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  • Writer's pictureJules Arata

(gateway) arch

St. Louis, MO


the most quotable trip i have been on to date.


but i'll come back to that.


i didn't know everyone on my team, but that was something that was quickly remedied by the amount of time we had to wait at the tiny Avis booth at the STL airport. we then had a 30 minute drive + a long wait in line at Chipotle to really get to know each other. the other three in this group had all worked together in AZ, but they allowed me into their group and it was natural.


we were a group that was in constant laughter, no matter how long the day was, what had happened, or how long we were in the car, we were in stitches. we genuinely enjoyed being with each other which made the difference. during sessions, we would easily && willingly switch around jobs based on what our strengths were and finding our flow.


this pack was insane, a 1.1 million-meal pack over 5 days. a church that has done events with us for years, but doubled their goal from last year and ACHIEVED it. they had emcee's for every session to pump people up, to help out warehouse, and to give updates throughout. they also had a giant scoreboard, keeping score of how many boxes each table was packing, all in order to push the volunteers to pack more and win the session.


we were partnered with Convoy of Hope for this event, and they took three trucks full of full pallets (105 pallets, so that is 816,480 meals) and went straight from that parking lot to Haiti. so we could knowingly tell the volunteers exactly where the food they packed would be going, which we don't get to do much. most of the time, that information is shared with the hosts in an email post-event, once the food has been received.


the quotes on this trip just came from our exhaustion at the end of a day, when we are all physically done && mentally delusional. they were born out of late night drive-thru fast food lanes, wrong turns, bad parking, broken hotels, and funny volunteer encounters.


what i learned

  1. how compatible senses of humor can improve a team

  2. how a host team's excitement & energy can be a driving force

  3. how beauty of knowing who will receive the product of this goodness

how i grew


i had to leave this event a whole day early and man was that hard. the Lord is revealing to me just how sweet this job can be if i truly try to get to know those around me. He is revealing truth through the joy and kindness of His character that is being reflected by these host teams and my coworkers. through their servant hearts && their willingness to connect.


favorite parts


a thursday lunch full of belly laughter


a team that kept me on my toes and with which there was never a dull moment

late night food runs


the fact that we got to direct ship this food to haiti


laying in a bed of empty 2 ton rice bags


to gateway christian church:


what a team! you guys know how to put on a party, every session felt like a finale. you had an emcee for every one, a giant score board, && a packing room so big that you needed two rooms for orientation. you made each meal together feel like a family. you made coming in each day something i looked forward to.


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