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Mission Trip Journal  – Day 1, 2023

Mission Trip Journal  – Day 1

God is Love

This week, the youth from the Gathering Place have journeyed over to the west coast of Florida, to Cape Coral, specifically.

Why Cape Coral?  Well, it was just last hurricane season that Hurricane Ian struck the west coast of Florida, devastating the locals.  In particular, Fort Myers was hit with over a 7 foot stormsurge.  Guess where Cape Coral is?  Just across the Caloosahatchee River from Fort Myers.

In this devastation, a local church, Grace Church, made it their mission to help some of the already underserved communities that were particularly hard hit.  To that effect, they have been hosting mission partners throughout the  year, and not just during the summertime.

So, being spared the wrath of hurricanes, we decided to help out our neighbors across the coast.  We are staying at the church, in a mobile disaster response trailer, and the church is being awesome by providing us food!  Before we arrived, the church liaison told us to “be flexible” in the jobs we were going to do.  This was extremely important for us to embrace, when Grace Church itself had some major issues just before our arrival, such as a bad roof, air conditioners leaking into the walls, and a major water pipe break in their youth and preschool building!  So, our job is now to help out the church itself.

On Day one, we split into two teams.  The first team stayed at the main church building, and helped get their (massive!) youth room repainted. This needed to get done so that they could get carpeting on the floor this week.  This team also helped to rebuild parts of the stage, the sound booth, and get things set up for Grace Church’s upcoming shoe drive.

Team two was responsible for heading to a satellite campus of Grace Church, in an area of much greater need.  This church site had so much roof damage that the only part of the building that is currently accessible is the sanctuary.  Our job here was to rip out the kitchen, and tear out some drywall to see its condition. We did so well with that, that we also did some much needed landscaping around the facility.

Overall, the kids worked super hard and impressed our church supervisors.  One volunteer said that the kids who worked in the youth center did more in one day than the previous group did all last week!

Finally, I’m trying an experiment this year.  Each night a different set of students will be presenting a quick devotion of what “God is” to them.  The first group of Joseph, Harrison, Jenna, and Charlotte chose to emphasize the fact that “God is Love.”  Their scripture was John 3:16.  Also, through their actions this week, they are showing that God is Love in more than just a metaphysical sense.  God is Love here on Earth, through the actions of His people.  These students are being the hands and feet to help a community recover, when there are no other options.

Grace and Peace!

Jon Deyling
Family Ministry Director.

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