2013 Spring Break Missions Journal
The stories below are personal accounts from members of some of our 2013 Spring Break mission teams. Use the links at the bottom of page to view additional trips, and check back periodically for more updates!
TJ McCloud, team leader
The opportunity to see Nashville as a mission field is so exciting to me, and one of the reasons I got involved in the Spring Break: Nashville trip. We had an amazing week last week, and it was so eye-opening to spend the week focused on our community of immigrants and refugees, just a few miles from Lipscomb’s campus. For me, the most amazing day of the Nashville trip was Tuesday, during a field day at a low-income apartment complex in Southeast Nashville. Seeing kids from all over the world; immigrants and refugees from wars and horrible conditions- all coming together and playing freeze tag, balloon pop or even just coloring and learning basic English with another member of our mission team- it was really beautiful. The whole world seemed like it converged on that little lawn- with English, Swahili, Burmese, Spanish and Arabic languages being shouted in joy over an impromptu game of kickball and a few Capri Suns. God was there in that interaction, breaking down walls and barriers, bringing people together, making the "alien among us" feel welcome and valued... I'll never forget it, and can’t wait to do it again!
Roxanne Spielvogel, senior
I just returned from an amazing trip to Nevis in the Caribbean. Currently on my heart is a sweet boy I met named Rodney. We visited 5 different schools throughout the week were in Nevis and on Thursday, we went to the special education school on the island. There were only about 20 students of all ages with a variety of special needs. I was very hesitant before we went just because I don’t have much experience with disabilities and wasn’t sure what to expect. In that day, I was touched in a way I have never been touched before.
We were blowing bubbles with some of the kids when there was a boy who wanted to blow bubbles, but physically could not do it. Somehow, I ended up hanging out with him and blowing bubbles and letting him dip it into the water and we would blow them together. After about 10 minutes of play time, this sweet boy went all in for the hug. I immediately melted and he hopped up into my arms and we just stood there. Rodney isn’t a tiny little boy, but in that moment he felt like a feather and I was beyond thrilled to be hanging out with him. He couldn’t talk so there was no communication except for just knowing he wanted to be loved and held. In that moment I just felt God like I’ve never felt him before. I saw him take me from a place of fear and concern and make me instantly fall in love with a child I couldn’t even talk to.
Rodney, I pray that God blesses you abundantly and you can feel his love at all times. No matter where life takes you, just know you touched one woman’s heart more than you will ever know.
He informed us that the place the ministry is located in is called the Tenderloin, which is just an area of San Francisco. He told us how broken and neglected the Tenderloin is. We learned how it was one of the roughest parts of San Francisco because of the drug use and the violence. It is also densely populated, with 37,000 people in 35 blocks. One thing that is absolutely crazy is that the ministry of City Impact is located literally next door to a building labeled Power Exchange. Shaun informed us that the Power Exchange used to be a strip club, and has now converted to a sex club. It is where people go to pay for sex. Shaun said they pray over that place every day and that there are efforts to get it shut down. That is just a small glimpse of what the Tenderloin is like. It also has one of the highest population of homeless people in San Francisco. We then talked about what we were going to be doing that day and how we were going to be serving the homeless and the neglected of the Tenderloin. One thing that we talked about that really stuck out to me was how we need to have a heart for the poor and the homeless. Sometimes I think we tend to put the homeless and poor in categories of other type of people and how we need to go and serve them, but those are our brothers and sisters in Christ. God loves them just as much and he calls us to love them. It is not an option for us to not care for our brothers and sisters. If we are followers of Christ, it is our calling to care for those around us, and in the Tenderloin those brothers and sisters just happen to be homeless. So after praying and getting our hearts prepared and aligned with God’s we set out for the day. We split into teams and did different tasks. Some of us went to a school that the ministry sponsors, some to a rescue mission, some to a thrift shop owned by the ministry, and Jenna and I went to help in the kitchen.
There Jenna and I spent 3 hours cutting meat and vegetables for a big event the ministry was having on the weekend. I probably cut 35 pounds of meat into little strips and Jenna cut so many vegetables. It was nice to be able to help out in such a unique way and to be able to bless the people in the kitchen by giving them a helping hand. Then we ate lunch and prepared to go do some meal deliveries.
Meal deliveries is a time when hundreds of meals are packed into bowls and we take them to SRO’s and hand them out to people and just talk to them. SRO’s are Single Room Occupancies. They are places that usually only one person lives in and are usually government funded. They are one step up from being homeless. On the walls we saw where they had sharps containers where people could put their drug needles so they wouldn’t be in the rooms. They were definitely rough places, but filled with people who needed love. We just just knock on people’s doors, give them food, and then ask them how their day was going. From those conversations we would try to ask them if there was anything we could pray about for them or lead those conversations in a spiritual direction. Some people just took the food and closed the door on us, but a few people really opened up to us, and you could tell they were just looking for someone to talk to. Even if we just showed one person some love that really needed it that day, it was worth it. We did meet a lot of people that we were able to pray with and that we were able to share the love of Jesus with.
One guy, Kevin, who we met as we passed out our very last meal really opened up to us. He broke down and cried in front of our whole group and you could tell he was in a rough place and really overwhelmed by Gods love in that moment. He told us about how he was addicted to alcohol and how he was addicted to heroin. He said that he needed a lot of prayer and a lot of help. We all laid our hands on him and prayed for him. You could tell how much God was speaking to him in those moments.
We then headed back to the ministry building and had dinner. After dinner we prepared for Street Ministry. This was a time when we went out to the people on the streets and gave them some Cheetos and some Corn Flakes and just prayed and talked with people. These people were in much worse shape, being outside and homeless, but we served them and showed them love in ways they don’t receive it often. We got to talk with a lot of awesome people and God really had some pre-ordained meetings that occurred. Even though some people were so out of their minds they didn’t know what planet they were on, we still showed them love and gave them some Flamin Hot Cheetos. There were some sketchy moments where we saw a guy shooting up cocaine in his leg and then walking around us and a drunk guy calling all the girls in our group vulgar names and calling the guys out to fight him and circling our group, but everybody was safe. “There is no where safer you can be, than in the will of God doing what he calls us to do.”
We then, as a group, went in front of city hall and prayed for the city and for all the people that we talked to that night. It was really powerful, and so evident that God was right there with us.
“God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love.” - Francis Chan
“It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that he didn’t call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace.” - Francis Chan