Today was another beautiful day!
While one team left early to serve breakfast, the other 3 teams got ready and left at 8:40 am after a short bible reading and prayer by our Pastor Lauren Gully.
Here are the team reports:
Team 1 spent the morning at Dorothy’s place: serving breakfast to those who live in tents nearby, and then prepping for lunch , cutting up lots of beef, making dozens of PB sandwiches and slicing many onions.
They also met with beautiful people who are working so hard to rebuild in their lives.
One blind man from Cuba, named Vidda, explained how he was detained by immigration for months in over 15 different jails.
His spirit was still so full of light and love, despite so many injustices being placed upon him.
It was an inspiring and eye opening day.
In the afternoon, they sorted apples and oranges at the Monterey Food Bank.
Team 1 had a break for lunch so they spent the time at a beautiful park in Salinas. Nolan and April enjoyed hanging out in the trees.
Team 2 spent morning and afternoon service at first united Methodist church.
They prepared and served a lunch of hot dogs, beans, salad, broccoli, & strawberries to almost 200 people.
They also organized their clothing warehouse and deep cleaned their dining tables.
The tables really needed a good clean! Pastor Steve was so grateful for their work and couldn’t believe how much they got done!
Since the team worked so hard today, they were rewarded with a trip to the convenience store where they indulged in some not-so-healthy treats (mostly cheetos) to refuel.
They joked that their moms would be proud of their food choices. Hi, Mom!
Team 3 spent the morning distributing food organized by the Monterey Food Bank, in the city of Pajaro.
Guests wait in line to receive a good supply of various produce and food items donated by other organizations.
On the ride back, they wondered what each of their stories would be.
After an early lunch, they went to Dorothy’s Place to serve lunch to their guests at 1 pm.
Team 3 came back early to the Lutheran Church we’re staying in.
They deep- cleaned all the bathrooms and showers since more than 30 of us have been using the facility.
There was some downtime after which Team 3 helped with dinner prep, setup and clean-up.
Caroline Crossland led us in the prayer for dinner.
Team 4 went with Migrant Services at Sherwood Elementary to read to the kids there. We loved reading to the kids and talking to them and helping with their art projects.
There was a lot of artwork there. The children’s were precious – so active in their art projects and chatting it up in English with smiles everywhere.
Lauren took a pic in front of the school. Jose Artiz, one of the teachers, is amazing and as is the dance instructor.
Since they had some downtime, they went to the Fort Ord State Park and saw a dolphin, humpback whale and a harbor seal thanks to Thomas’ (one of our students) sea life excellence.
They saw a whale breach many times!
They finished the day at the VBS site playing games and doing crafts and dancing.
At 8 pm, we went to the sanctuary for debriefing and worship.
There was a guest speaker today.
Here is a summary from Keris about the guest speaker:
Tonight we heard from Casimiro Alvarez, a lead organizer with United Farm Workers (UFW). He used to be a farm worker himself, often subjected to harsh treatment and abuse on the job site. He joined the staff of UFW 21 years ago and is still as committed as ever. He is passionate about organizing for the workers in order to make their work conditions better and more sustainable.
He told stories of his supervisors pushing him beyond his limits, and then threatening termination if he did not comply. He often was forced to do the work of more than one person and could not go home until it was complete – if he wanted to stay employed. He described how there used to be no bathrooms for the workers, and women would have to circle around each other in order to maintain their most basic privacy. With the help of UFW, things are getting better, but there is still much work to be done, especially now.
He talked about Cesar Chavez’s great faith in God and how that sustains him through the challenges of his work, and how we as Christians and all people of faith are called to stand for the oppressed. Currently, UFW is advocating for the passage of The Agricultural Worker Program Act of 2019, which would allow for a pathway to citizenship for active fieldworkers. Learn more at www.ufw.org.
In Leviticus 19:33, it states, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” We must be careful who we call foreigners or immigrants. We remember that this is indigenous land that we live on now. It used to be called Mexico, and that many of us reading this are immigrants from another land in some way or another. As always, Christ calls us to stand in solidarity with the least of these.
Pastor Lauren Gully led us in a prayer for Casimiro and the farming community.
After worship, we had small groups and then it was downtime for showers and games till lights out.