This weekend was Carmel Young Life's annual service trip in Indy. We met at 8am and headed down to Rebuilding the Wall. We quickly got to work at one the sites. This house was already torn down to the frame and we worked clearing the basement, demolishing more of the building and pulling nails out of boards using hammers and crowbars.
The massive pile of wood looked intimidating but piece by piece we kept cleaning the wood and filling the nail bucket. Favorite moment was working on a really "fun" board with Jake, MaryEllen, and Zach and ripping out 83 nails in just under five minutes.
It's rare that we have the opportunity to spend our time doing work like this. It was so cool to see all of these kids spending their time helping people we have never met.
Pizza for lunch, talked with Chris about the mission of Rebuilding the Wall, worked for another hour, and then headed downtown. We visited some spots downtown like the 6th floor of the central library. We prayed as we looked out over the city for the people that might be sleeping on those streets and in those parks that night.
Tom pointed this out to us and I'm obsessed with it- there is a group of knitters that knit things on to poles, benches, bike racks, and fences all over the city.
Part of the adventure was to take the $20 from our group to buy food that started with a C, F, D or H to take back to our banquet. The money doesn't seem like much but the thought is that if we all contribute there will be more than enough. Our group bought a mixed 16-piece and then 4 extra chicken legs. I don't think I've ever bought a bag of chicken before.
Another part of our mission was to "interact" with a homeless person. There were no rules except we couldn't give them cash. We walked past a gas station and one of our girls spotted a man sitting with two back-packs next to a gas station. Walking across the street we realized that he was asleep. We woke him up, said hello, and asked him if he wanted some chicken. He told us that would be great so we handed him the box of chicken legs. He smiled and said, "People are so good to me."
When we got back to the warehouse we all pooled our food for the banquet. We piled cheese, crackers, donuts, cereal, milk, turkey, bread, rolls, chicken, chips, cheez-its, cookie dough, pepperoni and diet coke on the table. Looking at the pile it didn't seem like there was going to be enough for all of us.
We put five long tables together and had a great feast. We passed out the food and shared donuts and chicken wings with people around us. We ate off-brand cereal in plastic cups and it was delicious. God provides. We all had more than enough to eat- it just wasn't the typical meal that we're used to.
One of my favorite moments- everyone stood on their chairs singing, "The World's Greatest."
The music continued and we decided to have Step Up 6. The girls choreographed a dance to Celo's "Forget You" and the boys danced to some rap song. The best part was their marching entrance led by a motorized wheelchair.
This was a perfect Saturday night. The boys may have won the competition.
We crammed everyone into one of the office rooms to de-brief the day, hear Rob's story about living out Jesus' love in an area called "Over the Rhine" in Cincinnati, and sang worship songs together. Many of these kids have never experienced things like service and worship. It was beautiful to see their faces as we kept singing song after song and they kept requesting more.
One boy v. girl talk about marriage and commitment later it was time to figure out the puzzle of sleeping arrangements. We fit 18 girls onto the cement floor of one tiny room in 3 rows of parallel sleeping bags- screaming, laughing, coughing, sleep-talking, heavy breathing, and whispering continued into the wee hours of the morning.
The morning came early with 5 dozen donuts and a box of coffee. Not sure why Jake is posing like this...
We went to church at Common Ground- another new experience for the kids to go to a church where communion, the message, singing, and prayer all looked different than what they experience on a regular basis.
Great weekend. We're all really tired. Like sleeping in the back of a trunk kind of tired.