Today’s devotional was around the response to God’s love:  GOD FIRST LOVED YOU, SO WORSHIP GOD.  Psalm 34:8 Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.  We talked about unique ways you can worship God.  Worship can look different for different people at different times, but this is the general definition:
Worship: to honor with extravagant love and extreme submission
Today at the Y was another busy day.  The kids were happy to see us back and anxious to interact.  We all have learned the “Fire circle” they do every morning and have fun dancing with all of the kids at 10:00 AM.   Everyone got to go swimming, a favorite of the kids at the Y and of ours.  Our group is enjoying spending time with the kids and are also surprised how tired we are at the end of the day.

Today Jordan’s went to Price Hill Recreation Center, which is a community center for the Price Hill neighborhood.  We spent the beginning of our time with the kids program.  We got to lead some games in the gym.  There was a lot of running.  Our youth loved every minute of playing with the kids.  The kids left for a field trip, so we shifted gears and did a few work projects.  A couple of our boys helped finish a chain-linked fence for a community garden at the Rec Center.  A few others worked on some landscaping.  We finished our time at the Rec Center with some swimming in the pool.  We had a great time cooling off in the pool.
Wednesday evening we were given time in the night to go explore Cincinnati a bit.  We had a nice evening taking some time to explore and spend some time with each other.

Today’s devotional was based around the message:  FIRST GOD LOVES US, WE LOVE GOD, AND WE LOVE OTHERS.  1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 
Today was a very fun day at the Y for everyone, but also a day of sadness as we needed to say goodbye to the kids.  The boys of the group got to play a great deal of basketball and football today and got to know the younger boys even better before it was time to say goodbye.  The girls had a fun time participating in Girl Scouts with the little girls and we all took time to share the message of how very special they are to God and that he made each one of them very special and unique.  We all got lots of hugs good-bye and it was hard to tell the kids we were not going to be back the next day to play.
Jordan’s group worked in one of the community gardens in the city.  There are a lot of community gardens scattered across Cincinnati. This one was in the West End.  Part of our crew spend some time installing some security lights while the others worked on clearing the fence line and planting raspberry bushes.  After lunch we went the Civic Garden Center (the hub for all the community gardens).  Our group was split up there too to work on a couple of projects.  One group helped make planter boxes that will be used to plant vegetables in.  Another group worked on making a sign out an old pallet.   The Third group worked on creating a two level bench that will be used to start seedlings.  We had a great day in the gardens.

Thursday night we helped serve at a neighborhood picnic put on by Happen, Inc. and YouthWorks.  This is a collaborative event that happens every Thursday night.  One of the work groups helps set up in the afternoon and everyone helps serve and meet with the neighborhood.
When we got back to the church, we had large group time and church group time.  During large group, we discussed how God’s love allows us to see things through a new lens and have compassion rather than make comparisons.  Cali, Natalie, and Elizabeth led large group in singing “Oceans” which was a treat for us all.  To start church group, the YouthWorks leaders washed Jordan and Jill’s feet, and then Jordan and Jill washed our group’s feet, as a symbol of service, as Jesus served us.  We discussed as a group what we learned while we were here in Cincinnati and what we can take home with us from this trip.  The kids shared many great blessings they have learned this week and how they have grown from this experience they have been a part of.
Please pray that we get a restful night of sleep and that we are safe on the road as we travel tomorrow.