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A Trip Worth Taking

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Last week DJ and I, along with a small group of our friends, spent six days in Brooklyn, NY.

We partnered alongside Metro World Child and were a part of what they call their boot camp.

There’s a reason they call it that.

During our time there, we weren’t sitting around with our feet up, but rather working from early in the morning, until late at night.

The staff at Metro World Child run a tight ship – it’s quite impressive to see and even better to be a part of.

Each week Tuesday-Friday around 200 teams head out into NY in their yellow colored box trucks and put on what they call “Sidewalk Sunday School.”

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Kids gather from all different neighborhoods and project buildings – they sit on tarps and sing songs, recite rules, participate in games and listen intently to the message that is shared. And when it’s done, kids are always sent home with a treat.

Many of the teams do this same thing three times per day.

There are also home visitations, passing out flyers after school and blitzing that takes place throughout the week. And this doesn’t cover any of the behind the scenes work that takes place.

Saturday is the big day.

Kids are bused in from all over the community and get to be a part of Saturday Sunday School.

Everything is done in large scale and everything is done well.

It’s very apparent that kids are having a blast as they sing along to their favorite worship songs, play team games and listen to just how much they are loved by God.

Saturday Sunday school takes place three times every Saturday – with around a thousand kids attending each session.

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I signed up for this trip. You hear about other people’s thoughts and experiences, but it’s nothing like seeing it for yourself.

Five days after the trip and I’m still thinking about all that I saw and got to be a part of.

Wednesday I spent much of the day with an intern from Germany. Each week Phillip visits the homes of many of the kids who come to Sidewalk Sunday School. He reminds them to attend the one nearest to their home the following day and lets them know what the giveaway will be for the week.

This was my first time in a New York City project building. Many of the sights and smells I experienced that day are ones I’m not accustomed to in my everyday life.

My favorite part of this day was watching how excited the kids got when they saw Phillip walking down the street, and in turn, he got just as excited to see them.

For the kids it’s someone who knows them, calls them out by name, and seems genuinely happy to check on how they’re doing and give them a hug. You can tell it means a lot.

The outdoor blitzing we did as a team on Friday was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Two members from our team volunteered to dress up in Yogi Bear and Boo-boo costumes and as we walked throughout neighborhoods inviting kids to the Saturday Sunday School, the box truck with us blared out some of these kids favorite songs.

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It was a blast to watch kids run out from their project buildings and fill the sidewalks – ready to show off their dance moves. And man can these kids dance!

That day every one of us from the team learned how to do the whip and the nae nae.

Throughout the entire week, I was extremely impressed with how much light the Metro World Child team is bringing to these kids’ lives.

From the little I saw, and the little I heard about – life for many of these Brooklyn raised kids, isn’t anything we’d chose for our own kids.

I’m not sure what kind of love, support, and hope they feel while they’re at home, but there’s no doubt they’re feeling it when they’re part of the Sidewalk and Saturday Sunday School program.

The bus rides we all took part in on Saturday were the most difficult part of the trip for me.

Time on the bus made for one-on-one time with the kids sitting near you. Time to learn their names and a little bit about their lives and it didn’t take any longer than that to make a connection.

Kids wanted to hold my hands and to play with my hair. They wanted to look at pictures on my phone and to know about my own kids.

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You could see how much they wanted to be noticed, to be heard, to be loved – and it wrecked me.

I will never forget the time I spent on those buses.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I left for this trip – and I don’t think I could have predicted the impact it has left on me.

It’s also clear to see the impact it has had on our entire team.

We’ll never forget the six days we spent in Brooklyn with the team and kids from Metro World Child.

We won’t forget the smiles we saw on the faces of so many kids and the hope we saw in their eyes as they were reminded of how much they are loved by God, and also by the interns and staff that give so much of their time and energy.

This is most definitely a trip worth taking.

A trip I would recommend to many others – especially those who work with children.

It has left an imprint on me and I am thankful for it.

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