Friday, April 13, 2007

Hearing Their Stories

Ryan Gomez shares with us his reflections on the trip, and the story of one of the amazing people God brought across his path this week:

Some of us set out on this mission trip knowing what to expect, and knowing all the hard times and fun times that were ahead. For me, it was my first mission trip, and it definitely had a huge impact on my life and relationship with God. I met a lot of cool new people and made new friends and saw the devastation from Hurricane Katrina.

We worked at a place called Broad Street Mission, where we helped out cooking for homeless people and cleaning up the place. We interacted with them and listened to their stories as we told them ours. Most of the stories that they had to share with us were not very happy ones, but they always seemed to have a good ending, some kind of light.

There was one homeless man I met at the mission that had an impact on my life, and my whole perspective of how we live it. His name is Charles Daniels, a man who lost everything in Hurricane Katrina.

He was part of the 82nd Airborne Division during Vietnam, where he was placed on the front lines. After surviving Vietnam, he knew that a Hurricane would be nothing. He left his house in New Orleans when the water began to rise and met up with a Vietnamese man who said he would pay him to help find people. At first Charles accepted the money, but then realized that God would not bless him for taking it. He crumpled it up and threw it in the water and continued looking for others. His brother thought that he died and had arranged for him to be cremated. He later reunited with his family and friends.

Charles’ story taught me that even in the darkest of times there is always a little light, which is the light of God, and if you follow that light you will eventually come out of it ok.

This trip has taught me to be a better person, and has helped me to communicate better with others. My relationship with God has grown through prayer and just by watching all the wonderful things He has done in this short time that we have been here. I couldn’t have asked for a better spring break, and I can’t imagine what it would have been like if all my old and new friends were not here with me.

I have taken a lot from this trip, and hope to continue my ministry when we return home. God bless.

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