We spent a night up on Mount Soledad. There is a massive cross at the top and the view is incredible!
You can see both the ocean and the city from the top. We wandered around, took some photos, and prayed for the city. It was a great night with an absolutely beautiful view!
Our church group on top of the mountain!
We also spent a night at Mission Beach.
The water was pretty chilly on this cloudy evening, so I opted for keeping my toes in the warm sand,
We spent one of our nights prayer walking around Balboa Park’s rose garden with our church groups.
And our last night, we had a cookout in the parking lot of the church where we were staying. It was pretty great, because they encouraged us to invite everyone we had worked with that week and they put out flyers, inviting anybody and everybody in the community to attend.
Caleb and I ended up spending the night talking to Robert, a man who had been going through some tough times recently, but who spent the entire evening telling us his life stories – everything from how he received his gunshot wounds to how he once caught “junk eye” on a roller coaster ride.
Every night after our evening activity, we’d come back to the church for Club – a time of games, worship, and a quick teaching. They had a different Minute to Win It game everyday for the crews to compete against each other. Monday, they had to move M&Ms from one cup to another by sucking them onto the end of a straw. I can’t remember what they had to do on Tuesday (this is why I take pictures!).
Wednesday, they had to stack dice onto a popsicle stick held steady in their mouth.
And Thursday, they had to roll quarters into the tines of a fork.
The YouthWorks staff had told the kids that if they raised enough money through t-shirt sales, that they would dye Jimmy’s beard. Some of the youth were asking Tom to dye his too, and since he’s a good sport and would do anything for kids, he joined in! Most of the dye washed off in the ocean on Friday, but there was still a hint of green when we got home on Saturday.
The most powerful part of the week, by far, was the foot washing ceremony on Thursday night. The lights were turned down low, worship music was playing in the background, and the YouthWorks staff came around and washed all of the adult leaders’ feet, then prayed with each of us individually. We, in turn, washed our youth’s feet and prayed with each of them. I got the honor of doing this with all of the girls in our church’s youth group and it was just…incredible. Every person in our group, leaders included, were in tears. It was like every experience of the week, good or bad, just flooded our hearts and intersected our lives that night. There were kids who had been carrying around loads of guilt for years that finally felt relief and kids who had been far from God that felt His presence again – it was powerful.
It made the not-at-all-pleasant community showers, sleeping on the floor of the un-air conditioned sanctuary, and major lack of sleep more than worth it.
I’d do it again in a heartbeat.