And all good things must come to an end at some point. We’ve concluded our missions trip this past Saturday and now returning to real life.
Both Ann Arbor and Detroit Teams served the Austin youth, the difference is the locations that we partnered. Detroit partnered with Side by Side Kids at the For the City center while Ann Arbor went to Santa Rita Courts at East Austin.
The curriculum and activities included gym activities, arts and crafts, worship, and reading comprehension based on bible passages. This is similar to Excel English in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Prior to coming to Austin, the team were making preparations.
The first day was the hardest by far. When we first arrived, there was a low turn out of kids. Excel Enrich is not as structured as Excel English in Ann Arbor where kids were registered ahead of time. Instead, we were to go out onto the area and go knocking on doors. It was a good call on Pastor Tou Fue’s part to nix the schedule we had and adjust accordingly. I think as a team we got too comfortable with the schedule and flow in Ann Arbor. But one ministry doesn’t necessarily translate to another place. We had to adjust accordingly with the needs. And it is not about doing our ministry either but in the bottom line, just knowing people whether it be the kids, the residents, and the residential staff.
We would also prayer walk in the area. We met an older fellow named Leroy Lucas. He has been in Austin for the last 30 years and observed the gentrification process from West Austin and now East Austin. Gentrification. So subtle. It may take a generation to happen and you wouldn’t know it happened unless you seen and lived through it. For it is happening in East Austin. Me and one other were prayer walking in the area and we met a woman who recently moved into the area about 6 months ago. She was well educated and seemed well off. This was such a contrast to the people living in Santa Rita courts and the folks we talked to in the local coin laundry.
The afternoons we either prayer walked or went onto cold evangelism onto the UT campus or the downtown city of Austin. The Austin church hosted a bubble tea outreach. We didn’t do much in terms of planning, thankfully the folks in Austin got the logistics hammered and made the bubble tea. All we did was come out to support and just met folks passing by in either the turtle pond or the tower area. These two areas are strategic because these two places functions as Poke Stops in reference to the Pokemon Go mobile game. We met a lot of random people such as students from the MSA (Muslim Student Association) or students from a ballerina dance studio. All and All, I think it was successful and everyone really appreciated the partnership we had for another.
Generally, it was stressful this entire week. There was an expectation for the Austin folks to be the point people and to lead since this was our “turf”. We were running thin on Austin team members since two others had to be out for school related reasons, though I was glad that our Pastor Tou Fue stepped in to help lead the team. Either way, it was a great opportunity for some of us, including me, to step up.
One of the wiser phrases that was shared was that missions is like intensive training for life. Missions still continues in whatever context we may be in such as our family, classrooms, and workplaces. Ministry is the people around us.