Southland Students Serve - catchy slogan for sure, but the idea behind it pales in comparison to the reality of watching it firsthand. This past week, myself and seven other leaders had the honor of leading a team of 30 middle school students up to Cincinnati to work alongside BLOC Ministries as they sacrificially serve the residents of Price Hill. As leaders, we were blown away to see how God was using these students to bring His light into a place where drug abuse, crime and poverty are the norm.
Our team raised over $6500 to go and we
- stayed on air mattresses in a church with only one air conditioned room
- worked to clear truckloads of rubble and brush from lots
- played with children in the neighborhood after school programs
- cooked and served meals at a soup kitchen and food pantry
- helped prepare and clean up their own meals
- sent the balance of our team’s funds to BLOC to help pave one of the lots we cleared
- learned what it means to follow the example of Jesus and serve others
Our work was not without opposition either, as we had some neighborhood teenagers break into the church where we were staying and ransack our stuff - taking some phones and cash from our team members. But what the enemy planned for destruction, our team used to rally together and learn more about spiritual warfare and how when we are serving God we will often run into some sort of obstacles that are thrown our way.
All in all, I think the impact of this week can best be shared by one the girls who went: "The mission trip really changed my life! I just remember one of the nights I was crying uncontrollably because I felt God in my heart and I could feel his presence all around the room. That night changed me!! Watching what BLOC is doing throughout Price Hill was astonishing. Seeing those kids feel loved and welcomed as soon as they walked into the BLOC centers warmed my heart!! I will never forget this trip and I hope to go on many more trips in the future.”