SoCal Days 3 and 4

It has been a busy two days! We have done so much and we wanted to give our students an opportunity to recap what they have experienced and learned yesterday and today. Yesterday we spent time learning about Islam, even spending time with an Imam and observing the Ramadan feast to learn more about their culture. Today we interacted with kids and families from a Hispanic culture and helped a local church organize a park program. Here’s what our students had to say:

Day 3

Yesterday at the Mosque I noticed a lot of ritualistic activities. What stuck out to me the most was the fact that the Muslim people were praying the same prayers at the same time. Later that day at the Ramadan feast, we were talking to a Muslim man. In the middle of our conversation with him he stopped and told us how he needed to pray now because it was what the Islamic faith told him to do. Dropping everything, the man went to pray because it was “What he had to do.” Seeing this happen raised a question in my heart, “Do these ritualistic prayers even mean anything to these people?” I often find in my life, that rehearsed prayers don’t mean as much to me; I would rather chat with Jesus like one would with a best friend. Seeing these rituals at the Mosque made me thankful for what I have in Jesus. I don’t need rituals to feel confident in my faith. I know that Jesus will accept me where I am and for who I am. -Lexi Miller

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Day 4

Hispanic culture was something that maybe we take for granted. With everything going on politically, or just around the world in general, I know personally, I had a bad taste in my mouth not in judgement of them by any means, but because it’s all I’ve heard. Let me tell you, it is a wake up call. We got to visit their community firsthand where in this city, hispanic culture makes up nearly 50% of the population I believe. The interesting thing that was much different from going to the Muslim culture was that they shared their faith with us in full and held nothing back that we wanted to know. The Hispanic culture on the other hand seemed a little bit lost with their faith, but not as a human being. They were the same as us and wanted the same thing as us, happiness. I’m learning on this trip through all of these different cultures that we all have the same end goal – happiness and joy. But how we receive this happiness and joy is what sets us apart. I learn more and more everyday with a broken heart that these people need to see Jesus as their joy and happiness. Everything else will fade out, but God says that he is the beginning and the end, the alpha and omega. And when someone comes to understand that, it’s so beautiful to know that they will never again thirst or desire for something more in life because they have everything they need. These people aren’t different. These people are lovable, fun, inspiring and creative. But most importantly, these people were created by God – and I hope that they one day get to see that through some of the work we are doing on this trip. -Darin Phelps

Author: Grace Students

Grace Students is the student ministry of Grace Church in Wooster, OH. Our mission is to develop all students into fully devoted followers of Christ.

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