Wednesday, March 23, 2011

San Francisco Update 2

Yesterday our team vetured out to explore the city during the first half of the day. It turned out being a day of paradox. One strange occurance was half our team had Thai food in little Italy and the other half had pizza in Chinatown. The other thing students wrestled through was the polarized incongruence of affluence and great need in such close neighborhoods. Having spent the majority of our time in the neediest parts of the city, it was hard to reconcile the excess of the tourist traps to the hungry kids we had dinner with later that night.

Today we spent the morning helping the Salvation Army deliver meals to home bound people. All the deliveries were to single room occupancy hotels in the Tenderloin district. It was sobering to realize that our breif interaction dropping off food was the only personal contact most of these people would have today. In the afternoon we helped do some organizing and cleaning in the basement of the Outpost and some went to a local high school track meet. In the evening our group split in two once again. One group served food at the next door residential transitional housing program and soup kitchen for men while the rest of us stayed at the Outpost for the youth game night.

It was another long day and we have seen great need and are humbled by the opportunity to serve.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

San Francisco Update

It's been a good couple days so far in San Francisco. We're working with a ministry called Mission Outpost that is based in the SOMA (south of market) district.
We arrived Saturday night after a long and partly snowy drive from Portland. The team from Concordia University also has 12 people and arrived just after we did. On Sunday we started the morning with a prayer walk around the neighborhood and we participated in two church services. One was held here at the Outpost and the other was a called the Homeless Church. It is an outdoor church that meets in a plaza on Mission street. Both services were very different from church back home and we helped serve food and talked with people for a few hours.  In order to experience some different culture on Sunday night ate dinner at an Indian restaurant that was fantastic. For many of our students it was their first experience with Indian food, so it was a great cultural encounter.
Today we spent time working at the San Francisco food bank and helped prep over 4,500 pounds of food. In the evening half of our group stayed at the Outpost to help with the youth drop in night. They played games with the neighborhood kids, basketball, had dinner together, and even got in some break-drancing. The other half of the group helped put on a Bingo night at a low-income housing building for families down the street.
Our team is definitely starting to feel the physical strain from the constant activity. There are about 3 students who have some degree of sickness, but they are all starting to feel. It's great seeing the students wrestle with the issues they are being faced with and how this experience is stretching and challenging them. The insights being shared during our nightly debriefs are really impactful and it's easy to see they're getting a lot out of it.
Tomorrow will be our day to be tourists and explore the city. In the evening we'll start two nights of lessons and games with another group of neighborhood youth. I'll try to get a few more updates in throughout week so check in later.

Friday, March 18, 2011

San Francisco

At 7:00 AM I'll be leaving Carolyn and the kids for the week and heading to San Francisco on a spring break missions trip with Warner students. We'll being doing Urban missions and outreach. I'm not sure exactly what will be included, but there are 12 of us going and we'll be joined by a team of students from Concordia. It should be a great week and I'm excited about the opportunity to serve with students and get to know them better.

I'm pretty bummed to be leaving the family though. Leaving Carolyn for a week take care of everything on her own is hard and I just miss being with my family. They're my most favorite people in the whole world. The drive starts tomorrow and I should be back sometime late Friday night. I'll let you know how it goes next weekend.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Tonight we went to Chipotle for dinner because they gave out a coupon this week that was buy one get one (click here if you'd like one for yourself). It was good, but I realized my expectations are never met with Chipotle. It's good and all, they just aren't as good as Qdoba, they overload on rice, and don't give you chips and salsa like Baja Fresh. The depth of flavor just isn't there, but it is good and we had fun. Anyway, the picture above is Elisa having a great time in Barnes & Noble. I had to return a book and even though we hung around for a while, in the end she still didn't want to leave. The girl just loves books.