MN -> AL
The beginning of the mission trip was 18 hours of what felt like never-ending driving, countless hours of laughing, playing games, telling stories, sleeping, “how much time do we have left?” and alot of goldfish eating; six states, an authentic Memphis BBQ, a few pokestops,and 2 hotel rooms later and we have arrived at our destination; Bayou La Batre, Alabama.
Bayou La Batre lies along the Mississippi sound on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. It is known to be the “Seafood Capital of Alabama” and was devastated by the hit of Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. The water reached up to 16 feet in some areas, damaging homes, schools, and pushing shrimp boats onto shore. About 5 years after Katrina, the small town was hit yet again, but this time by the BP oil spill. The Gulf waters had been polluted, leaving avid fisherman jobless. The seafood production had a huge downfall, and people who had worked on the cleanup became sick.
We had several things on the agenda when we arrived at the community center (our home for the next 4 days) in the heart of the Bayou, but the first thing was a vacation bible school. Every morning we had devos, a chance to pray to God and fill out questions about the days ahead of us. We always have free time from 3-5 to talk with others until dinner, and then after dinner we had service at 8 and a group gathering with just our church after that. Since we were often splt apart into two groups within our church it was nice to come together agiain after a long day. Our church chose to end the day with group circle popcorn prayer, which left us praising god and laughing so hard we were crying one night. During the week we held a VBS for kids in the area that might not have stable environments. We sang with them, made crafts, and taught them memory verses, but more specifically John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”. It’s crazy that these kids, who might not have stable lives at home still know Gods powerful and perfect love for us. Every day they went home with big smiles and a full heart. During our stay at the Bayou we also packed school bags for kids in the community, painted schools and homes, cleaned parks, and met with people in the community. Each night we had a free night, on Monday we swam in the gulf of Mexico, Tuesday we went to the T-shirt shop and did a communtiy walk, Wednesday we went to Catalina’s and had an amazing seafood dinner, and finally Thursday we had a community cookout. At the cookout I met the sweetest two girls, Zoey (9) and Karlie (4), they thought it was so cool that i was from Minnesota and they were wishing to see snow someday.
Not only did we meet friends from Alabama, but we met church groups from Louisiana, Texas, and illinois. I am so thankful that I got to serve god with other amazing people by my side, and I am so grateful I had a chance to be a part of this trip. Thank you to anyone that helped with my fundraising, or who prayed along the way. Next year- Denver, Colorado. It was an amazing experience and I cant wait to see what next year holds.