Our time in LA is not something I will soon forget. It’s been many years since I’ve been able to go on a mission trip, and our time in Los Angeles was like water for my soul. From the moment we landed, we hit the ground running and jumped right into ministering to individuals in need alongside our partners with Send Relief. As I watched both the workers and our students minister to those hurting, the stories in the gospel of Mark came alive. Jesus brought hope and life to many afflicted with disease or tormented by demons; He is still doing that today! God uses the workers of Send Relief LA to reach people often underserved by the church. It was a great reminder that we, too, can live on mission with intentionality and reach those around us living in bondage. The students stepped outside their comfort zones into spaces where people are hurting, looked people in the eye, said their names, carried on conversations, and prayed for them in the powerful name of Jesus. I watched the students change as we walked the streets of LA—catching a bigger vision of God’s work, His people, and the many ways He could use them in the future. I’ve personally had beautiful conversations with my daughter since our return. I’m so expectant of how God will multiply this time in these students’ lives for His kingdom purposes! — Cyndi Thompson, Leader
Our trip to LA opened my eyes to brokenness in LA, but more importantly made me more aware of the brokenness we encounter each day. The church planters and missionaries in LA have true servants’ hearts, and it was so inspiring and encouraging to minister with them. One of my favorite parts of the trip was being able to connect and worship with the LA Mission Church and their pastor, Min Le, and his family. We were able to participate in their youth night and prayer walk throughout the community. The pastor’s boldness and intentionality to go out and form relationships with the entire neighborhood was incredible to witness. I realized through this trip that I really took for granted all the opportunities we have to worship with fellow believers, but also the need for us to go out and minister to those in our neighborhoods here in Taylors.
— Jenny Pierce, Leader
LA was an experience unlike any other for me. I’ve been on plenty of student choir trips where we ministered to kids and held many camps, but LA was far from this. In LA we engaged with homeless, poor, and needy individuals who were struggling to get by. Many of them were so used to living on the street that they didn’t want to get off, despite the fact that services are available to get them the help they need. Being in Skid Row was tough because the entire street was filled with homelessness, and I didn’t know what to do at first. I tried engaging with people, but I didn’t know what to say. Eventually, I was able to speak to a man who had been a part of a gang and had his vocal cords cut out. I could see the pain he was experiencing but he still seemed to be joyous. Through this, I saw God working in this man because even when he was at his lowest, God was still providing the man with joy and peace amidst the circumstances. In another instance, we got to minister at a food pantry, and I could just see the desperation in these people’s eyes. I saw God working here by providing these people a meal when they needed it most, no matter what they have done in the past; God showed His mercy by continuing to provide for these people. Overall, I was able to see God move in many ways I haven’t seen before in LA, and it was an experience I’ll never forget. — Jackson Davis, Student
The week in LA was so life-changing for me. I had never been to a place like that before, and my eyes were opened so much. It was incredible to see some of my friends and leaders grow closer to God and step out of their comfort zones while we were there. I tried many new things and learned that praying out loud isn’t really that hard. We worked with some of the best people, and it was so inspiring seeing people our age be on fire for Jesus and be willing to drop their whole lives and move across the country for the summer or a semester to serve others. I think the trip definitely lit a passion in me for serving others, and I can’t wait to see where that takes me in the future. If you have a chance to go out to LA, go! — Megan Gillen, Student