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**This week a few of our 5th graders are serving in NYC. Sydney is one of these 5th graders on the trip and here is a quick report of what they have been up to.**
It’s already the 2nd day of our trip and we’ve seen so much of the city. This morning we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. When Pastor Lisa asked what we thought the Statue stands for, we said hope, freedom and friendship. On Ellis Island we learned about how immigrants came to the United States. After that we went to Little Italy and Chinatown. Our tour at the Tenement Museum was fun and we learned about 2 different families that lived there. We passed out care bags and it made us happy to help people.
On Wednesday we went to the Church Center for the United Nations. We talked about wealth & poverty. Wealth itself is not bad, but loving money above God is bad. We went to Trinity Church & helped serve a brown bag lunch. Back to Church Center for the UN and did an activity about the sculptures and quotations outside that represent what the UN does.
Today (Thursday) we split into groups. One group served meals to people at the B’nai Jeshurun synagogue and the other group walked around and delivered meals. After that we all met and took a tour at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. We had fun helping people by giving people food.
We went to Bryant Park to discuss what we did on Thursday (serving a meal at the synagogue and delivering meals on heels). Then we went to St. Paul’s Chapel and the World Trade Center memorial. After that we went back to the Church Center for the United Nations. We listened to Dennis talk about his story of how he was once homeless but overcame it. Now he helps other people who are homeless. We also did an activity about how poverty is like a tree. The leaves are like smaller problems that you can take off (like being hungry) but they will eventually grow back. So you have to dig deeper and get the roots out (such as lack of housing) so the leaves don’t grow back. Friday night we worshiped at the B’nai Jeshurun synagogue.
On our last day in New York City, we went to the Church of the Village, a Methodist church in Greenwich Village. We helped set up for and prepare a sit-down meal for 200-300 people. Teresa runs this meal every week and a professional chef helps too. The girls helped chop lettuce and oranges, and the boys helped set up tables and chairs. It made us all feel good helping people in New York City this week. In the end we all made it home safely.
After getting ready, we walked to a nearby neighborhood to hand out flyers for Family Game Day at Kingdom House. It was the Peabody neighborhood. It had a community garden that wasn’t fancy. There was a cat there and it looked like it had old stuff that people didn’t want like chairs. The playground was small and only for toddlers. There wasn’t a place for kids like me to play. There was only one very small grocery store and it mostly had junk food. Fresh produce cost a lot of money. The people we met on our walk were nice – they said hi and waved at us. Then we went to a neighborhood by Lafayette Park. It was just across the street. That was a very nice neighborhood. The community garden had lots of beautiful flowers and people had their own squares where they could plant anything they wanted. They also had a patio place where you could sit and just talk with your friends. That neighborhood had a lot of stores and they even had one that had dog store with everything you need to keep your dog healthy. Everyone we ran into was nice just like the people in the other neighborhood. They had a very, very big park with a really big playground for toddlers and older kids like us. They also had bigger places to live than the people in the Peabody neighborhood. We learned that no matter what kind of neighborhood you live in, people want the same things – stores to get food and a safe place to live. And all the people we met were nice.
We walked back to Rutger House for Team Time in the park across the street. For Team Time, we took a ball of string and everyone was in a circle. Julie started with the string and she would say something that she liked. She would hold the string and throw the ball of string that also liked the same thing. It went on and on and looked like a spider web. Then we got to untangle it.
We went back to the house and made a sack lunch and packed everything into the vans. We vacuumed, mop, dusted, and cleaned all the bathrooms and the kitchens. Everyone had a job – nobody could just be sit around.
We left and had a good and safe drive home. I can’t wait to go on another mission trip!
By Tessa Ruhnke
We woke up and had another yummy breakfast by our food preparation leaders. The food prep people left for church early so they could make vegetable soup for lunch after church. The clean-up people stayed behind to clean up breakfast. We all went to a Methodist church. It was a littler church, littler than Church of the Resurrection. It was nice and cozy and had stained glass windows. I loved the music. Before the sermon, all of us kids went to Sunday School. In Sunday School, we did a crossword puzzle, had communion, and at the end, we made snack bags for people.
The clean-up people served the lunch – like me. I got to serve the bread, Matthew served butter, Trestle served chips and the grown-ups served soup. There were all kinds of different people. Some were even homeless. One man carried everything he owned in a big backpack. After lunch, we cleaned up – washed dishes, cleaned up tables, and put away stuff. Then we went back to the Rutger House.
During Team Time, we talked about the book “Getting through Thursday”. It was about a boy and their family who did not have much money. Thursday was the hardest day because Friday was when the Mom got paid and it was hard because she had three kids and they didn’t have a Dad. She didn’t make much money so on Wednesday, they started running out of stuff and then by Thursday they were out of a lot of things. One of those things was toothpaste so we all brushed out teeth with baking soda like they had to in the book. It was disgusting – very salty. Making due is hard sometimes.
We went to the St. Louis Arch. We got to see and touch the arch and some of us did handstands on the arch. We didn’t get to go up the Arch but we still had fun. We spent some time thinking about what we learned.
After the Arch we went to eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory. It was yummy! We came home to the Rutger House and had Team Time. We all said what we were going to do to help people when we got home. For each thing, we lit a glow stick. We put the glow sticks in a cross shape, turned off the lights and prayed about what we were thankful for. It was very touching.
Then we went to bed because we were very tired.
By Tessa Ruhnke