This past month, 42 eighth grade students left the comforts of home for a weekend of adventure in downtown San Diego. Partnering with New Vision Church, SFC students worked together to bring hope to the homeless, minister in local hotels and apartments, and perform service projects.

The first day started out by placing SFC kids into small groups to support several service projects around the city. One of the groups assisted a single mom and her two kids move from a storage unit into a two bedroom apartment the church provided. When finished, the teens prayed over the family.

To help students understand the realities of being homeless, they simulated living homeless. While in  teams, students worked together to figure out how to get basic necessities such as cashing a check without an address; apply for a job without a computer and transportation to a jobsite. In order to help find the answers to these and other dilemmas, students interviewed and asked many homeless people and shop owners for help. Additionally, the kids had to ask for a dollar from a stranger, find cardboard large enough to lie on as a bed, and then took turns laying on the cardboard for a half an hour on the sidewalk in the middle of University Heights.

At the culmination of the trip, the teens spoke with people on the street. Using what the Urban Mission team deems as Conversation Starters (resources that homeless generally need — food, water, bible, emergency blankets and socks), students asked how they could pray for the homeless people they met. A driver for Urban Mission who was once a recipient of love from a student serving on the street encouraged the kids, “Don’t under-estimate what you’re doing out here. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see it now, God has a plan.” Interestingly, it was easier for some of the kids to break out of their comfort zone, but difficult  for others. “It was great to see these kids grow and stretch in their faith,” recalled Mark Andriany, the lead teacher from SFC.

New Vision Christian Fellowship follows up on connections made by mission teams to provide ongoing, year-round ministry and maximize the valuable resources coming into the community through urban mission trips. The hope is that by working together, kids will change their perspectives about homelessness, serve those in need, and see themselves as the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.