Serving Created Alongside Indian Rocks
At Indian Rocks Christian High School, they provide something called a "mini-mester", giving students the opportunity to go on a missions trip. There's a variety of options to pick from, Guatemala, the Dominican, Costa Rica, and more; and when I was in high school I went on plenty of these trips which helped form my theology of servanthood, teaching me to care for the poor like Jesus did, in a way that still impacts me to this day.
When Tracy Springman contacted me last year about the possibility of bringing a group of high school students to Created, I was more than excited to help be a part of one of these trips which had impacted me when I was a student. This year marked the second time they have come and abundantly lavished us with their service.
Created Place is a property we use for bible studies, sex workers anonymous, dinners, counseling, and outreach, and the Indian Rocks team gave us a decorative makeover, creating a space for us that is so inviting and beautiful, more than what we could have imagined in our wildest dreams. All of the women who we serve have felt so surprised and shocked by the space, and it has truly made it so much more familial. Rachel Russo donated photos from her business Gather & Dwell, walls were painted, and a handmade, one-of-a-kind table was created just for us.
I was able to share my testimony of how I got involved in this kind of work, and what it is like to be a missionary here in Tampa. The students also heard the testimony of one of our former graduates who was trafficked by her father. We hope the week was impactful for the girls, as they were given a glimpse of what life is like for women coming out of the sex industry or being trafficked. The students took over our bible study on Friday, serving us dinner and creating a special night of pampering for our women.
Getting to lead trips like this is really special for me as I grow to know some of the girls. I am granted the opportunity to expose them to the sad realities of what happens to disadvantaged women in our city. One of the girls who also had come last year approached me at the end of the trip, telling me that she feels God calling her to serve with Created after she graduates. We repeatedly talked about how, though it is crucial for ministry to be done in a developing world context, it is also crucial for us to not neglect our own cities. We must care for those who are hurting here, because they are our sisters. They are us.