My junior year at Bend High School was less than stellar. After many events concerning my dad which ultimately led up to a double heart and kidney transplant, I was ready for a break from my own life, and the mission trip to Los Angeles seemed like a perfect idea.
When I first arrived at the church for liftoff, I realized I only knew about four of the 37 people going. Throughout the fifteen hour drive there, they repeatedly made us switch vans to meet new people. I am thankful for that because I made some of the greatest friends throughout that trip.
What was cool about this trip in particular was that the leaders, Ron, Greg, Lauren, Donna, and Aisea, decided to not tell the kids what we were doing each day, until right beforehand. I specifically remember coming back to the church we were staying in at about 9:00 one night, and being told, “Everyone, get in the vans, we’re going to go do a scavenger hunt on Hollywood Blvd.” (This ultimately led to a spotting of Jake Gyllenhaal.) The complete spontaneity of the things we did kept us on our toes, and let us live completely in the moment.
Some moments I remember in particular are:
· Going to the Museum of Tolerance and we were able to converse with a survivor of the Holocaust.
· Visiting the Homegirl Café and taking a tour of the less ritzy side of Los Angeles.
· Seeing the Watts Towers.
· The fantastic view from Ronyon Canyon.
· Going to a Spanish Church service Sunday morning.
· Going to MOCA to see the Art in the Streets exhibit.
Overall this trip was an amazing experience. I grew close with those around me, and I feel like I came back carrying a great amount of knowledge and love. I am looking forward to spending time with the friends I’ve made this summer, as well as accompanying them on the mission trips to come.