Blog

Filter By:
Showing items filed under “Stories”

IMPACT Justice Team Blog #3

main image

I'm sitting in my athletic office at school currently, trying to figure out how I can wrap up our trip to Streetlight USA in just one blog post. The last four days were a whirlwind of emotions that honestly haven’t hit me fully yet. I’m humbled and grateful for the many God-filled moments that happened during the time we spent with those young girls.

 

Before I continue with our wrap up, I want to share about our final day in Arizona. Sunday morning, we were able to attend church with the girls. The advocates had told us the day before that this church had around 25,000 people. We thought that with their multiple campuses around Arizona, that this church couldn’t be that big. Boy, were we wrong! We couldn’t help but walk through the campus with our mouths agape at the enormity of it all and with each step we were getting more and more excited to worship with the girls! The service provided many moving moments: watching the girls lift their hands in praise during worship, them holding our hands during prayer, or seeing them take notes during the sermon. We walked out of that sanctuary with joyful tears, full of hope that God is moving in their hearts.

 

Finally, we capped off the day at Streetlight with our last devotional, craft, and a farewell ice cream party. Katie did a phenomenal job with her devotional, speaking on John 15:9-15 and Luke 19:1-10. Love was the key word we wanted to focus on that day. God’s love for the girls, but also His command for them to love others. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:12-13 NIV). Katie came up with an awesome idea for the girls to make bracelets that would remind them of God’s love that surrounds them and how we’re called to love others too. It was so fun watching the girls express their creativity.

 

Ice cream was the perfect celebration of the time we spent with these strong, beautiful girls. Even with the never-ending bowls of sugar as a distraction, the goodbyes were just as hard as I thought they would be. Though we only spent four days at Streetlight, it was impossible to not to create a bond with them. We hugged, said goodbye and started our journey back home.

 

Like I said earlier, overall this has been a moving and emotional trip for us. I am still working to process what God has wanted me to learn from this experience. One thing I know is that He was not only working on the girls’ heart, but on my own. Saturday was a day that will stay close with me for that very reason. Danielle mentioned in her day two blog that I shared a devotional over the belt of truth and what God wants the girls to believe about themselves. They are beautiful, loved, cherished, worthy, clean, forgiven, and so many other truths. I so badly want them to take this truth to heart. Little did I know that God also was wanting me to continue taking those truths to heart. I found myself opening up and being vulnerable with them about my own struggles with things in life, the lies I used to believe, and the truths I have been taking to heart over the last two years. This was not only a moment of growth for the girls hopefully, but in God’s amazing ways He was helping me grow as well.

 

This I believe is something that we all can take away from this past weekend. Our worth in God’s eyes in absolutely amazing. Even on our worst days, we are worth more to God than the most precious gems on the earth. The hard part about that statement is believing it. Too many times we let Satan creep in with the lies he tries feeding us. Never forget your WORTH to God, you are LOVED, CHERISHED, FORGIVEN, A NEW CREATION.

 

Please join with us in continuing to pray for these dear girls and their journey to restoration.

Posted by Elizabeth Mercer with

IMPACT Justice Team Blog #2

main image

These past few days have been a whirlwind of emotions. God has been doing a lot of things in my heart and through these girls here at Streetlight USA. I wanted to share with you about what we’ve been up to first and then get into more about how God has been moving through those experiences and the people we have encountered. 

 

Right off the airplane, we started off our trip with a hike at a local national park near Phoenix called Piestewa Peak. It was incredibly difficult for those of us less in shape (Elizabeth and I), but still tons of fun, with absolutely breathtaking, beautiful views. Later that day we were able to help prep dinner and meet the girls at Streetlight for the first time. It was one of those times when you have so many thoughts and emotions that you don’t even know how to process them. But God completely guided our conversations and the longer we stayed, the more the girls just started to open up. 

 

Friday morning, we started the day going to a place called Saguaro Ranch for tubing on the Salt River with the girls. What we thought was going to be just a lazy river tube turned into quite an adventure. We floated into some low hanging brush, which was both scary, yet super fun and hilarious. It was a moment where all of us girls were just being girls. 

 

Further along the ride, where we were passing these massive but gorgeous cliffs, the water was 20 plus feet deep and very slow moving so several of us actually got to take a quick swim in the river. But it was when we went to the end of our ride that the current took our feet out from under us and sent us downriver. We swam against the current and eventually got everyone back to shore with the tubes and nobody was hurt. This was truly a God miracle moment of the day. 

 

I led the devotional and craft later that evening that centered around God's constant presence and how we shall have hope and joy instead of fear and trepidation with Him as our savior. The girls painted around painter's tape and made their own crosses. Today (Saturday), we started the day with campus beautification projects. We were able to spend some time cleaning one of the empty cottages on the campus and then helping to re-organize the “choices” store. The “choices” store is a point rewards store Streetlight has for girls to turn in their points they earn for great behavior throughout the week for prizes or rewards. 

 

This afternoon, Elizabeth did a phenomenal job leading a devotional about the belt of truth God provides for the girls and we did an associated craft. The girls were able to create several mini belts to hang with the qualities God says that they are and decorate them however they wanted. The girls were so creative and produced amazingly beautiful mobiles. Later that evening, we provided cookout food for the girls and just enjoyed some great conversations! 
 

There have been so many amazing God moments with these girls that it is so hard to talk about just a few. One of the girls who were more closed off the first night has really continued to open up more and more each day we have been here. She is so intelligent and creative. You can see how intently and seriously she has taken her crafts and how much she cares for others with her constantly asking if we need anything. It honestly melts my heart every time. 

 

Another girl here specifically asked for a certain food for our cookout tonight. When it was provided, she showed more appreciation than almost anyone I had ever seen before. She even helped to clean up. There are just constant moments like this with these girls that show how God is moving in their lives and growing in them. 

 

God is continuing to change my heart throughout this trip. To be completely transparent, my fire was dwindling and I was losing my desire to fight for these girls as hard as I wanted to when I entered this fight initially. Seeing these girls, much like I did in Cambodia, brings it all back for me. All I am called to do is to love and share God’s truth with them. This life and serving God does not have to be complicated. This is not about me. This experience and my next steps are about serving and loving God and His children. 

 

1 John 3:23 – “And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us.”

Posted by Danielle Miller with

Previous12345678910 ... 1819