Today was our last day working in Mrs. Aliene's home! In reality, we had very little left to do in her yard, so we spent the majority of the day helping another group with Mrs. Cora's house, who lives two doors down from Mrs. Aliene. Our main task was painting her fence and foundation, but we also did some weed-whacking.
The cats were herded much easier today! The guys did a great job of staying on task and getting the job done. I think a lot of it had to do with the ice cream they were promised at the end of the day! We went to the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh for Starbucks and ice cream. Oakland is home to a couple of colleges, including University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, and Duquesne. Also in Oakland is the church where our TPP speaker, Dennis, serves as pastor. They just moved into a new building, so we stopped by to say hello and check it out.
Our evening was packed full today! It started with pizza in the park on the North Shore. We had a great time just hanging out together in the community. We headed back to TPP campus and had discussion groups, wrapping up our impressions from the week. Our final Club was fantastic. I'd like to take a minute to just summarize what we learned this week about the Lord's Prayer.
Many of us have the Lord's Prayer memorized and have no problem rattling it off. But how often do we stop and truly think about what we're praying? We started by focusing on just the first word - "our." We tend to think of faith as personal and possessive, but it really can be communal. We experienced that firsthand this week, growing in our faith side-by-side. Second, "Father." Jesus says God is OUR Father. We are brothers and sisters with Christ and with each other. When we come together, we are spending time as a family. It's a beautiful picture of the Church.
"Give us this day our daily bread." This is a foreign concept to us. I've been considering buying a deep freezer for my garage so we can keep food longer. When's the last time you wondered where your next meal would be coming from? Not just deciding between pizza or sushi, but truly unsure of when you would be able to eat again? A culture that celebrates hoarding is at odds with the Kingdom of God. We must fight to live a life, not necessarily of poverty, but that challenges us to put ourselves in a position where we NEED God.
"Forgive us our debts." We have a balance to pay, and our checks of penance aren't going to cover it. Thankfully, Jesus Christ paid for us in full when He died on the cross. We must call on His love and His sacrifice to pay our sin debt. "As we forgive our debtors." So many of us carry baggage from wounds inflicted on us by other people. We will experience true freedom when we offer up forgiveness and put our pain in God's hands.
We had a great conversation tonight about how to take these truths and continue to apply them in our lives at home. It can be discouraging to come down off the "Jesus high" of a mission trip, but we can still cling the things that God has spoken to our hearts. Please pray for our students - that the way they've experienced God this week would not just be a fun memory, but a turning point in their lives, when they began to live completely sold out for Christ.