One week for a lifetime of memories.

Seven days filled with new adventures.

168 hours laughing so hard we cried.

10,080 minutes being spent in awe.

604,800 seconds inspired by those we met.

About two weeks ago, I was given the privilege of traveling to Memphis, Tennessee with the campus ministry group I am involved with at Michigan State University. There were seven of us filled with some nerves, among the excitement and ready for adventure and service.

Our week in Memphis consisted of so many opportunities to serve the many people we encountered, as well as the opportunity to learn about the city, itself. Each day gave us so many opportunities to give a sense of humanizing force to those we never fully recognized previously or diving deep into the history of Memphis.

Whether it was Manna House, working with MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association), delivering meals, touring St. Jude’s Hospital, touring the National Civil Rights Museum or working with the Mid-South Food Bank, so many times we were given a chance to not only bring God into the lives of those we encountered, but more than that, those who we encountered brought God to us. It’s been said many times that a church is not just specifically a place, but a group of people who carry their faith with them.

Throughout the week, we not only learned about the history of Memphis, but about all of the amazing people we met, each other and ourselves. Along with learning the history of Memphis, we, of course, learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and the work he did, as well as a quote he said, which in some sort of way, depicted what the week had been, at least personally. The quote holds a sense of strength in saying, “Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness”.

Being in Memphis and touring the National Civil Rights Museum opened my eyes to so much that I didn’t fully recognize or even know, like parts of history that aren’t given the proper time in school classrooms and parts of history that should have impacted us much more than we even realize.

Our history is something that goes by and sometimes we don’t even fully recognize its importance of the horrible events that took place, those who suffered and what our country has gone through or is still going through.

Through all of this, I couldn’t help but remember so much of the fun I had on this trip. The tour of St. Jude’s as well as the National Civil Rights Museum left me speechless; even being able to serve and meet so many people through organizations like Manna House and St. Mary’s Cathedral was so rewarding.

All in all, this trip gave me numerous opportunities to not only dive into knowing the city of Memphis and each person I encountered, but I was able to get to know each person that I traveled with better. So my words to them: thank you.

Thank you for being people who I’ve become so thankful to have in my life. Thank you for putting up with the sass (sorry Ethan) and sharing so many laughs. Overall, thank you for being people who are in my life and a community I’m so thankful to have found.