At the beginning of June, Taylor and I traveled to Aliquippa on a 4 day mission trip with 4 CAST Students from Early College High School and one college aged CAST member. As I reflect on our incredible time there, I think the highlights can be captured by this list:
- A Port-O-Potty
- A Pancake
- A Pineapple
- A Porch
- A Prayer
The Port-O-Potty... when Taylor accidentally dropped her phone into a port-o-potty, there was some initial panic and despair. Against all odds, the phone was retrieved and, even more astonishingly, it still worked. This incident became a powerful reminder that even in the messiest and most unpleasant situations, there is hope for restoration.
The Pancake (as big as your head)...In a world that often seems chaotic and impersonal, small acts of kindness can make a profound impact. When John made a pancake for one of our students, it spoke volumes about the importance of being seen and cared for. This simple gesture of preparing a pancake "as big as your head" reminded us that sometimes small acts of kindness can go a long way in making someone feel valued and loved.
The Pineapple...In Aliquippa, a pineapple was given to Miss Annette, symbolizing Jesus in a unique way. Just like a pineapple, Jesus is sweet on the inside, embodying love, compassion, and grace. The pineapple's crown on top serves as a reminder of Jesus' kingship and authority. This gift became a tangible representation of the deeper spiritual truths, illustrating how Jesus can transform our lives from within and be the ultimate source of sweetness and strength.
The Porch...An important part of our time on the trip was prioritizing "relationship over work." Miss Annette's front porch is a sacred space in Aliquippa, where important connections are forged. It is on this very porch that one of our ECHS students, Zariyah, listened attentively as Miss Annette expressed her dream for new porch furniture. Recognizing the significance of this heartfelt wish, Zariyah has taken it upon herself to raise funds for this purpose. You can learn more about Zariyah's experience and contribute toward this cause in the article below.
The Prayers...one sentence prayers said each hour began to define a rhythm for our time in Aliquippa. For some, these prayers became an opportunity for them to step out of their comfort zones and pray out loud for the first time. As their words were lifted up, they heard themselves being prayed for by others, experiencing the power of communal prayer. This act of vulnerability and support created a sense of unity and deepened our connection with each other and with God. It became a transformative moment where we realized the significance of our own prayers and the impact they can have on themselves and those around us.