Our team has returned safely to Blacksburg after traveling well over a thousand miles this week by car. The week as a whole was amazing, but I'll begin by recapping the last couple of days.
|Adam doing magic.|
On Thursday we began the day at First Baptist Church of Doraville
. This is the first time in a while that one of our teams has been able to spend some time serving this church. We arrived and met Pastor Bill and the church maintenance man, Allen, who showed us what needed to be painted. Some of us painted door frames and trim that had to be done carefully, while others (including myself) painted flat white walls. Adam and I worked together on one of the walls outside the baptistry, with me using a roller to paint the large areas of wall and Adam doing the detail work around the edges and in the window.
For lunch, Pastor Bill bought our team pizza and chicken wings. As you can see from the tweet below, Haley got her Hawaiian pizza. "Haley getting what she wants" seemed to be a repeated occurrence this week, and is probably why she earned the nickname "Princess Haley."
After lunch, a few of us worked on a new mural for the children's area. Adam and Rob spent a few minutes working out the idea on a whiteboard, and Haley helped pick out the font for the scripture, which Adam then freehanded onto the wall. The colored bars in the background were painted using leftover colors from the painting we had done earlier, as well as a few new colors made by mixing paints together.
|"And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8b|
|Working the line at Atlanta Mission.|
After that, we left straight from FBC Doraville to go to Atlanta Mission
, where we would be helping in the kitchen that evening. Despite leaving Haley and Adam to finish the mural at the church, we remaining five arrived a little late, due to rush hour traffic in downtown Atlanta. As we were pounding down the stairway on the way to the kitchen, we passed a man who exclaimed, "Look at this! We got us a rowing team here!" I guess it was the combination of the few of us who were wearing Virginia Tech gear, the fact that there were only five of us, and that we are all relatively tall, fit-looking ("looking" being the key word) guys, but, unfortunately, this poor man was sadly mistaken. Dakota said, "Nope, I'm about as far from a rower as you can get!"
|"Princess Haley's" kitchen selfie.|
Once we made it to the kitchen, we were assigned various jobs. Some of us worked the food line, some of us scraped dirty plates, some of us washed pots, some of us handled clean dishes, and others filled in wherever necessary. The mission fed several hundred people that evening, and the kitchen ran very smoothly. The guys in charge had obviously done this many times before, and had a well-tested system in place.
|Driving in downtown Atlanta.|
After we were finished working at Atlanta Mission, we went to pick up Patrick Starrin (another former BCM student) who had flown into Atlanta early for the Passion
conference. He joined us for dinner, and hung out with us for our evening devotion and some fun times afterwards.
After our devotion and reflection time on Friday evening, we roller skated in the gym at Crossroads Church for the first time. For the record, no games of roller skate basketball were played during this time. Someone suggested playing Body Body on the roller skates, in the gym, in the dark, but this idea was quickly vetoed as well. Instead, we went upstairs and played in the same area where we had played the previous night, but made an extra effort to ensure it was completely dark. This time, not only was the potted tree used as part of the game, but Dakota was running up and down the hall swinging Haley's air mattress, trying to figure out where everyone was.
|Skating in the gym. Basketballs for scale.|
The next morning we woke up, packed up all of our stuff, and cooked a large breakfast that had originally been intended to be one of our evening meals. Before we left, though, we had one more important task to accomplish. We put Judging Jesus in a new frame, signed the back of the painting, and hung him back on the wall where he belongs. In the process, it came to our attention that the previous team taking the painting back with them might not have been quite as discreet as they thought.
After that task was complete, we drove to Atlanta and dropped Haley and Rob off for Passion, and then the rest of us headed home. We made a stop along the way for Bojangles, because it came to Dakota and I's attention that Bradley, Brandon, and Adam had never been.
This was an incredibly busy week, during which we met a wide variety of people. I have only been able to cover a few of our experiences here, but one of the guys we met in downtown Atlanta was named Adrian. I'll let Brandon's photo and the caption speak for itself.
A theme of this week for me was "coincidences that aren't coincidences." There were many of these occurrences throughout the week, starting with Louie Giglio's sermon on hope
, meeting Dr. Susan Hillis
and her husband Brian at Steak 'n Shake and hearing her story
, having Susan's son Vasya join our team and fill the eighth spot, Brandon and I being able to help with the computers at StandUp for Kids
, and the list goes on. It is amazing to me to see God working in even the smallest situations of our lives. There were also times throughout the week where it was more difficult to see God's purpose in the things we were doing, but having glimpsed the way He was working through these other circumstances gave me hope that He has a plan, even when I don't understand it. Hebrews 11:1-3
Another thing that stuck out to me was seeing the many different types and modes of the ministries working to reach the people of Atlanta. We had the opportunity to serve with four very different ministries this week, and it was cool to see how they're each reaching people in their own way. It reinforced to me the idea that the church is one, even across different styles of ministry and outreach, and that the only thing that really matters is that the Gospel of Christ is advanced. Philippians 1:18