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Day 4: A Lot of Walking

Starting the day off with a Bible study, this day was full of walking, surveys, and sports camps.

After a hearty breakfast of muffins, sausage biscuits, cereal, and fruit, we study 2 Tim 3–4 together. We prepare to survey a nearby neighborhood with some questions designed to give insights on kind of neighborhood it is and what kind of needs it has. Splitting up 30 people isn't easy, so the leaders deliberate a while to determine the best way to divide up the team.

Intending to walk a short distance to the bus stop, we get a bit impatient with the bus system and start hoofing it down the street towards the neighborhood we need to survey. We walk half of the 3 miles to the edge of the neighborhood in the mid-ninety weather before we give the buses another try. We sit in the shade for a few minutes before the next bus comes around and we ride to our stop.

Breaking into seven groups of 4—5, we walk around the neighborhood in the sweltering heat and learn about the community by asking the locals. The conversations struck up were inspiring and gave us an insight into what life in Philadelphia is like. Returning to the bus stops, we collapse into the seats and the cool air of the air conditioned bus. Walking in the noon-high sun with mid-nineties temperature is tiring! We estimate most of us walked a total of 10–12 miles today.

Lunch is hoagies from a local restaurant two blocks from the church. They were quite good! Following a few hours of rest, we rush out to make the bus for the sports camp. We had considered doing an additional morning sports camp, but the heat would be unbearably brutal—both on the Eastsiders and the children who would participate. Besides, the surveys we did this afternoon are an important part of how the NAMB (North American Mission Board) chooses the right missionaries and methods to reach communities.

We played basketball with the 15 children who showed up. The children jump right in and learn some of the fundamentals—although, it was largely a review for most of the children. While the basketball team was leading the camp, some of the other students played with the younger kids on the playground.

Dinner was chicken tenders, mac and cheese, watermelon, and salad. Simple, but very satisfying after a full day of walking and work. Stories were swapped about the encounters and various people we saw, met, and talked with today. Some of the stories were quite moving, yet many were sad and showed how much the city of Philly needs Christ.