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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Day 5: Hope Gardens (Providing some much needed volunteer help)

This morning after breakfast and devotions, our group went on a prayer walk. We hiked up in the foothills around Hope Gardens stopping every so often to pray at prayer stations for things including the Union Rescue Mission and  Hope Gardens. Sometimes we  prayed as a whole group, while other times we prayed in small groups or individually. It was so beautiful to look out as we stood at the top of the foothills and marvel at God's creation! During the afternoon we broke into groups to serve Hope Gardens by cleaning areas of the facility. We dusted cobwebs, hauled garbage, vacuumed carpets and much more. We also got to hear the story of Mr. Woods, the janitor here. He told us about how he had had a rough life but had found Christ and his life has now been transformed. Today was a very enjoyable day, serving the Lord and just being together! :)

~ Larissa Kanz

Today we spent our day working at Hope Gardens where we have been staying. We did general upkeep around the area. Many of us including me worked on landscaping. One of the things we have learned from our stay here is that there are always kids around who would love to have attention. They were begging to help us and even though they weren't supposed to some of them hung around. Anthony, one of the kids brought us waters to help out! He talked to us the entire time and learned a lot about us. Later after worship we spend time washing each others feet and praying for each individual in our church group.

~ Zach Hendrikse

Have you ever had that moment where you just knew that God was working inside of you? Tonight at worship we were learning about how Jesus stepped out of the box and washed his disciples feet. So we went into a smaller room with a small tub and a wash cloth and we all gathered in a circle and we took turns one by one washing each others feet. And while the person's feet was getting washed we would pray over them. We all poured our hearts out and we cried together and held each other and it was one of the most amazing experience of my life just being in fellowship with my friends and family.

~ Emma Hendrikse
Beginning our prayer walk...

Enjoying the incredible view

Overlooking Hope Gardens

Tanner during personal reflection / prayer time

Gathering at one of the prayer stations

Emma's been doing great as her knee continues to heal

Group photo after the prayer walk

Funny faces

Lauren gives us our last instructions before heading back

Work time begins.  Nic, Caleb, Luke and Tanner go through donated items

A hummingbird in one of the gardens we were working by

Keeping the dust out of the lungs:)

Meagan looking for the next task

Jacob sweeping off porch outside the cafeteria


Noah and Nic are our "Devo Masters". They took turns leading our group in lunchtime devise throughout the week.

Listening to Greg share his story.  After growing up in Compton and spending 8 1/2 years in prison, Greg has a new life.  He works for Union Rescue Mission.  He played against Clay Matthew's dad in high school (fun piece of trivia)

Noah and Zach taking a water break

A little duck-duck-goose

Finishing up some weeding

Day 4: Project "Enrich L.A."

Today we had the opportunity to serve at two schools in L.A with an organization called Enrich L.A. This is an organization focused on growing gardens in schools around Los Angeles to teach students better eating habits and giving them access to better food. Among the numerous tasks we were able to serve them with were mulching, welding , and building "hugle" mounds (decaying matter mounds that create natural irrigation). Through these tasks we were led by two contrasting personalities. One man named Tom├ís and one named Jeff.
It was through Jeff that I "saw God" as we say in Hope Garden. He had such an obvious love for plants and Gods creation that even if he wasn't a Christian he inspired love of creation in me. The hard work taught me humility and the willingness to be a servant and respect authority.

~ Nic Veldhorst

A great way to start the day... Get up at 4:50 am and hike to the top of this small mountain.  The view is absolutely gorgeous.

Prayer before we head out for the day

Bekah and Angie getting ready for a day of gardening

Tanner and Nic getting the wheel barrows ready

Larissa, Emma and Luke getting their gloves

No caption needed;)

The nonprofit we helped out today.  The students worked really hard.

Fixing wheel barrows

Loading mulch and wood chips

Lunch time!!

 Working at the next school

Alycia and Jacob

Mrs. D on the move to the next job

Irrigation tubing...

                                          Time lapse of us taking care of business!

The wood chip crew

A few of our guys with Jeff.  Jeff's a great guy.

Group shot:)

Shopping for important things like junk food

Getting ready for worship 

Sharing our "Yay God" moments

Reflecting on what God did today

Carrie Budwine, Director of Hope Gardens, gives us a brief history of Hope Gardens and a background of the ministry

Beech shares her "Yay God" moment from the day

Jacob taking part in the activity.  Each of us was able to chip off a piece of wood.  The chip represented something God has removed from us as he continues to make us into the people he's calling us to be.

Larissa chiseling off a piece of wood.  We each did this at the end of worship as we considered what God is chiseling away in our lives as he continues to shape us into his masterpiece.