Thursday, July 21, 2016

CCLM on July 20

Hey ILC! It's the ladies!!!
Today (7/20) was fantastic! We went to Central City Lutheran Mission in San Bernardino which has a 15% unemployment rate and has had 42 homicides already this year. Needless to say, we were a bit nervous. CCLM was once a congregation, that lost its purpose until it was transformed into a men's homeless shelter, a school/after school program, and a safe haven.
The 70 men they serve sleep in the church and are welcome from 7pm to 7:30am. We had the privilege to interact with the kids during their after school, once a month "water day." It was amazing because, whether we were dumping buckets of water on each other, or being attacked by hoses, it felt like there was no economic or social barriers. To see innocent children put in such a scary situation was heartbreaking and inspired us to find ways to help more.

We did various jobs such as cleaning the pantry, working in the kitchen, and folding trash bags and boxes.

The kitchen staff (mainly Daniel) was hilarious, and he showed up to help on his day off when he could have been with his kids. The kitchen's B health rating was all they could afford because of their desperate situation. The average annual income per household is $20k which isn't enough to support the average 5 kids per family, and most families have single or substance abusing parents.

Our amazing guide and the shelter's teacher, Jessica, was a motherly figure for all the kids. She grew up two blocks away, but kept her life dedicated to bettering the community. I think I speak for everyone when I say that her humble leadership was an inspiration you can't put into words.

There were under 10 children, and they were all mostly related. When their older, male relatives showed up, it was surprising to see the language and rough attitude they were accustomed to. It seemed very foreign to us. The kids were aware of the foul language and Jessica seemed to be the only one enforcing rules and etiquette.

Overall, we are so grateful for the experience, and we learned more than we could possibly say. We have all grown so close on this trip and made so many memories and friendships. I (Karli) personally, have had some of the happiest times this week and I want you to know that my life would be much less fulfilling if I didn't go on these trips. They are really life changing. Thank you for all your support.

Love, the youth of ILC at Luther Glen

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