Welp. Arrived at the airport this morning to head home only to discover that our flight was cancelled. SO… we get to spend another night in Phoenix! Hotel here, then on to Winnipeg via Vancouver tomorrow, the night in Winnipeg and then finally on to home Tuesday morning.
As a result we’re getting some extra bonding time in… which is code for “no more clean laundry, so we are getting reaallllly comfortable with each other”.
It also gives us a chance to catch up on the last of the student blogs! This morning we got to say our goodbyes to Kristian and Anna who both had a blast at the game last night. I manged to get their names up on the jumbotron, and they both had so much fun. This morning we got to meet Kristian’s two kids and fiance as they showed up for Sunday church, and got to pray with he and Anna as we wrapped things up. Had to drag your kids out of there to get to the airport on time. Good thing we weren’t late for that ;)
Here’s the blogs… then off to the pool!
My highlight of February 20th was going to Glenrosa. It was my favourite part of the day because there was a variety of things to do to help there from having conversations with adults to playing soccer with kids. I had a chance to talk to a guy who said he tries to go to all of the outreaches and that one was his favourite. When I told him I was from Canada he said he’s always wanted to go there, but he never could because he has problems with his hands when it’s cold. I was also playing soccer with a group of people and we noticed this one kid who was shy and got kind of left out because he didn’t know anyone. So we started talking to him and he told us his name, which was Avery. Once we started talking to him he wasn’t so shy anymore. (There was also this really cute baby pit bull.) So that’s why Glenrosa was my favourite outreach to go to.
I loved all of the outreaches, but if I had to choose which ones that I liked the most it would be CASS. This outreach had the most impact on my life, as it was so devastating to see how many homeless people need help just in that one part of Arizona. At first I didn’t know what to say to people, so I started out by bringing people coffee and giving a simple “God bless you”. Then later on I started to talk to them and really get to know them. I will specifically remember the one conversation that I had, where I asked this one person how they were doing, and they replied that they were alright and that they would be significantly happier as soon as they were off of the streets. One of the things that I very quickly noticed is, that the evangelizing that goes on in Arizona is much more different than in Canada. If you were to hold a sign reading “HONK FOR JESUS” on the streets of Canada, people would think that you were a little off in the brain. But in Arizona, that is the norm. Overall, this trip has really changed me and I wish to use what I have learned and find ways to use it back home.
I just wanted to talk about one of the aspects of the trip that was the most important to me. Each morning we went to the sanctuary to have church service, because we woke up at 5:20 am I was pretty tired for these church sessions every day and may have dozed off occasionally. I managed to fall asleep even with live country-Christian music, incredible testimonies from people who spent years in prison and/or strung out on heroin but found Christ. Saturday morning was different though, they had a guest pastor come in to speak, and his name was Pastor Zo. He had graduated from the program at the Arizona DreamCenter and went on to run a church in the streets of south central L.A. a notoriously rough area. I can tell you that that morning I was not falling asleep, even if I tried. He started the service off with rapping along to a Christian rap song, from artist LeCrae. He called this the “Christian cup of coffee” to wake us up, and it definitely piqued my interest. Starting from that moment until just over an hour later when he was finished, sweating and breathing heavy I never lost interest. He was a ball of energy who had an incredible gift for speaking. It was obvious that he knew who his target audience was, using analogies about selling crack, pimping, and living on the streets, and also dropping an N-word or two, but that did not stop me from enjoying it, and the message he was trying to get across. He quoted the passage Zephaniah 3:17 which reads “The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Which summed up the message behind his speech which was essentially ‘everyone needs saving, and the lord will save all’. I’ve been to quite a few different churches, and heard quite a few different pastors speak, but never one like Pastor Zo before. I don’t think I’m going to forget him anytime soon.