Written by Gina Brooks. Media by Taylor Neal.
This past weekend was Urban Plunge, a 24-hour mission trip to St. Louis. The students who attended had the privilege of riding down to St. Louis on Friday night and staying in the Hampton Inn by Forest Park. We made the decision to arrive on Friday night because we had to be at the organization extremely early Saturday morning. At the hotel that night, we watched the movie To Save a Life and had a discussion afterwards about the implications of the movie—taking responsibility for one’s actions within the scope of God’s converting grace. If you have not seen the movie, it is a fictional movie about one boy’s journey to Christ after his childhood best friend commits suicide.
The next morning, we woke up and drove to New City Fellowship. This ministry is a part of the New City Fellowship church, which has many refugees in its congregation. We shared a potluck breakfast with them and spoke with a few members of the congregation. This day was their monthly “workday” in which they send members and other volunteers out into the community to work on various projects, from mowing the community garden to visiting the elderly in nursing homes.
Our unit was split into two groups. One group had four members and the other had five. The larger group went to a site where our mission was to learn how to “tuckpoint” a house. “Tuckpointing” is the process of carving out the lines between bricks on a building and then putting new mortar in the holes. This procedure makes the house stronger, and as our guides told us, can make the building last up to fifty years longer. The name of the lady whose house we worked on was Miss Mabel. She was extremely sweet.
Our guides were named Cardin and Isaka (French for Isaac), who were both from Africa. They were funny and interesting to talk to. They were close to our age and were keen to answer our questions about their lives. Their kind demeanor and zeal for God enchanted us; both men told us they wanted to be pastors when they grew up. My faith was enriched by their stories and their obvious passion for the Lord.
The other group worked on the community garden. Their site leaders were a cute elderly couple named Gary and Mary. This group’s job was to dig trenches for the new irrigation system for the garden. Gary and Mary told the group that their work expanded greatly on the work done by a group the previous weekend.
Overall, the trip was extremely successful. We were invited back numerous times, and hope to work with New City Fellowship again in the near future.