I had the privilege to be an adult lead on the ELCA Youth Gathering trip in Detroit, Mich. this past week. Throughout the week we had numerous activities, speakers that shared their life stories through the good times and the bad times, we seen the struggles of Detroit but also seen the strength and hope of a community that lived through the words NEVER GIVE UP.
For me personally I really enjoyed seeing everyone come together throughout the week. Everyone working through long days, lack of sleep, and extreme heat to pull together as a family and work with the citizens of Detroit to clean up parts of their wonderful city, talk to them, listen to their stories, and sharing stories of our own. And to see the pride that they show and the love they show through God’s eyes. And welcome us not as people that showed up to save Detroit as I have heard by lost souls, but to be part of a family to work together with my new brothers and sisters from the ELCA and great people of Detroit. The love they showed and compassion with the time we spent in their city will forever hold a place in my heart.
I had a conversation with an elderly man. And he said we have great children willing to take time from summer break to help them out. And he said it gave him hope for the future when God calls him to his forever home. That with the love and togetherness he seen between everyone he didn’t see color but seen all of God’s children as one. He was even nice enough to sign our football.
I think with everything we seen and done within this week, the one thing I think that sticks out is when I start complaining about the things I don’t have or might want I will think of all my brothers and sisters from Detroit. And think about their struggles and wants and strive to be a better person by not wanting, but do my part and spread the Word of God and do more giving, sharing the love. Us asking for things I don’t need.
One way Detroit will impact me is to never take things for granted. Share your burdens and help others share theirs. And do my part not to be wasteful with food and water because there are other people who don’t have the resources or privileges we have. In leaving, I have learned I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot, but together we can do great things.
Submitted by: Brence Wilson, Adult Chaperone – Prairie Lutheran Parish (Stanley Area)