Being part of a UP workgroup. Weeks 1 & 2.

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When we see hunger, blindness, and violence, we should mourn because it falls short
of what God wants for humanity.
- from Bruce Main's book Why Jesus Crossed the Road

Last week, a small workgroup did just that. From northern New Jersey, the Global
Vision Church youth group spent an entire week helping out all over the UrbanPromise
campus. They had two main projects. The first was to repaint a school bus white.
Did you know that school bus are legally supposed to be painted yellow for just 10
years? Yeah, I didn't. They washed the bus first, then ate popsicles while waiting
for it to dry in the blazing sun, and then taped up the windows and other designated
areas where the white paint was unnecessary. The next day was paint day. They did an
awesome job, it looks practically professional...not kidding. The following two days,
they spent filling up trashcans and transporting debris from the basement of the
East Side building to a dumpster right outside. 

My name is Heather. I am the Workgroup Intern. I just graduated from Pepperdine
University in Malibu, CA. You might be thinking this and I do actually get questioned a
lot, "Why Camden?" Pepperdine has many volunteer opportunities, one being called Project
Serve. They send out 10-15 teams of students, lead by students, to domestic and
international areas. My freshman year, I applied to these places in the following
preferential order: Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Camden, then Philadelphia. I was so
pissed because I got my third choice, Camden. Turns out, that I fall in love with the
place. It broke my heart that there are such places like Camden that I have never been
to, let alone didn't even WANT to come. The people here are just as broken as me, broken
in different ways but are still people, people who are ALL loved by God. He is good and
I thank Him for opening my eyes and heart for the things that He sees everyday. The next
year that I applied for Project Serve I ended up going to Panama and spent my week as a
part of YWAM (Youth With A Mission). My junior I went to Dominican Republic and taught
english through an organization called Orphanage Outreach and then once it came time for
applications during my senior year, I ended up missing the deadline because I was
preoccupied with who knows what. I got a call one week later and the director of the
Pepperdine Volunteer Center asked me if I wanted to lead a team to Camden. I took the
position without hesitation. This time around, however, I decided to step back and watch
what was going on. I took pictures. Around 800 in just one week. I saw some of the most
beautiful things, beautiful people, and a slightly larger revelation of how beautiful
our God is.

Why I wanted to share that was because the project that Global Vision Church was working
on, the one where they spent a few days cleaning up the basement, was the same one that
my team started. We spent a few days prying up the tiles on the floor and tearing down
the ceiling and GBC cleaned it up. Pretty cool that I could witness the transformation.

Have a good night!