Day 3 update

20 07 2011

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Day 3 in Los Angeles was another full day and I think we are all feeling a paradoxical blend of exhaustion and excitement. We woke early again, ate breakfast at CSM, and headed out to the St. Francis Center: a food pantry that’s more than a food pantry. St. Francis serves low income families in many different ways, including hot meals, clothing, showers, photography classes and more. In everything they do they go out of their way to treat the people they serve with respect and dignity. We got the opportunity to partner in their ministry by sorting some of their fresh produce donations.

After serving at St. Francis we headed down to the heart of the city, near Pershing Square, for something of a surprise. We split our group into two small groups (one with Josh and Amanda, the other with Wes) and set out on foot to find an opportunity to meet someone’s need. Most of us found the very idea of striking a conversation with a stranger, especially one who likely spends their nights on the street, unnerving to say the least. We were given five dollars and a commotion to meet someone on the street. Despite our initial feelings of hesitation, maybe even fear, both groups eventually engaged in at least one conversation with someone who calls the streets of LA their home. One group had an hour-long conversation with a man named Clarence who slept just a few blocks away. Another group spent the majority of their time with a kind man named Eddie with a shoe-shine business. We heard their stories and shared their heart and learned that even as we set out to meet their need, they were meeting one of ours–they put a face and a name to the statistics with which we’ve become so familiar and they dismantled all our false assumptions about those who suffer homelessness. We saw the face of God in the faces of the people on the street.

After getting a lunch at CSM and spending some time with God in prayer, we headed out to the Door of Hope ministry where we showed the kids in the program how to make lunch-bag hand-puppets and played games. The kids made our day as we fed off of their energy and were encouraged by their humor.

The rest of the evening was a free-night. We dropped off Nenji, our CSM host, and headed out to LA Live for dinner at the ESPN Zone. After dinner we got some ice cream, walked around, and went back to CSM where, even as I write, our students are relaxing and playing Apples to Apples with some other CSM guests from Texas before bed.

All is still well and we are having an amazing time. Keep us on prayer. Tomorrow’s gonna be another amazing day.

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