30,000 Feet

Internet was hard to come by in LA. But I was able to throw together a video of our week 30,000 feet in the air somewhere over California in 14AThat’s crazy. I made a video on the plane and here it is, if it will upload here. May Something they carry away from this trip bear fruit and make all of us across 23 high school trips a little more alive in God.

I pray that each student would carry from this mission trip and their HP high school days flames of TRUTH, a flame that God will fan for the rest of their lives. Isa 60:2. A white-hot flame they carry to college, to work, to marriage. May that flame guide them to their next chapters. We tried to throw a couple of pieces of kindle on the fire in LA. May God light them for their worlds. March on, dear souls, be strong. Not living 30,000 feet above but present in our world with faces like a flint. Run with the Vision. #hpgoweeklosangeles

Unwanted, Unloved, Uncared for

And so we end at Venice Beach. From the cleft of the rocks to our home on the heights, May we humble ourselves. A Kingdom is coming. God determined our boundaries, the place we shall live. Acts 24:16. Such a good week to share out of our own place, our own stories. The greatest disease in LA is not mental illness or chronic disease. it is being unwanted, unloved, uncared for. There is a hunger far greater than any man has seen in LA. There is a hunger for Love. A hunger for God. As we wrap up our LA week, may we have eyes to see what satisfies our own hunger. The worst poverty is not found in 54 blocks. The worst poverty is hunger of the soul. We’ll drive up to our own street address about 1:30am. As we arrive home a little worn and wonder-filled, may it be with a greater hunger for what really matters in life no matter if it’s on the rocks or mountaintops. #hpgoweeklosangeles #venicebeach

Something Bigger than Ourselves

It’s a moment we have all prayed for. To be a tiny part of Something bigger than ourselves. And we were. From LA to NY. From Rwanda to Guatemala. God longs to be good to us, to have compassion on us. Isaiah 30:18. Whether we live in a one-room teeny Haiti house of cement blocks with 5 kids or in a storied Texas villa. Or like me—on the 3rd floor of a city apartment. He knows our address. That is one of my friends said and a prayer last week before she passed away. He knows your address. I am still processing that experience. He longs for us! So this moment is a forever moment to see that Longing, to give away a little hope and kindness and love.

54 Blocks

Oh! To see things through God’s perspective. Ephesians 1:18. If we only had eyes to truly see the poverty of our own souls. And then, there shines a smile, a handshake, a hug and we fall forward a bit in the kindness of it all. 54 blocks worth of homeless-filled tents and canopies sheltering LA’s most vulnerable. You wouldn’t know it by their welcome. They are so happy to see us, so happy to be held. And it thaws something in my own sometimes frozen heart. It’s a Beautiful Place to be here. It’s a walk I’ll never forget. I met Monte. I held Jasmine.

A Thousand Thanks

Thanks to The Eleven Boys and the Twins …

Here is a thought or two about what I appreciated about each of you on this trip.

The first night we were meeting up on Hollywood Blvd. at the CVS in LA, Denton walked over to a girl playing music a few feet away and slipped a bill in her hand. It really touched something in me. I’ll long remember that moment when he thought no one was looking.

Patrick asked such great questions about what he saw. He’s a thinker with a big heart. Patrick has always always been so kind to me.

Knox has such a great humor and takes life in great strides. He was such a great trooper on this trip. He has been nothing but kind to me.

William could not have handled himself better in a rough patch getting sick! He is such a respectful and genuine young man.

Jax participated fully and you could count on him to do the right things. He is humble and kind and passionate about what he does.

Brendan truly honored our Tour Guide by sharing in the group about her—meant a lot to the Joshua Expeditions Guide. One time, Brendan came to my defense in a conversation and it spoke volumes to me. I’ll never forget him walking home his new friend.

Bailey reached out to include people and was a great addition to the whole group bringing them together. She is so cooperative!

Paige is humble and kind and respectful and added so much to this trip. You can count on Paige to give 100%! So sad to lose them early.

Max jumped in with whatever was asked of him whether in the van, on the streets, with the homeless or kids. So appreciated that.

Alec is always so patient and kind to me and his willingness to cooperate and participate was greatly appreciated.

Hayden took great initiative to meet the homeless making sure they felt connected. And he did it with the kids too. He was the leader moving quickly into the lives of those we met.

Andrew handled himself so well in a group and is such an asset. He charts his own course well.

Wyatt always stood tall to pray. He loved the Compton kids so much reaching out to play with them like they were his best friends. He was a magnet to the kids. And the same with the homeless, toting his red wagon of food and big heart for the underserved. I loved that.

Maris was an awesome JE Tour Guide for this group. They could not have loved and enjoyed her any more! She made this trip what it was! All the boys treated her with great love and care like she was their best friend and she probably will always be. She was on their side all the way. Thanks Maris—-you were one of the best things on this trip!

Zach Tuthill was the best handpicked teacher I could ever work with on a trip like this. His flexibility, his character, his faith spoke volumes!

Elevenish People

“Jesus takes the imperfect number 11 and gives it a perfect vocation.” Bruner. And the Great Commission falls on an imperfect 11 and all of elevenish people. We are all called and are confident of this—He who began a good work in each of us will carry us all to completion! Phil 1:6 And these Eleven Boys were such willing volunteers. And they had fun wherever they went, like Universal Studios.

Compton Kids

Eleven boys made their way to the Compton kids. A weekly kids’ camp at a rev center where The Dream Center serves among the poorest in LA. Our crazy boys were like magnets to these underserved kids. Football. Hula hoops. Basketball. Even Homework. Swing me around. Throw me in the air. Walk me to my humble home. Hold me tight. I need Something to hold onto cause my world is built on sand. And our boys moved strongly into an elementary world of need. Their joy collided with this Compton world’s great need. So beautiful to watch these 11 do what was so natural, so real, so kind. They loved the Compton kids. Just couldn’t get enough. Couldn’t stay long enough.

A Thousand Tuesday Stars

Stepped on a thousand stars last night on Hollywood Blvd. Took about 20,000 steps down Sunset this morning picking up trash. It’s all about giving the cup of cold water in His Name. So we walked Skid Row and met brand new friends like Monte. I hope I see him again one day. I know I will.

54 blocks of homeless living under canopies and tents. Living under Grace. May that Grace be multiplied in all of us. John 1:16.

Tonight we’re under the shimmering stars with a sliver of a silvery moon overlooking the chilly city. The Pacific Ocean to our west. Hollywood to our south. Los Angeles to our east. And a precious Tour Guide by our side. The Grand Griffith Observatory. #hpgoweeklosangeles #sovereignsteps #

The Dream Center

We get to serve every day as teachers. And now this week! We get to serve around the world. 11 international trips. 12 stateside trips. The Dream Center of LA boasts nothing less than Hope and Glory. It’s only Monday but what we see is hope in this mission. We sit on their campus tonight with 200 teens wanting to connect with a waiting world of needs. These Dream people are so genuine, so true, so loved by a Sovereign God who is over all their steps. The words of their very young leadership are weighty. Full of Fod-breathed words for the homeless they serve. Isaiah 64:4 no eye has seen. No ear has heard. All that God has planned for all of us. #sovereignsteps #hpgoweeklosangeles #dreamcenter

Bahamas Day 7

We had a a trash container delivered to the Sandbanks and arrived in the morning to start cleaning up.  The community is filled with trash partly because they don’t really have anywhere to put it!  The last few years during GoWeek we have loaded up trucks and hauled off trash with just a little help here and there from women in the community.  We always engage the younger kids not in school to help us – hoping to teach them new habits!  This year, with the container in place and a plan to have it emptied monthly – even the men in the community joined in to help.  In just a few hours we filled an entire 30 yard container with another pile that will fill it again!  It truly was an incredible experience to be working with the community instead of just for them.  Our HP kids were lifting cast iron tubs, hauling freezers that had been sitting full for probably months or years (YUCK!), and filling bags and bags of trash.  In the end we had hugs and God’s blessings from people in the community!   Needless to say that everyone needed a quick rinse before we headed to the school to finish our garden and play with the kids one last afternoon.  Hot and tired your kids stepped up to mix concrete, finish setting rocks, haul soil and plant seeds/plants to complete the memorial vegetable garden for a teacher that helped us get our ministry started.  Just as we finished the bell rang and we were able to play with the kids for an hour while they waited for the bus.  The day not yet over 🙂 we headed to the community for last good-byes, helping with homework and a few tears.  Our HP kids truly had an impact on everyone in the community!

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