Cincinnati 2It’s been a really busy last few days….  So busy we didn’t have time to update the blog.  Today we finally had a little free time so here is a run-down of the last couple of days:
SUNDAY:
We had a fantastic day today.  The church service was great, we were witness to recognition of two Pastors 50th anniversary of ordination.  After church we headed to the Reds game.  It was a hot one, and again we saw a historic event.  Pete Rose’s jersey was retired – and the Red’s won!  After the game we treated ourselves to a much needed ice cream treat and then to the church to get settled for the week ahead.  We are blessed with great accommodations for the week and a very organized staff for the week.  We met for our first large group gathering, learned about our assignments for the week, and learning more about the theme of the week, First Love.

 

Cincinnati 3MONDAY:
We start our mornings with a 20 minute quiet time of devotion.  Today’s devotion revolved around this simple truth:  GOD LOVES YOU.  1 John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.
Following devotion, we had an orientation about our worksite and were off to begin our mission work.  Our group was split into two separate groups, one group with Jordan and one group with Jill.
Jill’s group is placed at the YMCA working with youth ages 5-13.  Monday was a challenging day at the Y and we learned quickly the many of the children lead different lives than children in our community.   This would be expected, as Cincinnati is one of the most impoverished areas in the United States.  It is our hope we can touch their lives this week spreading joy bring some smiles to their faces.
Jordan’s group is working with an organization called Happen Inc.  They do a lot of cool free stuff for youth in the community.  You can check out all they do at happeninc.com.  While with Happen we spend the morning and early afternoon cleaning up the sidewalks of the main drag in the community.  The Founder of Happen has been doing this for a few years.  His reasoning behind it is: “If your community looks nice you will treat it with respect”.  The crime rate has been dropping over the last few years and people are taking pride in where they live rather than trashing it.  We has a great time sweeping and removing weeds.
Early Monday evening we were treated to a Christian rap concert – the kids had fun dancing and singing along to K Drama.  Check him out on YOU TUBE, the kids loved him.
Monday night we met as large group and as our church group.  We continued to discuss God’s love for us and how Jesus perfectly expressed God’s love.  We are also learning new songs in large group.  In our church group, Monday night was a night we took some time to learn about what each other’s groups did during the day and discussed how we could even work harder to serve God this week, and in our lives.  We also need to pay attention to the ways God is loving us every day.

TUESDAY:
This morning’s devotion revolved around:  GOD FIRST LOVED YOU, SO LOVE GOD.  1 John 4:16 God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God.
Jill’s group was off to the YMCA this morning for a quiet day.  Half of the kids were on a field trip today, therefore the quiet day.  We were able to play more individually with kids and talk to them more.  It was a more enjoyable day overall and allowed us to get to know the staff a little better as well.  The kids were able to swim today which was also very fun for our kids and the Y kids.
Jordan’s group was with Happen Inc. again.  Today they spent the day in one of Happen’s gardens.  They have 3 gardens located around the city.  All the veggies and herbs they grow go to the local food pantry.  We spent our morning weeding and harvesting veggies.  Then we delivered the produce to the food pantry.  While there we got a quick tour and learned more about how they are serving their community well.
We were done at the sites early today as we toured the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.  This was a powerful experience to learn about the history of slavery, and modern day slavery.  It was a very extensive exhibit with lots to see, and could be a whole day trip as well.

It’s been a great trip and we are loving it.  We are learning so much about the community we are serving in and learning so much about ourselves and how Christ is working through us and the community.  Please continue to pray for us, specifically for:  The community – that then continue to work together to better their city and see & know the love of Christ.  Our youth and leaders – that we may get good rest to continue to serve the best we can for God.