Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Spring Break

Yes, I had a "spring break." I know you're thinking, "But Jennifer, you don't go to school." Well, I took time off of work for NCSU's spring break so I could go on a mission trip. It blows my mind that most people spend their entire spring break sleeping late and eat lots of food, or vacationing somewhere warm where they...sleep late and eats lots of food. It seems a little selfish, though I could see how people need to take a mental break after school and whatnot. Anyways, I thought I'd blog about our time there so everyone who couldn't come and everyone who was praying for us would know how it went.
We left late Saturday afternoon, most of us in the church van and those who were coming back early driving separate. We made pretty good time getting down there, despite a failed attempt at stopping for dinner at South of the Border (what place in this day and age doesn't accept credit cards?). At least people got to see this landmark. So, we got there late Saturday night, meeting at Rob and Jacob's house, two guys that are involved with the church down there (Rob is the pastor, Robbie McAlister's son). We found out where we would be staying (well, the girls did, the boys were all staying at Rob and Jacob's) and Miranda, Christine and I headed out to find an open grocery store so we could buy the groceries we would need for the few days we were down there (not an easy task at 10:30 at night). We ended up at walmart and spent easily the most money I've ever spent on groceries (we were buying for 20 people for 3-4 days) which was quite a feeling. Then we dropped the groceries off and went to our respective houses. I didn't get a good look at the house the first night since it was late and I went straight to bed, but let me tell you how gorgeous this house is. Rob and Jacob live on the outskirts of this historic area in Columbia. 2 of the 3 girls houses are in the historic district and are amazing. Our house was white with a beautiful etched glass door that had the palmetto symbol on it ("1!"...inside joke). The family that hosted us were super-nice. The wife is an artist and has a room that's her studio with a lot of her work in it. She homeschools their youngest daughter who was almost 15. Their oldest daughter is a USC alumna and the middle daughter is taking a break from CIU. They had a lot of artwork and pretty things in their house. The room we stayed in had a very comfortable bed and their porch was so pretty I just wanted to sit on it all day. They live on a tree-lined street which is just enthralling. I could totally see myself living in a house like that one day.
Sunday we had breakfast cooked by one of the Riverbend members and then we shared testimonies before heading all the way out to the church plant called River's Edge. They've started the church in a little community center in the gym. They had quite a few people though, and lots of kids. I actually only got to enjoy the first song of the church service because they needed people to help with the nursery. So, Bekah and I went to help them out. I got to go to the 3-6 year olds' class where we watched a video and then had a snack and played with play-doh and then colored. It was a blast! After church we went home to make lunch and then most headed to USC campus to have quiet times and then play ultimate. We got a few guys to join us at ultimate and it was a lot of fun. The other group went to a children's home to help out. Then we headed home and got ready for dinner and homegroup at one of the church family's house. We had awesome worship time led by Rob and Madison and then Robbie gave a talk on spiritual warfare. Then we headed home to rest up for the next day.
Monday, we had breakfast and then learned the rest of the bridge diagram (or all of it, for those who weren't in the outreach class) . Then we headed out to USC campus to do surveys and try to get into conversations with people about God. We saw 2 people saved, one being the very first person Loren shared the bridge with! It was such a God thing, He was leading us to the right people. Then we got back together to share and eat lunch before going out again in the afternoon. My partner was Jimmy and he did a great job acclimating to the survey and initializing with people. It was a strange experience being the "trainer" when I've just been learning the diagram myself this semester. Anyways, then we headed home to make dinner. After dinner, Emily, one of the girls who goes to Riverbend, invited us out dancing! She used to be a professional dancer and actually was in Dancing with Wolves when she went to school at NCSU. A group of us went to this bagel shop that they convert into a dance floor after hours on Mondays. We were a little intimidated at first because they were all doing dance moves most of us had never even seen before (the Lindy Hop and swinging) but they were very patient with us and taught us some new dance steps. One guy was just like Matthew Staples, so we called him Columbia Matthew. His name was actually Nate and he was a great lead and very nice to all of us beginner/novices. After we had danced a while, the SCers got us in a group and taught us the Big Apple, a dance that was started right there in Columbia! It was a lot of fun, we had a blast learning the different moves (it's a "call" circular dance). Then we went home and slept.
Tuesday, my last day, was more of the "same." We ate breakfast and then went out on campus again. Jimmy and I seemed to have less opportunities on Tuesday, but our last conversation was very encouraging. She seemed to understand and said she had already done what we had described. She also told us that she was learning about the tactic we use to get into conversations (surveying and then asking if we could do the diagram as a follow-up) in her psychology class. It's called "foot-in-the-door" tactic. So that was pretty cool. We met again for lunch, after which me and my carload had to head out. I drove Bekah, Anthony, and Peter back. Anthony and Peter slept most of the way back, and Bekah slept a lot of it. So it was peaceful and I could think on the recent events.
Thank you for all who prayed for us!! God surely blessed our trip. Our whole group seemed to really cement, even though most of us had never met or really spend a lot of time together. And the fruit we saw on campus really encouraged not only us who were sharing our faith, but I'm sure the church that is trying to start a campus ministry.