St. Louis Mission Trip – Day 5
Today was our easiest physical day. We began the morning at General Assembly (the national governing body of our denomination) for a communion worship service. Most of our group was amazed at the different cultures that were represented in the worship service. We had someone read in French from Isaiah, prayers in Spanish, a brief passage from 1 Corinthians in Farsi, Call to Worship in Korean, and so many more languages. When we prayed the Lord’s Prayer, we were instructed to pray in our heart’s language out loud. It was wonderful to hear the many, many different languages being spoken!
During the afternoon, we engaged in a conversation about race. We tried to put ourselves in a different perspective in a passage from Mark 5. The same story was heard from four different angles and each group had to immerse themselves in the story, seeing it from their perspective. After this frustrating exercise (everyone wanted everyone else to understand and agree with how they were feeling in the story but people had a hard time thinking about others), we discussed the events of Ferguson, where Michael Brown, a black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer. We talked about how the group exercise that we had just completed was an example of how life is: we are all living the same human existence, but we see things from different perspectives depending on our circumstances.
After dinner, we returned to General Assembly to see how our national level does its business. While the time we spent was not the most exciting, it was good to see how votes were taken. Advisory Delegates and Young Adult Advisory Delegates first vote to give their opinions and then the delegates vote for the official vote. The two votes we witnessed were both easy votes and unanimous votes (one was to approve someone continuing the job he has done for the past several years for another term and another vote was to rearrange some things on the agenda). We heard reports from the Presbyterian Publishing Cooperation, Board of Pensions, Loan and Investment Program, and much more.
We ended our evening with a wonderful devotion led by Sydney and Josey. They asked one question (how are women treated different today than they were in Jesus’ time) and we had discussion for more than an hour. We talked about dress codes, women’s fashion, the responsibility of guys to control how they act, rape culture, and so much more! Then we closed out discussing Jesus meeting the woman at the well and how that broke cultural boundaries.
We are on hump day, the middle of the week, and the exhaustion and lack of sleep is really beginning to show. Please continue to pray for us as we head out tomorrow for a morning of work, an afternoon of site seeing, and an evening of the Hands and Feet Initiative celebration!