An Unforgettable Experience | Teen Ink

An Unforgettable Experience

January 12, 2010
By Ryan Leiss SILVER, Houston, Texas
Ryan Leiss SILVER, Houston, Texas
6 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Have you ever been on a trip that was life changing? I have, and one trip I experienced was thrilling and unforgettable for me. What I thought would be an ordinary mission trip turned out to be one of my greatest experiences. It just goes to show that God works in all sorts of ways.

It all started when I had to shop for items that I had never used before, such as a crow bar, air mattress, safety glasses, and work gloves. I was so excited about going on my first mission trip that I could hardly sleep the night before. As we arrived in Albany, Texas, I was shocked to see the first view of the place I was going to be living in for the week, a men’s locker room. As soon as we walked in, there was a foul smell. The area was dark, moldy, and filled with dirt. It seemed like a dungeon and was just really unpleasant.
Although it seemed like it would be a bad week, things started to change. After unpacking and getting settled in, that night I met Albany’s church pastor, Trey Little, at our chapel service. He was an average looking guy who was very friendly and easygoing. It had been Trey’s idea to invite the group to help build a feed store for the homeless.
That evening we gathered in Albany’s church to listen to Trey give a sermon. The chapel was a small intimate place with wooden pews and beautiful stain glass windows. The place of worship sat up to fifty to sixty people and there was a tiny old organ. As Trey started to speak I was captivated by his words. He was able to relate his life to ours. He talked about a guy named Jerry who was the richest of the rich. Jerry had everything you could ever imagine. One day God appeared to Jerry and told him he had to do three things to become part of his kingdom. Jerry wanted to know how to obtain these things and to name the price. God said, “You can not obtain or buy this. You have to earn and give these three things.” He figured out that the first thing that Jerry had to do was help the poor and give to charity. He said, “Sure, I can do that.” He discovered that the second thing was to repent to God and believe that he is your savior. Now, Jerry could not figure out what the third thing was though. He called out to God and asked, “What is the last thing I have to do to receive eternal life?” God answered, “The thing you must do is to leave all your wealth and riches behind.” As I was listening to the story I began think about what I would do if I was put in the same situation. At first, Jerry did not know what to do. It took Jerry a long time to decide, but he followed God’s request. He left with God sad and his head was not held high. The lesson of the story was that Jerry let his riches come between him and God. Although he had eternal life he was still sad with his head not held high. Trey used strong and intelligent words while still making the point become clear. I knew, that night, my heart had been rearranged.
The next day we gathered outside and divided into groups to go to three different locations. The Albany’s High School weight room, Ms. Sandy Abile’s house, and the tear down of an old building for a new one called “The Feed Store.” Sandy’s House was a disaster. The weeds and the grass were so overgrown and itchy. You could hardly walk and the fence was even falling apart. The porch was in bad shape as well. Boards with nails and rusty metal were sticking out. It was so bad that one of my friends stepped on a rusty nail and had to go to the hospital.

We spent several days putting up the new fence, trimming tree branches, and planting flowers in Ms. Abile’s yard. That night during our Bible teaching, Ms. Abile came up and spoke to us. She thanked us for what we had done, but before she could finish she broke into tears and could not speak any longer. That night was unforgettable because I realized that what I had been doing had helped change a person’s life. I learned that I could change one person’s heart by showing love and care. I will never forget that night for the rest of my life.

Unfortunately it was the last day and we had to finish the Feed Store by at least ten o’clock. When I started working, I did not notice how fast we finished the destruction of the old building for the Feed Store. We were done by nine o’clock. We still had to put the final touch up, the Feed Store sign. As we cemented the sign to the ground we remembered how thrilling, life changing, and unforgettable this trip really was. I packed all my possessions and loaded them on the bus for the seven-hour ride back home. When I arrived it was eleven o’clock at night. As I obtained my luggage and told my friends good bye, my parents and I walked to the car. As we were leaving the parking lot I told my parents that this trip was the Godliest fun I had ever had in my life.

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