Amid the backdrop of the coronavirus and the reality that their two-week trip would be cut short, this remarkable team of students chose to embrace every moment of their life-changing experience at the LA Dream Center. Standing as a beacon of light in the middle of some of the most impoverished neighborhoods of Los Angeles, the Dream Center provides training, leadership development, and outreach assignments for short-term mission trip teams, as they assist in the Center's mission "to connect broken people to a community of support."
Trip chaperone Mrs. Fowler witnessed the group of two freshmen and seven sophomores take their faith "to another level." She watched as students approached strangers in Skid Row, a neighborhood in downtown Los Angeles notoriously associated with its homeless population. Guided by a Dream Center outreach leader and inspired by daily devotions and testimony, students allowed themselves to be used by God to speak into the lives of the individuals they met, praying for them with boldness and compassion. When assigned to laborious tasks of cleaning or sorting pounds of groceries, the team worked hard and served eagerly, going above and beyond what was asked.
As sophomore Zachary Kao reflected, "the Dream Center... changes [people]." When distributing hotdogs and water to a homeless man on Skid Row, freshman Micah Branner was moved by the man's gratitude while also convicted of his own fear and preconceived notions. In response to their evangelism training, students practiced sharing their stories, even taking the bold step to reach out to family and friends in obedience to God's call.
The Dream Center experience not only made an indelible personal impact, but the group formed a special bond as they drew close to God together. They are challenged to continue serving in their own homes and communities, shining a much needed light in this difficult and uncertain season.