SoCal Day 5

“We had the opportunity to go to a Buddhist Temple and learn about the Buddhist Religion. The temple was made in 1988, but it had a very old traditional Chinese look to it and you didn’t even realize that you were even still in the United States. Our tour guide was a very contemporary, young Buddhist who explained the pictures and sculptures within the temple, along with how the people meditate. Then we had a Q&A with a female monk, also known as a nun, where we got to further understand how Buddhism works. It was really hard for most of us to understand the concept of Buddhism and what would happen when you die and how you get there. But to get to that “Second Life” or to “Become Buddha” you have to have good Karma and work hard to try and reach “enlightenment”. After the temple we went to a Chinese restaurant and eat some amazing, but different food. While at the restaurant, the man who rented the houses to us, Ray, shared his story about how he came to the United States and how he found Christ. The end of the day was lesser of a learning day and a very engaging. We split off into small groups of two or three, went around a mall, and tried to learn others’ stories and show Jesus to those who didn’t know him. Finally, to end the day, we made sacked dinners, took them to a homeless community in Santa Ana, and had more conversations with the homeless community there. We got to learn how things run there and how hard it was for them, but also how much of a community they are.” – Micah Boggs

 “After our time at the Buddhist Temple, the students got to have conversations in the mall while the leaders went shopping to collect food for lunches. Then, we all made two lunches each and drove to the Civic Center which has a large population of homeless people. Everyone broke off into groups and went to go find people to share our lunches with. This was a new experience for many on our team but the impact it had was incredible. We were able to share our stories as well as hear the homeless peoples’. Many students were also able to share the gospel and pray with the people they met. This experience changed the hearts and views of the students towards the homeless, not only in California, but in Wayne County as well. This opened our eyes to the brokenness of the world and it broke our hearts. We were all brought to the realization that we are incredibly blessed and we want to be able to take a next step to make a difference at home. Many students heard unique stories that will not soon be forgotten, here’s one: Mark and I had the opportunity to meet a couple on the street, their names were Joe and Roxanne. The first thing Joe said to us when we walked up was, “Oh, are you going to tell me the sinners prayer?” This took us by surprise but we also saw it as an opening into an even better conversation. Joe told us how he was raised in a church his whole life and was very involved. He got into trouble with drugs and his pastor brought him to a men’s home. At this point he felt that his pastor was wanting to become an idol in his life and he didn’t want that. He knew that he had to please God and not people so he just left. A few years later he ended up on the streets with his girlfriend Roxanne. After hearing his story we asked if we could pray for them. They readily agreed and told us the things they needed prayer for. Mark and I walked away from this with sadness in our hearts. This man was once a believer but because religion was forced on him, he completely turned away. 

There were so many more stories like this that we heard and every person walked away changed from this experience. ” -Gabrielle Swartzentruber

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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