Today was our final day of service in Los Angeles. We are all a little sad that our wonderful experience here is coming to an end.
Group 1 participated in City Search in the morning, taking on the roles of a recent immigrant family and an ex-convict. They were given $4 per person for lunch to experience what it would be like to live on limited funds. It was tricky to find a place to eat under $4 in downtown LA, but ended up sharing a big pizza. In the afternoon, the team were able to hear the testimony of a gentleman (pictured) who is graduating from Union Rescue Mission’s rehab program and now hired as staff at the mission. They also played with children living at the mission. While there, the room was filled with squeals of joy and laughter as our youth were able to give individual attention to the children. What a great way to end the week!
Group 2 worked at the Salvation Army most of the day leading Vacation Bible Camp and playing games. Both the Salvation Army children and the youth were very sad to leave each other after developing quite a bond throughout the week. The team them served at Faith in Christ ministries, where they spent time with 16 children and some mothers from a local domestic violence shelter. The group played tag on the playground and introduced the children to their first experience with gardening, sending them home to the shelter with some succulents to plant.
Group 3 shared pastries with people experiencing homelessness in the park, spending almost the whole time speaking with one gentlemen who was very happy to speak with the group. They also led a round of BINGO with residents at the Grandview Retirement Home. In the afternoon, they tutored Salvation Army children in math, played tennis, played in the game room, painted, and did some crafts. Natalie even received an extra special hair do from the children!
We ended our experience in LA by visiting Santa Monica Beach. We enjoyed pizza with a beautiful view of the ocean then played in the sand and on the muscle beach workout equipment. We then wrapped up with a time of affirmation and sharing about what we learned from our experience this week about others, about ourselves, and about God.