You will not believe what we got to do... MORE WEEDING! Good thing we enjoy it. Our group returned to Summer in the City, an urban garden that grows produce for the people in the community. Most of the people who work there are volunteers, and it is clear to see the passion they have for their community as they work in the fields. We were tasked with weeding the tomato, eggplant, and pepper fields, each increasing in level of difficulty, respectively. Before we started, you would not have known that there was anything but weeds in that field. All I could think of was "Welcome to the Jungle" by AC/DC. They were so overgrown we needed to deliberately seek out the crop plants to avoid harming them. It makes me think about how fragile people are in a similar way. We need nurturing--water, light, someone to remove the weeds that try to choke us. Just as there is an overabundance of weeds, evil is around every corner. It plants itself and digs its roots down deep. When you try to remove them, they are stubborn as all heck. It is impossible for us to keep every weed out, but it is important to remove them before their roots grow too long. Jesus is the ultimate weed killer. With him, those weeds are far easier to remove, and they are less likely to return with a vengeance.
It took us over two hours, but we got the job done. AC/DC no longer plagued my mind, and weeds no longer plagued the tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers. The rows were so open and clear it seemed as if the weeds were never there. As our fourth day of weeding, we were all exhausted, and our backs and shoulders were sore. But while we worked that did not bother us at all. God gave us the strength to get that job done.
Getting to know the people who worked on the garden--where they were from, why they were there, and so forth--was a blessing in itself.
After we finished at the garden, our group headed to a nearby park where we ate lunch and relaxed for a bit. I think a couple people fell asleep while some of us played a card game. It was very relaxing and, I think, well deserved. I am so proud of the work my team has accomplished this week. Every person gave it their all and then some without a single complaint. We got a lot of sun that day and the day before. A rest in the shade was a little slice of heaven.
Later in the evening, we hosted a cookout for community members. Several people came and we all just sat and ate food and talked with each other. An adorable little girl, Maya, was running around and playing with some of the students. It was a great time of community and fellowship with community members and each other.
Our large group talk went a little differently than previous nights. It started out like the others. We talked about Jesus washing the feet of the disciples and how we need to humble ourselves to selflessly love one another as God loves us. When we would normally be dismissed, we were told to sit and close out eyes and think about Jesus. The YouthWorks leaders then brought out tubs of soapy water and towels; they began to wash the leaders' feet. Then our leaders washed our feet. Then we all had a real good session of crying. People were praying for each other and having in depth conversations and hugging and loving. Derrick, one of the Youth Works leaders, came around and prayed for a bunch of people. But I don't think anyone was prepared for it. He sat down next to me and prayed for everything that was on my heart, things that I had not spoked to him about or anyone else during the trip. The same happened to Abby next to me and everyone else he prayed for. I later found out that God calls him to prophesy and speak into the lives of people through God. I have never experienced such a powerful presence as I did that night.
I would love to tell you more but Josh is making me finish so we can leave. Please pray for safe travels and a good time at Cedar Point.