This past week I was on our annual mission trip along with 28 from our high school group, three interns, four adult sponsers, and Jack Whiddon, our youth minister. We went to San Diego, where much of our time was spent working with a downtown rescue mission.
On Thursday, our high school group prepared 50 sacks, each containing a fruit bar, juice, and a pair of socks. We were to distribute these sacks downtown in an area where the homeless and street people congregate. Sure enough, there were homeless people everywhere. Behind one iron fence, in a courtyard, there were maybe 150-200 waiting for lunch. Along the sidewalk, grocery cart after grocery cart were lined up with their owners sitting on the ground beside them.
In a matter of minutes, the kids had given away all of the sacks.
The plan was to then return to the vans where we would get our sack lunches and water. Then we would go to the San Diego Padres game.
On the way back to the vans, the kids begin talking with Jack about the possibility of giving their lunches away as well. As it turned out, they all wanted to give their lunches away.
We went to the vans, got our lunches and bottled water. We then walked past the ball park toward the area where the homeless were. There was one moment in which I saw what must have been thousands streaming into the ball park while our kids were going in the opposite direction with their lunches. They didn’t look disappointed. They didn’t look wistfully at the fans who would get to the stadium first.
On that day, our youth group had a passion for what was more important. I’m glad that I could witness that moment of grace.