Day Five: Finishing the Work

Today was our last day of work here at Ridglea Christian Church. We started the day by working in the Learning Garden (a large garden with a wide variety of gardening and bed styles that is designed as a space where people can learn how to garden in their own unique spaces within their own budgets). Our work included staining a fence, watering, and harvesting eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil and chard. Then we cleaned the produce and delivered it (29 pounds!) to West Aid.

After lunch we finished painting the youth room and wrote notes to the guests who will stay at Room In the Inn. We also decorated a ceiling tile to mark our group’s presence at Ridglea! The rest of our work was focused on cleaning up the church so that we are ready to go home tomorrow.

Dinner was deep dish pizzas with our choices of toppings (including leftovers from throughout the week).  Allison, Brenda and Nate joined us for dinner and we all had a great time eating and laughing.  After dinner, we took showers at TCU and then headed to Steel City Pops for gourmet popsicles. Our debrief and prayer partner sharing for the day took place while we enjoyed those delicious pops!

We’ve packed our stuff and now we’re heading to bed. It’s been a truly wonderful week and everyone is a bit sad to see it end.  Tomorrow we’ll drive home and, hopefully, in the weeks to come we will start implementing some of the things we’ve learned in our own communities.














Day Four: Time to Play!

Today we were able to explore Fort Worth!  We started off by sleeping in and taking our time in the morning. Then we headed to the TCU bookstore for a little purple and white souvenir shopping. Our next stop was the Fort Worth Zoo, where we spent several hours hanging out with all the animals, eating lunch (and ice cream!), and wandering until it got too darned hot. The heat of the day led us inside the Fort Worth Science Museum.  They had great exhibits, a cool Omni movie about robots, and even cooler air conditioning. 

At dinner time we headed over to Sundance Square for dinner at a Cajun restaurant called Razzoo’s.  The food was tasty and the company was even better!  Then, after dinner, we wandered the square and enjoyed the fountains and sculpture displays.  

We’ve showered at TCU and now we’re back at the church hanging out and playing games. Soon it will be time for bed, and tomorrow brings another day of work.  We’re looking forward to it!



Day Three: There is Enough

This morning we started our day with delightful Whataburger taquitos. With those tasty goodies in our bellies, we got straight to work around the church. One half of our group painted a wall in the youth room and inventoried the Room In the Inn closet while the other half demolished a wall and put up pegboard in the room that will house showers for mission groups and Room In the Inn guests. 

After lunch we had enough time for a nap! It was wonderful. 🙂 Then we took showers at TCU and headed to the Tarrant Area Food Bank to work a three hour shift doing quality control. We examined box after box of donated food, checking for a variety of defects and expiration dates.  The food that passed muster was placed on pallets so that it can be shipped to the 320 different service agencies in 13 counties that distribute the food. The organization is huge, and it was awesome to be a part of it!

For dinner, we gathered back at the church where church members were waiting with a fantastic home-cooked meal. There was even hot berry cobbler for dessert! After dinner, Dr. Andy Fort (a TCU religion professor) met with us and talked about ways that we can use our gifts to help fight hunger. He reminded us of a powerful truth: there is more than enough food in the world for everyone to eat and have leftovers.  Our attitudes of scarcity make it difficult to solve the problem. 

Our evening games helped to drive home the point that there is enough if we decide to share instead of hoarding what God has given us.  They were also a special joy because Nate, Ridglea’s custodian (and one of the kindest souls on earth) joined us for the games. He also joined us for evening worship, where we reflected on Luke 14:15-22 and revealed our prayer partners for the day.

Now we are winding down and preparing for tomorrow: a day of exploring Fort Worth!  


Day Two: Shelter, Dignity and Joy

Today was another very full day! Our first work stop was the Presbyterian Night Shelter, which is a huge complex of ministries for and with men, women and children who are experiencing homelessness.  After a tour of the main facility, we worked in the building that houses women who have children. Under the guidance of Harriet and Stephanie, we cleaned out a large supply room and a store where women can shop for supplies. As we worked, they also taught us about the massive scope of homelessness in Fort Worth and the U.S. Their tireless work is making a difference, one life at a time!

When we finished our work, we headed to TCU where we ate lunch with Allison in her building. Then she gave us a great tour of the campus, including a stop at Admissions.  We met Dr. Jim Atwood (religion prof and head of Disciples admissions) who gave us cool TCU hats!

After the tour, we crossed the street and met Jessica Vacketta (one of the ministers at University Christian Church). She gave us a tour of UCC and took us to the part of the building where they host the Wednesday guests of Room at the Inn. We cleaned and arranged furniture, cleaned bathrooms, and spruced the place up to help them get ready to receive their first summer guests. We also talked about homelessness and the power of treating people with dignity and care.  It is so easy to think of homeless people as problems rather than as people, but Room at the Inn volunteers focus on our shared humanity.

After working to prepare UCC’s Room at the Inn space, we visited their Prom Dreams ministry. They have converted a house into a boutique where teenaged girls can come to shop for free prom dresses. The dresses are donated by people in the church and wider community, and the ministry gives young women experiencing homelessness or other financial hardship the opportunity to participate in the “normal” teen celebration of a school dance. Some of us tried on dresses, and we all agreed that it is a great ministry by teens for teens. 

Dinner tonight was a treat on more than one level. Not only did we share in a tasty meal that included Chuck’s from-scratch macaroni and cheese, but we also got to talk with Lou — a gentleman who was once experienced homelessness himself and who now works with homeless ministries in Fort Worth. We learned so much from him about how to treat people experiencing homelessness.  He also shared parts of his own story, and encouraged us to keep caring for others.

Our quote for the day (from Mother Theresa) reminded us that while it is fashionable to talk about the poor, we are rarely encouraged to talk WITH them. Today we have been challenged to really focus on talking with people rather than merely talking about them, and tomorrow we’ll have more opportunities to continue stretching and growing in our compassion, our understanding, and our striving for justice.


Day One: Gardening and Beginnings

Today was our first full day of work and play here in Fort Worth. We started off with donuts and an orientation to the church, neighborhood and ministries in which we’ll participate. Then Brenda and Lara went grocery shopping while we played board games.

When they returned from the store, we made lunch and ate quickly so that we could get to work in the Jubilee Garden — a raised bed garden used by church members and neighborhood residents for personal use as well as for growing produce for area food banks. We spent part of the afternoon harvesting tomatoes, green beans, peppers, potatoes and okra, as well as weeding many of the beds. 

When we were done in the garden, we came inside and did some inside jobs: preparing a room for renovation so it can become a shower/laundry room and organizing supply closets for Room at the Inn (a program that brings homeless individuals indoors during the hottest and coldest months of the year). This special ministry begins its summer season in a few weeks, so we are helping to prepare the space.

After work, we made tacos for dinner and had a delightful salsa made by Brendan (a Hillcrest CC youth). Following dinner, we did debrief work and worshipped together. Our text for the day was Isaiah 58, so we talked about the kind of service and justice work God wants for us to do in the world.

After worship, we headed over to TCU (GO FROGS!!!) for showers. Now we’re winding down and preparing for a night of good sleep to fuel us for another full day!
































Made it to Fort Worth!

it was a long day of driving, but we made the most of it with games, meals and a bunch of laughter! Now we are nestled into the church and heading to bed to sleep off the effects of cramped van riding. Tomorrow we will begin with breakfast and an orientation, followed by grocery shopping for the week and our first bit of work.  We’re all looking forward to seeing what God has in store for us here in Fort Worth, TX!  Good night. 🙂


Gearing Up for Summer!

It’s June and our summer of youth ministry on the road has begun.  Currently, three of our high school youth are at CYF Conference out at Tall Oaks.  At camp, we are learning about the Holy Spirit and soaking up the laughter and joy of community.

         When we return from camp, we’ll have about a week before we head off to Fort Worth for our high school mission trip. We will post here each night during both our CYF and Chi Rho trips, and we hope you’ll join us by visiting this blog.

While on the road, we’ll take FCC Smithville with us, serving God and others on your behalf!!