May 3, 2012

Generation Hope Project Part II

 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25: 31-40 

I'm so sorry it took so long to get this post up, but I had an incredible time last weekend and wanted to make sure I had enough time to put into this post to let you catch a glimpse of how awesome it really was!

So we left at 4am on Thursday morning to travel down into DC for a 6:30am registration time. We got there in great time and even managed to laugh, sing ridiculously old songs, and quote hilarious movies on the 4am van ride. 
{{This is us when we arrived around 6am...taking pictures at 4am when we all left would just be wrong}}

We checked in and received our Generation Hope Project t-shirts and found our work assignments for the next two days. There were 10 of us from our church that made the trip down to work in the city. Six of my friends went to a school for special needs children and worked on a sensory garden. The government had told the man who was responsible for the garden that they would not be giving out funding for the sensory garden this year. Then came the  Generation Hope Project, which was the biggest blessing because without it a space those students loved wouldn't be available to them.  

{{Those are my friends Emele and Lindsay working on the garden at the school}}

Danny, Carly, Dave, and I all went to Amidon Elementary School to work on landscaping the front lawn of the school and sanding and painting a fence that enclosed their playground.The school faculty and parents were all very greatful that we were there. The principal even said "I can't believe you picked us. No one ever picks us." 
I think that statement sums up why we were in Washington D.C. those two days (last Thursday and Friday). We were there to help and serve the overlooked, the lost, the helpless, the troubled, and the addicted.
{{Me and my friend Carly before we were covered with rust from sanding the fence}}
{{Obviously this fence needed some attention}}               

{{Some of the pre-k students even came out to help us sand the fence.}}

On the second day the other 6 joined Danny, Carly, Dave and I at Amidon Elementary to finish the landscaping and painting of the playground fence. It was a blast having our whole group together! 

{{Emele, Whit, and myself at Amidon}}

I also found out the impact we were making on the city first hand on the second day of serving. As we were painting I was talking to the other volunteers around me and asking about their story and why they had decided to be a part of this weekend. I met a guy named Starr. Starr was asking me strange questions like "What is this Generation Hope Project? Why are you all doing this?" I remember thinking "Why is he asking me these random questions? Doesn't he know what he signed up for?" Well I continued talking to Starr and found out that the day before, Thursday, he was walking by Amidon Elementary school. He stopped and asked the guys in the front doing the landscaping what was going on. They told him we were part of the Generation Hope project and we were there to fix up the school. He was so compelled by our service that he decided to show up the next day,  on Friday, and got right to work. So here was this guy who was compelled by our service to start serving himself and eneded up going to the Night of Hope that weekend. I don't know if he knew Jesus, but I knew that God had led them to all of us because He had planned for something to happen in Starr. I believe that if Starr did not come into that weekend knowing his Savior, he left that weekend knowing Him. AND THAT IS WHY WE DID IT ALL. All of the sore muscles, all of the sleepless nights, all of the traveling back and was for guys like Starr to receive the good news

{{This is Starr}}

After two days of work the school looked incredible! The front lawn started out as literally a pile of weeds with random bricks scattered and broken in it. The guys worked their tails off and made it beautiful.
{{I wish I had a before picture but this is the after picture of the school's lawn}}

Before we left on Friday I also got to meet these incredible kindergarteners. They were so so thankful for what we were doing and so sweet. I loved meeting Miracle, Laura, and all the other girls and boys that were glued to the fence watching us work. They melted my heart and were the best reminder of why I was covered in rust the day before and black paint that day!

{{Aren't they precious!! The other two girls are Emele and Lindsay}}

After an amazing 2 days we all loaded back into the van on Friday afternoon and headed back to West Virginia for a wedding most of us attended on Saturday. (Danny was preforming the wedding so he needed to be back for the rehearsal dinner). Our plan was to leave immediately following the wedding ceremony to head back down to D.C. for the Night of Hope, but they were calling for bad weather in D.C. and the event was postponed to Sunday afternoon. This worked out good for all of us because we were able to enjoy the wedding and the reception!

The project brought together hundreds of young adult volunteers that took time off work and school (some even flew in for the event) to serve in our nation's capitol. Projects that took place around the city were building a Champion Center, which is a place where homeless mothers can take their disabled children and they will be taught both educationally and spiritually (How amazing is that), volunteering at a care pregnancy center, and fixing up numerous parks and recreation centers. 
{{This was all of the girls after day 2 at Amidon Elementary}}

The Generation Hope Project was an outreach of Joel Osteen Ministries. I was blown away by his and Victoria's heart for people and their desire to serve them. They wanted to make sure that they were not just speaking the gospel (at the Night of Hope) but showing and living the gospel through service. The goal was to make the gospel tangible to people who would never show up at something like the Night of Hope or a regular church service. Its not just about telling people about Jesus and the gospel it is about living it and being Jesus to these people we were blessed enough to serve. 
We may be the only contact these people ever have with Jesus, we want to make sure it is a good one.
{{Danny, our youth pastor, posing for a pic with Joel and Victoria...well kinda}}

OK, so back to the rest of the trip...

Sunday, right after church, 300 people from our church loaded up in vans, buses, and cars to attend Joel and Victoria Osteen's Night of Hope. The event was held in the Washington National's Stadium, and very cool to be a part of.

Everyone involved with the Generation Hope Project wore these red t-shirts and sat together. This is just some of them...

So to sum up the weekend: it was an incredible, the END!

Here is Fox's news coverage of the Generation Hope Project at Amidon Elementary

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