highlights were our dinners and evening conversations with those who allowed us to serve this week, including our hosts (Josh, Emily, and Bailey), the operators of St. Martin’s (Mike and Teresa), the priest of Gethsemane and his wife (Father Jim and Kresha), Josh  and even Dr. Cramer one night. Because we were not merely a group of college students living in some hotel, going to the facility, and returning each day, we were able to meet some of the kindest and most influential people in Marion, and discuss our values and purpose with them. God works in so many different ways through so many people, but His persevering love can be seen in all of us. Our experiences only further proved this point.

  Our group has grown extremely close after all we’ve shared this week, and we have a lot to take back and share on campus. We surely will not forget those we’ve met in St. Martin’s and hope to advocate the need of volunteers for such an amazing organization creating a God-centered environment in a broken town.

photo

 

Birds of a Feather

Today (March 23) was the beginning of our trip to Grant County! Our group met up for breakfast, and we all drove out to get to Gethsemane Episcopal Church to see where we were going to stay for the week. Upon arrival, Emily and Josh, two local residents of the church, greeted us. They gave us a tour of the house and we all unloaded our cars to settle in. We had a group meeting afterwards so we all understood what we would do for the following week in the house in regards to our schedule.

After all was understood, we went to go get lunch at local restaurant Crepe Crazy, followed by groceries at several stores. For team building, all of us went to Matter Park and threw Frisbees, flew kites, and played various other games. There were several other groups of people and dogs at the park. After a while, we headed back to the church, and made a pasta dinner for ourselves. We ate and Bethany gave us her testimony around the dinner table. It was great to learn more about one of our leaders, and it brought up some good topics for the group as a whole. After she spoke, we cleaned up, and went back to the house to rest up and play some games. The first day was action-packed, and filled with team building exercises. Can’t wait to see what else happens over the week!

-Matt

Grant County

“All the blessings we enjoy are Divine deposits, committed to our trust on this condition, that they should be dispensed for the benefit of our neighbors.”-John Calvin

Through partnerships with St. Martin and Gethsemane Episcopal Church, Taylor students are given the opportunity to serve their literal neighbors in Grant County. Through this experience, Taylor students can learn how to better serve the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of those who live right around the corner in Marion, IN. Teams will be able to see the need for Christ through local ministries, housing projects, devotionals lead by community members, and panels on relevant topics to Marion.

Grant County Team Picture_edit

 Prayer Requests:

  1. Grant us a spirit of humility as we consider others better than ourselves.
  2. Grant us energy through our tiring days of repetitive work.
  3. Grant us honesty as we are transparent with our teammates.
  4. Grant us the endurance to remain involved in our community even after Spring Break ends.

Galatians 5:13-14 – “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”