Friday, December 26, 2008

Operation Christmas Kidz, Playing Santa and local DD's

A little over a week ago we held our Christmas party, it was a super fun, but crazy night, you literally could not walk through the sanctuary there were people from door to door and there were about 150-200 people we had to turn away at the door. I looked out among the crowd that night and I saw the people I love from several different walks of life, the city, Grace and a few other places, and realized that God really has placed me exactly in the midst of my dreams. I am so thankful for that.

The night was a huge success, albeit a little (okay maybe a lot) chaotic, the kids were for the most part extremely grateful and good, and I think only a few people who shouldn't have gotten gifts managed to make it off with one or two. Brothers N' Christ joined us and were amazing as usual I love the connection that we've made with them, and am so excited for the summer so they can join us again.

I can think of a few things that we might want to do differently next year, but I would call this year a success.

Playing Santa:
This year, I got the awesome opportunity to deliver gifts to several families that regularly attend MetroKidz, some of the homes I visited are ones I had never been to before and they broke my heart. It gave me some true insight to why some of my kids are the way they are. As I left each house, I prayed for each of these families that we were reaching out too. I prayed that God would provide opportunities for us to work in their homes, touch their families, not just the kids a couple of times a week. The last house I went to was a big surprise I had been waiting for, I got to take a bike to one of our most faithful little girls, her mom cried, she cried and I cried, I got to pray with her and her mom. The day I spent delivering the Gifts God really revealed so much to me, I am so excited for the changes God has planned for us.

Local DD's:
A few weeks ago, I was getting out of my car and was approached by some new DD's hanging out on my corner, I guess they thought I needed to be hooked up, from across the street, I heard, "are you crazy she's the church lady." I looked over and smiled...I've prayed for a relationship with these boys, and God is allowing me slowly to form one. About a week or so later, I was carrying stuff into the church and I asked these same boys for help, they wouldn't help me carry things in but they would watch the stuff in my car, I thought to myself, they'll either steal my car, steal the stuff or watch it, and they did they stood there and made sure no one took anything out of it. The boys from across the street yelled at them and told them they were jerks for not helping me, it made me smile and think to myself, the relationships are forming. Thank you Lord for protecting me, but allowing me to have these opportunities and for helping to form relationships.

Up Next:
The Friday Night Thing

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There are lessons to be learned, Operation Christmas Kidz, and one Special Teen

I never thought that this (inner city ministry) would be easy, but I never realized all of the lessons I would be taught along the way. I'm not perfect in fact on a regular basis, I have a bad attitude when things don't go the way I planned, the most important lesson God is teaching me, is this is not about ME and this is not about MY plans, but about what HE has planned for me, for my team and for the community in which we're serving. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn and I admit that sometimes I still let my attitude and my pride get in the way of what God wants to happen! It's in times when I let my attitude get in the way that God uses the people around me to show me that it's not about what I want or have planned. I am so thankful that God has put people on my ministry team to love me through times like this.

Another important lesson that God has been teaching me is flexibility, things are not always going to go the way we imagine or want them too, and this goes along with this is not about us or me, it's about what God wants to happen. There are times when I spend hours plan an entire night and God has planned something totally opposite, a few months ago this would have a been a HUGE issue for me and sometimes it still is, but this is another one of those little (BIG) lessons God is teaching me. I have to admit, this is something I've struggled with for a VERY long time and am so thankful for this lesson.

So tonight is Operation Christmas Kidz (read: MetroKidz Christmas Party), it's a lot of work, and a little bit of a stressful night, but at the end of the night it's so worth it!! It's a little up in the air as to how many kids will be there tonight, but last year there were a couple of hundred, this year there was SO much more advertising, and a website directing people to our event. But tonight is going to be awesome, if you're reading this and aren't able to be with us tonight, then please pray for tonight. I am expecting God to do something BIG tonight. My prayer is that the kids, leave feeling loved, but also knowing that Christmas is about WAY more than the gift we're giving them as they walk out the door. I am also pleased to have Brothers N' Christ performing tonight, which will be a special treat/surprise for the kids, they REALLY enjoy them when they come in the summer, so this will be awesome!

So I'd like to end this blog with some good news, a few months ago, I wrote about N.P. one of our teens, who struggled, who would come to MetroKidz and have to be put out every week, we called the police on him at least once a night. I and most of the others on our team have been praying for him, have been investing in him and loving him. I am so happy to share with you, that there has been a TOTAL transformation in this teen, I get excited to see him on Wednesdays, he's a servant now, and he's willing to go out on a limb. He's not perfect, but no one is :)!

This week/past weekend alone, I've seen him do things that leave me praising God, this weekend he helped M.A. move her belongings from the garage to her home, that's a few blocks away from the church, they didn't have a moving truck, or really anyone to help, but N.P. was there and honestly he's one of the only teens who worked and he worked his tail off, making numerous trips back and forth. But the best thing happened last night and it is when I realized God really is working in this teen, it was freezing rain, there weren't many people there, but N.P. and a friend came into the building, his friend got frustrated after a few minutes and was ready to go N.P. looked at his friend and said, ah man you can go I am staying for prayer, he did JUST that, he stayed, offered words of encouragement to a man who'd come in in off the streets and told us he needed some encouragement. I am more excited than ever to love on this kid, to continue to watch him grow and continue to invest in him.

I am thanking God today for working in his heart, for allowing amazing people to be put in his life to love him and for his maturity within the last few months.

Thanks for praying with us!

Photo: N.P., Ms. Colleen and T.T. at Corn Maze this past October

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In case you need a reminder...

God provides blessings and oversees miracles. For a few months now we've been praying for a financial miracle to happen, so we could close on the building we're currently in, it's been a long hard road. Yesterday we found out that today would be closing, yesterday morning we were $7250 short, as of 9:30 last night we were $5800. Well friends, God provided a miracle and today at 4 p.m. we went to closing, and after all these months of praying and asking God to provide a miracle, we finally own our building.

Now we can move forward with some of our plans, that came to a halt a few months ago! It also feels like a huge burden has been removed...

So for those of you who've prayed with us, cried with us and helped make this miracle happen with us, thank you!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Field Trip, Things I take for Granted and A Prayer Request!

Last Wednesday was one I won't forget for a while, we had the opportunity to load up all of our junior kids, Pre-K-6th grade and take them on a field trip. We went to the Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department were we not only got to view the beautiful train garden, but we also got a VERY special inside look at the fire station, our friend Chuck, gave us the grand tour. The kids got to play with the equipment, climb up in fire engines, rescue squads and ambulances, for most of them this was the first time they'd ever been in a fire station. They also got to watch Fireman Dan slide down the pole! Ms. Connie divided us into two gr0ups and the first group toured the train garden and the second the station and then we switched. I am SO proud of my kids, they were recieving compliments left and right about how well behaved they were and how much chaos was expected out of my kids, and how impressed she was that MY kids from the inner city were more well behaved than the local boyscouts! She reminded me more than one time that I needed to tell me kids how impressed she and the other older workers of the garden were with them because she was sure they were only told about the negative behaviors, she's right most of the time people point out what they are doing bad, so I praised my kids and am still praising them for their behavior on Wednesday night.

As we were driving to the Firehouse on Wednesday night we passed several homes that were decorated for Christmas, they were beautiful, the two boys who were riding in the backseat were in awe of the beautiful lights and one of them commented softly that this was something he wouldn't see were he lived. It really made me realize how much I (we) take for granted. He was right there aren't many home in the "ghetto" decked out with holiday decorations, in fact most of the kids are lucky to have a tree in their home.

So this holiday season as your enjoying the sounds of the seasons, the sights of the season and the tastes of the season, please take a minute to pray for these precious families, for these kids who get excited about a few lights on a house.

This weekend I hosted a holiday party at my house for my volunteers, it was a reminder of how lucky I am about the people that God has sent to be a part of our ministry. It was also a reminder of how God has provided me with a loving local Christian family, people I can laugh with, people I can cry with and people who share a similar burden to mine. I am SO thankful for them!

So with that being said, I have a specific prayer request about a ministry that God has laid on my heart...one that I've been praying about and one that I am asking (okay begging) God to send a seperate team to serve with me in this new ministry. So here are the details, I hope you'll begin to pray with me, for the people, the opportunities, the team and the resources to make this happen.

As I mentioned for few months I've been praying about this new ministry and asking God to give me direction, wisdom and patience, but also for him to send a team of people to work with me on this, I really have a desire to open the church two Friday nights a month, to allow the kids 12 and up to come and enjoy a few hours of safety, love and fun. We could do some Praise and Worship together, share testimonies, play games, have snacks etc. This is something that God has REALLY been pushing me to do more and more lately, and I think there are a few people who are getting excited about it with me. This is something I would REALLY like and God has really been speaking to me about starting in January. So will you please join me in prayer about this, it's going to take some people with a real desire and heart to do this, there are some people I know who can't serve on Wed. nights but desire to help us here who I've asked to pray as well. And the more I see our "rec room" type atmosphere growing upstairs, the more God is making it clear to me that this is something he really desires! So yeah...I'm excited, nervous and anxious for God to make it 100% clear as to when this should happen!

So if you're interested in knowing more about what this ministry looks like, or serving on a Friday Night team, 6-8 hours a month, please contact me colleen@metrokidzbaltimore.org

Thanks friends!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving, Upcoming Events and one special Kid

Wow, is about all I can say about Thanksgiving at Charm City, for the FIRST time ever, we had more volunteers than we knew what to do with. It was an interesting night, in that not as many people came to be served as last year. I don't know what was different this year, we advertised just as much as we did last year if not more. A part of me wonders if because of the amount of violence that is happening in our neighborhood is on the rise, if people are just not coming out. Some people who come and see us every week for food weren't even there. However, the people who came and the volunteers who came, all reported that they had an enjoyable time!

I also heard from two reliable sources that they prayed with people to accept Christ, that makes my heart SO very happy! The night was about loving our neighbors, especially the ones who were just walking through the door for the first time and letting them know we are not just a Sunday church on the corner, but we want to help them, reach out to them and love them, no matter what their status is. I think it worked :)!

Because most of the people who came on Wednesday all brought food there was a ton of food left over, enough that we were able to feed a host of homeless people throughout the city and also have food leftover to feed the neighborhood after church yesterday. What a blessing! This thanksgiving I had so much to be thankful for, but I was (am) most thankful that God has put me in this place, to meet amazing people from the volunteers to the people we serve.

So with one holiday down we quickly move into the Holiday season at Metro Kidz, the junior kids kick off our holiday season this week, with a field trip the Arbutus Train Garden, then it's a wrapping party on the 13th to wrap all the gifts for our BIG Christmas Party on the 17th! I am very excited for the Christmas Party this year, even though everything is happening all at once! Please keep an eye out on the facebook page and the blog on ways that you can help make this a special night!

Finally, I would like to ask you to pray for a kid who has been on my heart for a few days, we'll call her "A". This child is someone who lives in a chaotic home, her mother is not around 90% of the time and the other people who are living in the home are "caring" for her. She's the most precious little girl I've ever met, she has an attitude sometimes and I mean really can you blame her? I see her interactions with people that love on her, and her face lights up and she smiles so big I can't help but hope for something better for her. I hope you'll join me in praying for her!

Thanks friends!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

In place of Metro Kidz on November 26th we'll be serving our community a proper Thanksgiving meal. For some of these people it's the only Thanksgiving meal they'll partake in. Last year we served close to 300 people! So we need all the hands we can get!

You can serve in the kitchen, man the door, greet people, help carry plates and drinks, sit at tables and mingle or just be crowd control!

This a perfect opportunity to serve with small groups or families!

There are also ways to help before the dinner that day if you're interested in those please contact Colleen Smith (443) 874-2085 or colleen@metrokidzbaltimore.org


So you say you can't make it? That's okay, there's other ways to help, you can donate food for the event! We'll need everything from Frozen Turkeys to Pumpkin pies and everything in the middle!

Please pray about how you can help make this Thanksgiving special for some people in need!

Time and Place
Date:
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Time:
5:30pm - 9:00pm
Location:
Charm City Church
Street:
2001 Frederick Ave.
City/Town:
Baltimore, MD

Monday, November 10, 2008

I'm praising God for....

Yesterday at Charm City we talked about praise and worship, the morning started off with Pastor Mike leaving the mic open for five minutes and people could go and publicly praise him for whatever they felt led too. It was such a beautiful sight, there was a guy who went forward who admitted it was the first time that he'd talked to God in a long time and the words he spoke were beautiful, others were praising God for their families, for nature and a couple our new friends from Virginia thanked God for letting them be a part of what was happening there yesterday.

The service continued we shared testimonies, we worshiped, we praised him, Pastor Mike gave an awesome sermon. The service went on for 2.5 hours yesterday and it was probably one of the best 2.5 hours of my life. At the end of the service Julia played the piano softly and Pastor Mike started on one side of the room and we all praised God for something. Again, people were praising him for life, people were praising him for friends, for family, for love...someone praised God for not forgetting her, by sending a beautiful part of nature across her path that morning. As you can imagine most of us couldn't contain our tears at this point. Finally we reached the side of the room where the kids were sitting, J thanked God for his mother, N.P. thanked God for the people who loved him, L thanked God for the breath that comes out of his mouth, R thanked God that she got to live another day and for the people who love her, two more boys thanked God for their mother.

As we continued to praise God I realized my kids really are thankful that they wake up another day, they really are thankful that they've been spared another murder, another beating that they've been given another day and another chance. Something that I can't fathom having to worry about on a daily, hourly basis.

While, I won't forget any of these praises there are two that really stick out in my mind, from two teenagers, one of them said, "I am thanking God that I am not on the streets, getting involved in the things the other kids are getting into." This is a kid who's been a part of Charm City and what Pastor Mike has been doing for seven years now, he'll graduate high school this year, I pray and beg God that this child will make it, that he'll continue to see that getting involved in the ways of the street are not the life for him. I pray that he'll make wise choices concerning his future plans and that he'll continue to seek God in everything he does.

The second praise that really got to me and everyone else, was from C.G., she was provided with a wonderful opportunity last week to spend a few days in Ocean City, she was attending a convention that could potentially reward her with a scholarship to college. She was thankful for that opportunity but even more thankful that for the first time in her life she got to experience one of God's beautiful creations, the ocean. She said as she stood there and looked out over the ocean she could not believe that this was something God created, for her, for you, for me, for us. These are things that some of us take for granted for C.G., who knows if she'll ever walk on the beach again, but I too thank God she was given the chance.

It was so amazing to hear people praising God yesterday, but it was also very convicting to realize all of the things that I don't remember to thank God for, like being able to walk, talk, see, hear, having a car to drive, a home to live in. We were challenged yesterday to see if for the rest of November we could wake up and immediately remember to Thank God for something, and make it a habit, I've started off well...are you up for the challenge?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

How in the World did I get here?!

Pastor Mike asked me last night to share my testimony at church this morning, it was a little nerve wracking to do it with such short notice, but I feel like God really used it today. I decided I would share it with you guys so here it is:

So we all have a story every single on of us in this room, and the neat thing is that none of our stories are the same, they are similar but NOT the same. I've always thought it is so cool how the Lord knows our stories ever before us, and NO ONE else on this earth shares the same story that I do. So I am going to share MY story with you.

As a little girl I grew up in a home with an addict for a father, imagine all of the things you can be addicted too that can mess up your life and my father dabbled there, sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling, you name it. I remember the times my father would come home from a binge and beat my mother, brothers and I until we were black and blue, I remember the times that I looked at my wrong or even asked a question, he would send me flying across the room, I remember the awful ER trips from broken bones and busted ear drums, I remember being held down on a bed as my fathers brother sexually abused me. This might not be the story you expected to hear from me, but it's mine.

My parents were Sunday Christians, meaning that if my dad wasn't hung over my mom would dress us in our Sunday best and off we went to church, when I was seven all of my friends were getting "saved" at my private Christian school and so I thought that was the right thing to do, so I got "saved" too. I went home beaming that day, I was saved, so my life was going to be perfect. WRONG, my home was still a mess, my father was still an addict, my mother, brothers and I were were still getting abused.

As time went on and I got older, I began to question God, God if YOU are so great and my life is supposed to be so perfect, then why isn't my family perfect, why do I keep getting hurt by my dad, why are my parents getting divorced and why is my mother shipping us off to be raised by my grandparents? About the age of 13 I decided I didn't want to be a Christian anymore, I stopped asking to go to church on Sundays, stopped reading my bible and didn't want to even acknowledge that He existed.

I spent the next few years of my life going through the motions, something was missing from my life and I knew but I didn't care. I had a few Christian friends who would invited me to church or youth group activities but I was mad at God and didn't want anything to do with Him. Fast forward a few years, I went off to college still wandering around, lost, missing something. The dorm I lived in was flooded with girls who loved Jesus, girls who would constantly tell me they were praying for me and invite me to church. I finally "caved" one day and went to church with them, but I felt so out of place, I didn't fit in I wasn't ready. I graduated from my two year school and off I went to University, it was a place where I thought all my trouble were going to go away but not in the way that they should. I ended up drunk every night, I stopped going to class and I accepted all the male attention I could get, because I lacked it from my father

Finally in 2001 I woke up, I moved away from Kansas, came to MD and decided it was time to figure out my life, I decided I was ready to give church and God another chance, I found the first church I could and submerged myself, I was being discipled by the pastor's wife, I loved her, I loved the attention and I loved learning about God, however I woke up one day and realized that I didn't fit in, in that church and I set off for the perfect place again. That's when I met my friend Gadget, I will never forget the day I walked in to Grace, he met me at the early service a few days before Christmas and I never looked back. Through him I met amazing friends who became my Christian Family, I began to get involved in children's ministry, began to see that my life had purpose, got even more excited about Jesus and felt truly loved for the first time in a long time.

At this point in my life I was beginning to believe again, and was reguarly attending church, but I hadn't really begun living for the Lord. It wasn't until I began serving in Light Company (a youth ministry) that I really gave it all to the Lord and decided that I needed to not just walk the Christian walk but, I needed to live it. So on a retreat when the kids were praying that prayer of salvation, I found myself praying it as well. I will never forget how my life changed...I began serving with a servants heart, not because I thought it was the “cool” thing to do, I began to pray and ask God to guide me, to take over my life and heart and I began to seek out opportunities to share my testimony, spread God's love and tell people all about how He was life changing.

I went on missions trips and found my calling to work in the inner city. I spent four years praying for God to send me an opportunity to serve in the inner city. Through that time I met Crystal, who’s been my cheerleader, my sister in Christ and my best friend, the one who prayed for this with me, cried with me and finally rejoiced with me when we met Pastor Mike and Company. A year and a half ago, we found Charm City, I found the place where God intends for me to watch the dreams He’s given me become a reality. I’ve found a love for people that I never knew I had and finally, my life has been changed because of many of you.

As I look back on my life, I never thought I would be here, proclaiming publicly my love for Jesus, living my life for Him and serving as a missionary. I know without Him and my relationship with Him I would not be where I am today. And I know that as I continue to walk down the path of life, I am NEVER going at it alone.

Prayer Requests:
Please pray for a wheelchair for Anthony, I am attempting to find one for him tomorrow!
Pray for opportunities this week to Praise Him with others, to share my story and to love on others!
Pray that if my story touched one of my girls today, or struck something in her, that she would reach out and I could help her through the pain.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Baltimoreproject.com

Several months ago, I received a phone call from Tally Willgis, a church planter in Virginia Beach, who had stumbled across my blog, and my cell phone number that I had accidentally posted, he wasted no time getting in touch with me and then scheduling a visit to come and check out MetroKidz and Charm City. I was intrigued by his heart, his story and his ambition to see changes happen in a city, he'd left behind several years before. I wanted and needed to know more, he had a story, one that he could relate to the people we work with a Charm City, grew up with a single mom in the Baltimore Projects. I was impressed, impressed with his story, impressed with his heart for a ministry he knew little about and impressed with his ambition to do something more for inner city ministries like ours.

Tally spent several hours with us on a Wednesday night and has not stopped encouraging us, providing us with resources, people and love. When he left that night he assured us that he'd be back in some capactiy, a few months later, Tally rallied people from several different ministries and churches to come and hear about what we were doing in Southwest Baltimore, shortly after that I recieved a phone call that he'd found a youth group to come and spend a weekend with us, he showed up this summer to our block party and hasn't stopped pursuing helping inner city churches.

Just a few weeks ago, Tally announced that he would be returning home to Baltimore, he has accepted an invitation by Embrace Baltimore and the SBC to return home to start church. Tally agreed to return home but with the desire to see his hometown transformed. The Baltimore Project is the result of this passion. Tally is concerned with addressing three main areas in our city: Generational Poverty, Generational Apathy and Spiritual Darkness. His very first task is to launch a new church called Captivate Church in Towson. If you're interested in knowing more about Tally's story you can follow him at www.TheBaltimoreProject.com and he blogs at www.tallywilgis.com

It is my prayer that Tally finds partners that see this passion in him, who are willing to give their lives to see this passion in Tally come alive. I pray that God would send people who are willing to help Tally help us! I pray for the right partners to click on the link above and know this is where they are supposed to help out. Finally, I not only pray for Tally and his family during this time, but I praise God for their obedience to step out of something comfortable and into something unknown, new and unique.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The hardest part is losing some one...

So a few weeks ago we lost a friend, everyone called him "Pop," he was a feisty older man who was homeless, but lived with another friend in the neighborhood. Tomorrow we will remember and celebrate his life. He went into the hospital a few weeks ago. His story is similar to the others, he was an addict, homeless, had many illnesses and just couldn't go on anymore. He didn't have any local family and tracing down his family in South Carolina was not an easy task. The same day that Pop was admitted to the hospital he was put onto life support, he hung on for several weeks and then he left us. I loved Pop, he would come over to the church on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for bread bags. He'd hobble over on his crutches, the poor man could barely walk but he got where he needed to go when he needed to be there. Pop never came to the church on the day his ticket was for, he'd come opposite and cause a fuss in the kitchen, but with his sense of humor and his sweet laugh he'd warm your heart and all you could do was laugh and give him a bag.

My fondest memories of Pop came from the past few months, one day a couple of recliners appeared at the corner of Payson and Lemmon street and that's where Pop and his buddies would sit, day after day, I quickly decided I would make an effort to spend a few minutes with them each day! I laughed with them, prayed with them, explained to them why I hang out in the neighborhood and recently had a conversation about being single. I feel in love with the realness that I found in Pop, the way that whenever he saw me with my big bag, he'd holler across the street, "Ms. Colleen, you got something sweet for me hidin' in that bag." Somedays I had something and he was so grateful...his love for people even with his circumstances shined and was completly evident in the way he acted towards others and with his soft spoken nature.

Tomorrow as we remember Pop, I will tuck the memories of him I have away to remember who he was in my life. My heart breaks now when I look over and the recliners are missing and the guys aren't hanging out there. My heart breaks when I see his friends wandering around looking lost. My heart breaks knowing there was no family to give him the proper burial service and my heart breaks even more because I never took the time to find out if Pop was going to heaven or not...I would like to believe in my heart that he did, but I won't know until I get there. I've been wondering the past few weeks, why it was that with all of the conversations we had, that was never one of them. I know I can't dwell on this, but I will continue to pray that someday I see Pop again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our Adventures Part 2

Loves of my life!

Pastor Mike encouraging and being encouraged! Please pray for this beautiful woman!

They think they're cute!

Pastor Mike and Eric, we love Eric to pieces!

K.P. pretty much makes our days brighter :)!

Corn Maze Pictures



As promised here are some pictures from some of our adventures!
Pastor Mike thought we should take a group pic for his new perfume line!

These kids are what make my world go round!

Sometimes they just think I am one of them!

There has to be room for a bible or a Miss Colleen between dating couples!
Pastor Mike giving a Smore's making lesson to a bunch of kids who've never made smore's!

Monday, October 20, 2008

You can take em' out of the city...

Wow, it's been a few weeks of fun at MK and I can't wait to post pictures! But for now here are a few highlights of the things that have been happening at Metro Kidz

* Last Wednesday we surprised Pastor Mike with a 'Night of Love' for Pastor Appreciation month, the kids have spent the last two weeks, making books, quilts, boxes, frames and even writing a song for Pastor Mike. He was so encouraged and felt really loved...the night ended with a pizza and cupcake dinner in his honor which was a special treat for all of the kids.

*About a week and a half ago I met Bob Wright from CSTM (Center for Short Term Missions) it was extremely unplanned, but extremely awesome. We met about bringing a missions team from Virginia to Charm City for a day in November. This past week I met the youth pastor Lance Overstreet and one of his trip leaders Dave. I took them on a short walk through the neighborhood and introduced them to some of my kids. We're so excited for them to come back and visit us in a couple of weeks!

*Saturday night we took 12 teens out to the country! You can take the kids out of the city, but you can't take the city out of the kids! The people out there in Walkersville and Thurmont, MD probably have no idea what hit them! There were a few highlights of the night, getting lost in the maze, teaching teenagers who've never in their life made smore's how to do it and then watching them get excited about roasting marshmallows by the fire. Honestly, I haven't laughed so much in a long time. It was a GREAT night, and lots of great memories were made with the kids and Pastor Mike.

*Sunday was our Fall Church Picnic, at Patapsco State Park, it is always a lot of fun, but yesterday was even more special because we got to encourage Pastor Mike some more with encouragement stones...and a bulb to plant, so that whenever it blooms he'll remember how much we love him. Then we spent the day enjoying awesome testimonies, wonderful food and amazing fellowship! I got to spend time with this woman "M" who I have fall in love with and whom I feel so encouraged by. I am so excited to get to know her even more.

*I've had the opportunity to spend sometime outside of Metro Kidz with some of my kids and I just realize more and more what a great opportunity God has presented before me and I am just so excited about the opportunities he continues to place in front of me

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's just a matter of time...

This has been a hard week at Metro Kidz, five shootings in a matter of minutes within just a few miles of the church, leaving two people connected to us dead. My heart broke on Monday night when I heard about these shootings, and didn't really know what I would walk into when i met the kids last night. As they walked through the doors, specifically the teens I could tell they were all carrying a burden and had heavy hearts. One of the boys looked at me and told me about his cousin and then said, "You know Miss Colleen, it's only a matter of time before it's one of us." My heart broke right then and there, I didn't really know what my response was supposed to be, and I had to fight back the tears. It breaks my heart that my kids are walking around thinking about how their lives could end in an instant.

Aside from the heavy feeling that was lingering over us last night, I have reason to believe that last night was one of the BEST nights at Metro Kidz, I watched as six junior classes came together and worked diligently to meet a deadline and it was quiet, and each group was working together as a team as they should. The teen helpers were in there classes and we're actually doing a wonderful job of being a part of what was happening. I later heard from Pastor Mike that last night each of the teens boys were in tune with what was going on, asking good questions and really paying attention to what was happening. Mat has been doing a great job of helping Pastor Mike and I am so excited that he's joined our team!

So there are a few things that we are praying for this week:

Sunday is Friend Day we're praying for the friends that are going to be joining us, for the first time! That God will work in them and that we'll be able to reach out to them in the most effective way.

We're playing for the Jones' family, their family members lost their home in a fire recently and they've been living together, so there are 9+ people living in the same home and it's been stressful on the family.

I'm praying for our teenagers that they'll be protected in this war that is happening in our neighborhood and city right now.

thanks friends!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Prayer-Shootings

Good morning friends! I have a huge update planned but for now, I'd like to post a quick update asking for prayer, there were 5 total shootings last night in S.W. Baltimore within a few blocks of the church, they've not released the names of the victims yet, but I know that we all have heavy hearts so if you could pray for our M.K. workers, our kids and our neighborhood, we'd appreciate that!

Thanks guys!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tuesday Night Prayer, exciting news and October!

Every Tuesday night a group of us gets together at the church and prays, we pray for everything our program, our people, the people we are (and are trying too) reach, personal requests everything under the sun. Some nights it'll just be a small group of regulars while other nights some people wander in off the street and join us. A few weeks ago "M" wandered in, he was a man who was addicted to alcohol and a few other things, he broke my heart, I had actually met him the Friday before and when I met him then he could barely function. When he came in really disrup prayer, but while Bruce was praying for this man he was convicted of something he had done and he made it right. I've been praying for this specific man everyday I can only hope that something changes in him for the Longterm.

So I finally got my meeting with our district commander yesterday and it was awesome, I felt like if anyone is going to get something done in our neighborhood, it'll be him and the Neighborhood Services Director. Honestly this is the first time that I have had a meeting at the Police Department and I've felt like I have been heard and encouraged. I promised them that I would be holding them accountable for the things they've said that they would do. So we shall see, but I am hoping and praying that finally things will be looking up for us!

So last night we had our COR meeting and I realized this month is packed with loads of fun stuff! Which means there are MANY opportunities for YOU to help out, below I have a wish list of things we need for our Fall Fest, if you're interested in donating something or helping out please contact me at colleen@metrokidzbaltimore.org. There are also many other exciting things going in this month so if you'd like more details please let me know as well.

We're looking for a few good volunteers to help up with our Metro Kidz Fall Festival on October 29th! You can either join us the night of the event and help with various activities or donate some of the items on our fall festival wish list! The event will start at 7 p.m. but a few people who could come early to help set-up would be good and we always meet at 6:30 for prayer! We should be cleaned up at out the door no LATER than 9:30 p.m.

The Wish List Includes:
Volunteers
Bags of Candy (individually wrapped)
Scarecrows
Mini Pumpkins
Cookies
Bails of Hay
Apples and Buckets for Apple Bobbing
Any other fall themed decorations you might have lying around you might want to let us borrow :)!

Thanks friends!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Everyday brings a new adventure

So for the past three weeks there's been this heavy spirit around us, us being MetroKidz workers, Charm City families, our kids and our neighborhood. Oddly ( or not oddly) enough the crime in our area has been getting worse. I've heard person after person tell me that they are afraid to come out of their house after a specific time, my favorite little neighbor doesn't sit outside anymore and the block looks so empty without him.

As I think about these people I love, having to fear for their life not just on a daily basis but on an hourly basis, I feel a little guilty that while I am here submerged everyday, that at night I get to go home to my safe warm home, full of love and food. My heart mostly breaks for my kids, most of them are not here by choice, but by chance...my prayer is one that you've heard before and that is constant, but that they'll see there is something more for them waiting out there. They need to dream, they need to envision their future, they need to run (I don't encourage my kids to run away from their problems) but I want them to run to God to chase the dreams they have. I want them to know that they can be delivered from this place, they are currently stuck in.

I spent sometime talking with a neighborhood mom last week and she fears so much for her childs life, she's one of the ones who is trying so hard to get out of this cycle, this place that has turned into a war zone. She will she is determined, she is determined to provide a safe place for her daughter to live, she's determined to escape war. She's determined to provide a place for her daughter to be able to play outside, explore and discover. It's story after story like these that break my heart.

Friday evening as I was waiting for some friends to arrive at the church for an event, I spent some time with T/S two young girls I met last month, I've invited them to come to Metro Kidz a few times, but they haven't yet, I am not giving up on them though. These girls have shared with me in the few brief conversations that we've had their fears, their dreams, the things that make them happy and the things that make them sad. One of the girls said to me on Friday, "Ms. Colleen, I am scared to walk here most days because of the guys on the corner (the guys she's referring to are some of our local d.d's) I don't want them to ask me to help them." It broke my heart because this happens on such a consistent basis, in fact I see some of my kids getting caught up in this. I sent these girls a card in the mail yesterday encouraging them to join us on Wednesday, I really hope they will. They desire attention (positive) and love (unconditional), whenever I am outside they seek me out, I have fallen in love with them, and I want them to come and feel loved. So would you join me in prayer that God will provide safety for these girls and they'll feel safe enough to come and join us?

Would you also join me in prayer for Mr. T he's a local man who Aaron and I had the opportunity to pray with on Friday night, his prayers are so sincere, he wants so bad to get out of here, but people keep letting him down. I've been praying all weekend that God will make a way for this man, that he'll be able to get out. I see Mr. T wandering around sometimes like he's just looking for a place that's safe, he's a hard worker, I've seen him work, he loves people, he just struggles with addiction and has finally realized now is the time to get help. I just hope he does before it's too late.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A comedian in our crowd!

Wednesday night, one of our teen boys stayed until 9:30 p.m. and cleaned the entire downstairs and then mopped up all the water from an overflowing toilet, T stood out from his friends that night, he let his servant side shine. He didn't complain, didn't ask for money for working his little tail off and was happy with an 8 pack of mini KitKats :)! The reward from him staying was much bigger than him cleaning and doing work that made our job easier that night, we actually got to spend one on one quality time with him.

We got to find out that he does want to go to college, and he does have dreams, he wants to go somewhere and do something. He's recently found a job and is true to going and making money. He helps his family out with some of the money he makes and the rest he uses for his needs. I am so proud of T, I can only pray that he'll be an example to the other kids around him.

Sunday I made a deal with him and some of the other boys that we'd have a study buddy program for this semester and see how it goes, but I laid down some rules one of them being that they had to let me know when they wanted to get together and they had to be true to actually getting there and participating. I am very excited about this though, I really think they are serious about it and I can't wait to watch them excel in school and go places!

The other deal that we made, was that if they got all A's and B's we'd do one of two things, we'd either have a pizza party together or I'd take them out to a nice dinner one at a time. We'll see how this goes :)!

I've been praying a lot for my teens boys who'll be graduating high school this year, I hope that you'll join me in praying for them. That they'll make wise decisions this year regarding school, their plans for the future and their social lives.

If you'd also pray this week for Pastor Mike as he continues to teach the teen boys about money, and financial matters. It's such a crucial time to teach them about budgeting and saving money so they can escape the neighborhood and the ways of the neighborhood!

Thanks friends!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The rewards....

I've probably mentioned this before, but the best part of my job is not planning events, bible studies or making dinners for Wednesday nights, it's the fellowship I get to have with my kids outside of the church. It's the burger picnics, the little girls braiding my hair on the front steps, it's missing that catch when the boys throw the football to me in a pick up game of street ball, it's the voices telling me how much they love me, it's the excited look on a little boys face when he gets to run around with me.

Last night Ms. Crystal and I ventured into the neighborhood and we hung out with our kids in their territory, we let them do our hair, we threw the football with them, loved them and just had an all around good time with them!

Now for some pictures:



Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Praying for "MA", school, Kids

My heart has been heavy for a few weeks now for a woman we'll call MA, MA is amazing, she's a recovering addict who's slipped back into her old habits, but before she could get too far in realized she needed help. She did all the work to get into a 30 day live in program and after a week, they told her that her insurance would not cover more than a week of treatment and off they sent her. This woman, is a mom, a grandmom, a friend, a servant and many other amazing things. When she walked through the doors a week after she left for help my heart dropped, I couldn't help but think she left the program because she wasn't ready, but that was the furthest thing from the truth.

MA wants help more than any other addict I have ever met, last night I noticed she was really upset and she and I had a real conversation, about life, what was going on in hers, what was going on in mine and we cried together embracing each other right there in front of the church. I look at this woman and while I know she has imperfections and struggles as we all do, I can't help but get on my knee's before God and beg for deliverance in her honor. I can't help but beg God to help her find the path of what's right. Last night I listened to her tell several people, I can't go on that street anymore, it gets me in trouble so if you want to see me you have to come to me. She wants help, so I ask you friends, please join me in prayer for MA. Would you please step up on her behalf and ask God to continue to bless her, continue to pull her in the right direction and continue to send people to rally around her?

I visited some of my kids on Monday, who've moved, I just wanted to find out how things were going, if they got settled in and if there was anything they needed, it was then I found out that none of them were going to school and that they'd be starting school because their parents spent all the money on their move, which they HAD to move, it wasn't an option not too. These kids don't have their uniforms, school supplies (which we'll remedy that part tonight) and other misc. things they need to start school. The truth of the matter is, they need to be in school, it breaks my heart no one is making them go, because I highly doubt they'd get in trouble for wearing last year's uniform if that's all they have. I pray that their mom and dad will wake up one day and realize they need to be setting better examples for these kids. Two of the six of them who live in the home currently are doing amazing and need to be in school to continue on that right path, in fact one of them who's a sophmore in high school has already gotten letters offering her scholarships to many colleges. I know I can't solve all of their problems, but I can pray for them and encourage them and do what I can to help meet their needs.

So before I go, I must brag on one of our kids, "J" this kid lacks enthusiasm most of the time, or has a hard time getting excited! However this kid is so faithful, hard-working and loving, he's recently saved and even more recently stepping out on faith to do amazing things! I found out recently his mother is dying of cancer and I pray to God that when she passes on someone takes this child (young man) in and continues to encourage and care for him in the ways he needs. For the past month or so this kid has been helping prepare an apartment for MA, he's shown up faithfully every weekend, never asked for money, never complained about what he's been asked to do and never let the people he's working with down. This child is hungry for love, hungry for jesus and hungry for approval. Last night I started talking with him about school, his family etc. and I got so excited listening to him get excited about something. Ah, I love these moments in minstry, the ones where you see some excel in ways you never imagined. While you're praying for MA, if you could toss up a prayer for "J" that would be awesome as well!

Thanks friends!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Praying for "M"

Last nights prayer meeting is still weighing heavy on my heart this morning, there were some people there who I've never seen before, one of them I've been praying for since he left last night and the other family I was so excited to meet and can only hope they come back. But I would like to ask you to join me in prayer for "M." M is a 51 year old man, who cried out to the Lord last night, he opened his heart and became vulnerable to us, telling us that he's 16 years clean from heroin, but has relapsed into an alcohol addiction, he's been shot three times and survived to tell about (a miracle? I think so), he's got a beautiful family, including grandchildren and he wants so bad to be delivered. He confessed to know the Lord, but not to be glorifying him in his life. It broke my heart the way he felt about himself, but made me so excited that we were able to pray over him last night, lift him up and encourage him. I plan to continue to pray that he really follows through with his prayer and his cries.

I can't stop thinking about last nights prayer meeting, for a couple of reasons but mostly because I just felt like it was powerful and God was really moving last night!

So next week is the water fight, we're still in need of a few things:
If anyone has any water guns laying around that could be borrowed please let me know!
Water Balloons
Volunteers :)!

Thanks friends!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oh, what a week!

It seems like this week was never going to end, I've had an exciting week with some of my kids and even some breakthrough with others. On Tuesday I had a Whopper picnic with some of my kids, honestly this is probably my most favorite part of my job, I go buy a bunch a hamburgers and we sit and talk and eat together. I think this is the time when I am truly getting through to my kids because we're outside of the church and in their element. This week I talked a couple through a "break-up" that lasted all of a few hours, had a conversation with a couple of the girls about modesty and the guys about treating girls with respect. It times like that 45 minutes I took out of my day to be with them, that I feel like changes are being made in their lives.

Wednesday was the second week of teen leaders, some of them are really enjoying it and really applying themselves and really excelling at becoming leaders, I am so proud of them. Others, aren't taking responsibility for their jobs and actions. I tried to explain to a couple of them, that when you become a leader, you should show up on time, actually before Metro Kidz, you should report to the place you've been assigned and you shouldn't have an attitude. It was a great teaching opportunity, but ended in me having to send a couple of my kids home which broke my heart.

The other thing that is breaking my heart is not having a teen program, I know we're short people and I know we're incorporating the teens in downstairs, but I don't want to lose them. I know in God's time we'll be able to have the teen program again, and that right now He's working in them and us, but it breaks my heart when new teens come and we have to tell them that right now there's not a program for them. So I hope you'll join me in Prayer for 6 teen girl and 6 teen boy teachers to join us. This is an immediate need...I know God will work in the hearts of the right people when it's the right time, and we just have to be patient.

So I got some sad news this week, this little old lady I met a few weeks ago in a different part of inner city Baltimore and I had began a phone prayer relationship, her name was miss Gerty she was beautiful. She recently came to Christ, just within the last few weeks that I have known her actually, which is a complete and totally blessing, because Miss Gerty went home to be with Jesus this week. She was diagnosed just a few short weeks ago with HIV, became sick with pneumonia and was hospitalized earlier this week. On Wednesday Jesus took her Home. Miss Gerty asked me if I would pray with her the first time I met her and then asked me if I would take her phone number and call her once a week to pray, well once a week turned into a few times a week, she was becoming my best phone buddy, I told her earlier this week I would come and bring her dinner next week, and we could hang out, I am kind of sad that never happened. But I am thanking God that she did get saved and that my life was blessed with her friendship. She was the kind of woman that reminded you of your grandma.

My heart breaks, I never asked Miss Gerty how she became diagnosed with HIV but her daughter said to me in a phone conversation, I bet you think my mom was a junkie and this is how this happened, don't you? My eyes filled up with tears and I didn't know what to say to her, but if she was, it didn't matter to me. But the truth is Miss Gerty wasn't a junkie, wasn't out selling her body or doing anything like that, she was helping someone who was infected with HIV and contracted it. I'm praying for her daughter, that she'll find comfort in knowing her mom is in a better place and that'll she'll find peace at some point with all of this. I extended my email, phone number and friendship to her, I hope she'll utilize it at some point.

I didn't get my phone call from Ka'lil this week, but I was told to expect it early next week, I can't wait to update ya'll on how he's doing!

Some prayer requests before I go:

For the next few weeks, we have some amazing opportunities to reach out to people, for us to just let us be used by Him, for it not to be about us but about what He has planned for us.

For guidance with some of the teens, there are somethings that need to be addressed with some of them and I need wisdom and words.

For E, that she'll come around! I miss her and her beautiful smile.

Thanks for the love, prayers and support!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Safe Zone and Praying for "E"

Good morning friends, so I thought I would send a quick update before I went off to work, one of my girls has been heavy on my heart lately, "E" I hope you'll join me in prayer for her. She comes from a family of 7 kids and a several grand babies that are being cared for by a single mother, I think she sometimes feels as one of the oldest living in the home, that she has to take on parental responsibilities and she gets lost in the shuffle. A few months ago when "E" walked into my life, it was normal for me to hear her laughing, being silly and smiling that beautiful smile of hers every chance she got, lately I can't get her to smile, she's carrying a large attitude with everyone including her friends, and I don't think she remembers what laughter is.

My heart is broken for this child, she's only 13 she's had to grow up so fast and she's losing her childhood, and I feel like I am losing her from Metro Kidz, these past few weeks I've felt like she's only been there because she feels like she has too, not because she wants too. I don't want to and can't lose this child, she's a prime candidate for letting herself get caught up in things that she shouldn't (i.e. prostitution, drugs etc.). I hope she'll see the love that I and other Metro Kidz volunteers have for her, but more importantly the love God has for her, even when she feels like know one cares of is there for her. The next few weeks, we're working on leadership with the teens and I really want to see her step up and become a leader, she's a leader by nature, I can tell. She has such a beautiful heart and soul, that is lost right now. I'm praying she'll come back, the "E" I met a few weeks ago, will you join me in praying for her?

It looks like Hollins St. and Payson St. are part of a two weeks safe zone through the Police Dept. and City, while I am grateful for this, and can imagine this is a VERY scary job for an officer to have to stand outside over night in the midst of chaos, I wonder what happens at the end of two weeks? The other night I was in the neighborhood late, and noticed a change in activity, however in 2-3 weeks when these officers go away, what happens? What's the follow up plan? I am anxious to get to the city today and see if we have officers 24 hours a day or just at night and I am anxious to chat with them and find out what the long-term plan is.

Well we're preparing for a busy month in August, don't forget if you're interested in helping out, to drop me and email at colleen@metrokidzbaltimore.org

oh and ps: I get to talk to "K" on the phone this week, I can't wait to post an update about him!

Thanks for the prayers, friends!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Needs for August!

Hello Readers! So I thought maybe I should put out there some needs we have for August, we're going to have a SUPER fun month and invite you to email me at colleen@metrokidzbaltimore.org
If you're interested in coming to volunteer for an event.

Needs:
Water Balloons
Water Guns
Water Balloon Launchers
Buckets
Sprinklers ETC.
Volunteers to help with Water Fight Night (August 20th)
Someone to run grills for food that night
Volunteers to help with Back to School Night
School Supplies (Backpacks, pencils, pens, paper, etc)
Volunteers to make finger (kid friendly) desserts for that night

We're also praying for 6 people who have been called and have a heart to work with our teenagers, our teen program has been put on hold until we find people to help us out.

Please pray about joining us for one of these special events of donating something to help make the night a success!


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"K" update

So I am sure you all remember "K" the guy I met at Subway a few months ago who is now getting the help he needs to be delivered from the life he was leading? Well I have a few updates, one is he's doing well, he'll be coming home in about 3 months, his mom has been praying for and finally found a home outside of Baltimore City that she can afford so that when he comes home he won't be walking back into temptation. My heart has been so happy for this family and yesterday, I was encouraged in a way I never knew possible I started talking to these guys and we talked for a few minutes they told me a little bit about their lives, what their plans are, things they like to do etc. I had introduced myself to one of them but the rest were standing a little away from me, so as I went to walk away, one of them yelled after me, "Hey you're Miss Colleen right?" When I replied yes, he thanked me for helping out "K" and told me that they thanked God for getting their friend out of there, and I later found out that he was going to be murdered. God knew exactly what he was doing that day when our paths crossed. These boys have and maybe never will no idea how much they encouraged me yesterday.

So there are some pretty serious things going on in Metro Kidz and would like to invite you to pray with us, we're looking for at least six workers to work with our teens? This is a serious and immediate need, so we're praying that God will work in the hearts of six people how desire to work with teens and that they'll come forward and join us in ministry. Also please pray for the changes we are making within the classes that already exist, some teachers are moving around, some kids will be moved into new classes with new teachers. I am really excited about the future of Metro Kidz and the changes that are about to take place.

A few weeks ago, I did a home visit, I visted Ms. "D" and her family, Amanda our friend who was recently murdered lived with Ms. "D" it was nice because her kids were there and one of them in particular is asking questions and getting so excited about Jesus, so being in his home and listening to him talk about Jesus to the people around him make my heart so excited. He's such an amazing example for his family. I got to pray with Ms. "D" for peace about the murder of Amanda, for salvation for her Husband and for her to get back involved into church. I just continue to pray for this family, for peace, for salvation and for God to move in their home. I just met this family recently but my love for them has grown so much over the past few weeks and I'm so excited that her kids are starting to show up at Metro Kidz weekly and even more excited to see her in church on Sundays and last night she volunteered to help coordinate our clothing pantry and do a few other things around the church, God is really working in her life through Charm City.

Thanks guys for the prayers and encouragement! I am back on the mend now so hopefully, my blog won't be lonely :)!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just an FYI

I have been very sick and not around much but I promise when I start to feel better my blog will be back with some AMAZING stories and updates!!! I miss ya'll!

Colleen

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Officer Young, My kids and praying for "strangers"

I am really impressed with Officer Young, she came in last night, hung out, spent time talking with our kids and left a good impression on several of them. In fact a couple of the girls told me that they wouldn't mind spending more time with her, this is a first. Our kids have this bitter taste in their mouths for the local police and it is my dream for that to disappear and there be a relationship started that is positive. I believe that Officer Young is the one who will make sure this happens. She was so genuine and open, amazing is what I'd call her.

My kids also really impressed me last night, from their being open minded about having a police officer hanging out with us, to their attentiveness while Pastor Mike was real with them, to their questions (well most of them) for Eddie. After last night I feel like I know exactly how to pray for some of them, one of them in particular needs prayer and love and I could feel it through her questions, comments and actions. I've mentioned her in my previous blog, she's being sent away to stay with relatives for a few weeks, and I wish I could make that not happen. She really needs to be at Metro Kidz she's growing so much and I feel like taking her away right now would be such a bad thing, however, where's the line between home and MetroKidz? I don't think that it is my place to go and talk with her mom and tell her she's wrong, but I wish that I had a relationship with her family...this is just motivation for me to start one, because the reason her mom is sending her away is one that I am using to teach her. Ah, she's stealing my heart. I am so excited about being able to spend time with my kids this summer, get into their hearts and really truly invest in them. My goal is to spend two days a week working in my office and three days a week getting dirty in the "hood" with them. I can feel myself becoming to emotionally attached to them...ah I can't imagine life without these kids right now.

Last night as I was walking "I" and "S" home from MetroKidz I witnessed a mother screaming and verbally abusing her children, these girls had just left the church, I wanted so bad to stop their mom and talk with her to yell and her to scoop these precious girls up and bring them home with me. I walked around the corner and literally had to blink back the tears, my heart was breaking for those girls, knowing that they were going home to this, that this was the life they lived. I am so excited that they've decided to come to MetroKidz and that they can feel unconditional love for a least a few hours a week. My goal is to research where these girls come from and make it a point to spend time with them, personally invest in them and share my life with them. To love them to the ends of the earth and back. Last night as I was drifting off to sleep I just couldn't help but pray for these girls, I don't know their names or whose class they were in last night, but I am determined to find out.

So I'm begging you to join me in prayer for my precious Mr. George, he's going through some stuff right now, and not making the wisest choices. I see him falling even further away than he already is. I love him, I encourage him and I try to be that shining light in his life. I beg him to come to church with me, I go out of my way on Sundays to swing by his house and invite him to come with me. I've noticed a change in his attitude lately, and I want my Mr. George back!

So before I close a few other things you can pray about:

*We're still praying for a financial miracle so we can buy our building it's such a financial burden on the owner and we need to set him free from that.

*I'm praying for personal finances so I can phase out of my job and phase into full time ministry, I desire nothing more than to get an afterschool program started by the spring. I want my kids to have a safe place to come in the afternoons, a place that they can be loved everyday!

*We're praying for Ms. Karen's health, for a kidney match so that she'll get better!

*Finally, I am praying for "Sa" and "C" as they are away at college, that they'll continue to excel, that they'll understand the privilege this is for them and they'll see the opportunities that are awaiting them.

Thanks friends!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blessed am I

I really feel so blessed when I get to hang out with my kids outside of MetroKidz, Sunday evening Crystal and I found ourselves back in Southwest, imagine that...well the kids were outside doing what they do best "hangin'" and we got to spend a good deal of time with them. Including a trip to Mcdonald's to purchase 20 double cheeseburgers! These kids really know how to give it to me so that I'll do whatever they want :)! But in the grand scheme of things, $20 to buy double cheeseburgers for them is really nothing to me. And when they tell me they are hungry I truly believe that they are hungry and need food. And the opportunity to spend time with them, laughing, hearing their hearts and what's bothering them is more valuable than any penny, dollar or double cheeseburger!

Yesterday, I had the chance to hang out with them again, it was so much fun! J, D,DR,SH, and T and I all went to Mcdonalds where I treated them to double cheeseburgers (do you see a trend here) and ice cream sundaes, they were SO excited! These particular kids have stolen a little bit of my heart that I don't think I will ever get back.

In fact one of them is having some trouble at home is going to have to go away for a few weeks, to stay with relatives and my heart is aching. Mostly because I'm seeing life changes in this child and I feel like moving her to a different environment isn't so much going to be healthy for her. It's made me so excited to see her at church every Sunday, and at MetroKidz every Wednesday, things make her cry, good things that should make her cry, she confesses she's a sinner and struggles, she begs for attention and for accountability, she wants so much to love Jesus with everything in her and she's so so close! My hope is she doesn't stray away again. You can be praying for her, she's a very beautiful African American girl and boys flock to her, we recently had a conversation about how valuable her purity is, I hope she listened! So as you pray for Charm City/MetroKidz this week, please pray for SH, for her life, for her relationship with Jesus Christ, for love from the people who are right for her, for the relationship with her mother, and for continued life changes in her life.

So on a different note, we had a memorial service for Amanda on Sunday, it's hard to believe someone took her from us and that she's never coming back. It was really a beautiful service, I couldn't stop thinking that maybe it was a dream and she was going to come back, or there was a mistake and our Amanda was coming back, this made it all real she's not coming back! It was a long week last week, trying to figure out all the legalities of being able to preserve her ashes for her family. The thing that made me sad is if your body remains unclaimed by family, they cremate you in a mass cremation as if you didn't even exist. We were able to locate some of her family so luckily that isn't going to happen, but I think of all the people who it does happen too and it makes my heart hurt.

We went to visit her memorial after the service and it made me even more sad, because it was at the end of a street Crystal and I have frequented often during our middle of the night prayer drives, and many times I've said to her, "If someone were to kill someone this would be the perfect place to dump the body, it's so desolate and gross back here and everything else gets dumped here." Little did I know that when that actually happened it would be someone I knew. Someone who was very near and dear to me. Little did I know that person would be someone that my heart loved so much, someone that I prayed for, someone I hurt for, someone I wanted to see succeed. I still don't understand why it had to be her and I think about her kids, and her life and I cry. I think about the life she wanted for her kids and I smile, because she was determined and wanted to make it happen, I think about how when she was sober she was such a wonderful mother and how she just fell on a bad time and someone took advantage of that and took our friend, sister, mother, cousin, daughter away.

Pray for her family this week, pray for the person who did this to her, pray for my Charm City family as we continue to grasp the idea of her being gone. Pray for Pastor Mike as he's dealing with his third death within a week, all people who were very close to him. Pray for strength, guidance and wisdom.

Alright friends, thanks for praying with us!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Wheelin' and dealin'

I've been doing some thinking about the events that have taken place this week, I stand on the corner of Payson and Frederick Ave. and I watch deal after deal after deal take place, and I wonder how long it's going to be before we're burying another one of our kids (people)? I watched the other day as one of my favorite kids, we'll call him "1" ran from the corner to the place where their goods were stashed and did the exchanges while the dealers stood on the corner and watched. Why is this happening? Why is it so obvious to innocent people walking by, and ignored by the people who can do something about it?

"1" is such a polite, good, respectful kid, and I want so bad to run to him everyday and shake him and ask him what he's doing, ask him why he's putting his life at risk and why he's throwing away his future. Doesn't he know these dealers are using him so that they don't get caught? Doesn't he know there is a better life for him? I've been in prayer for him constantly the past few days, I hope he comes to Metro Kidz next week, so we can talk with Pastor Mike, I hope we can pray over him, I hope that he knows we love him.

Another boy who's caught up in the junk is "N.A.P" In fact he wasn't allowed back in the block party because he was on the lot hustling, why? He too is a good, respectful kid who has just fallen into the mix. What more can we do for these kids other than love them? Reach out to them when they come and acknowledge them when we see them? I pray constantly for N.A.P. and his brother N.P., I met their momma on Saturday outside the block party, she loves her kids, she really does but she's another struggling single mom, who is losing her kids to the streets.

I've seriously come to my whit's end with this, two corners hounds in general break my heart, they are there night and day and recently I had a conversation with them, and prayed that they would follow the lead of their friend "K." You might remember "K" from my blog a few weeks ago, he found me in Subway, we talked and prayed and now he's out of Baltimore City, in a safe place getting the help he needs, his desire is to not return to the city life. His mother is so happy that he's getting the help he needs and even desires to move so that when he comes out of treatment he can come home to a safe place away from all the junk. I'm continuing to pray that God will bless this family with a new home, some where far away from Baltimore and far away from these friends that could be a hinderance in "K's" life, I also continue to pray that he grows, he accepted Christ a few weeks ago and my prayer is that he continues to run after Jesus.

So my prayer today is that these boys will see that there life is worth so much more than they think, and that there is something better out there for them. I pray that each and every one of them is delivered from this life. I pray that they see how much I and everyone else at Charm City loves them.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A few pics from Block party






Picture #1 Beautiful babies playing in the moon bounce!
Picture #2 Sidewalk chalk is always a hit!
Pictures #3 Harry plays happily with Leggos
Picture #4 Cha-Cha slide always gets our party started!
Pictures #5 The Food Czar (known as www.shaunbwilson.com) did an amazing job with food coordinating!



Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Does Anybody Hear Her...

I was sitting in my office tonight talking with Ms. Roxanne about Amanda, and this song popped in my head, this song has several different meanings, but it made think of Amanda, could anyone hear her? Could anyone see what she needed, was there something that we could have done differently? I can't stop thinking about how much her life meant to so many people, while others turned there noses up at her, I can't stop thinking about how to all of us she was a beautiful person whose life got cut short.

I ask that your prayers be with us this weekend as we celebrate the life of someone beautiful!


She is running
A hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction
She is trying
But the canyon's ever widening
In the depths of her cold heart
So she sets out on another misadventure just to find
She's another two years older
And she's three more steps behind

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even knows she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in
To ride in and save the day
And in walks her prince charming
And he knows just what to say
Momentary lapse of reason
And she gives herself away

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even knows she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

If judgement looms under every steeple
If lofty glances from lofty people
Can't see past her scarlet letter
And we never even met her

Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even knows she's going down today
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that's tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her? Can anybody see?

He is running a hundred miles an hour in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Block Party, Post Block Party and Prayers`

Wow, I don't even know where to begin this blog, the block party was amazing, however the events following it, have broken my heart along with many others that serve with me at Charm City. This past weekend will be one I will not forget for a long time, for many reasons some sad, some super exciting and some just because this weekend rocked my world in ways I may NEVER be able to explain!

On Friday our missions team from Carpenters Church in Pennsylvania joined us and humbled themselves at the door and served us to the maximum, thanks to them we now have all of the classrooms in the down stairs in working order, they also fixed a toilet, helped us flier the neighborhood with Block Party Fliers and rocked people's world in the neighborhood in the process. Saturday they helped us pull off the block party, which was more amazing than I could have ever imagined. It didn't stop there though, these kids worked their hearts out helping to set up, execute and clean up the block party, then they went to Fell's Point and loved on some our homeless friends, came back helped clean up the church and then in the morning they helped us pull off our Sunday morning service, by rocking us with some amazing worship.

God used these youth in ways they don't even know this weekend, they changed lives with their actions, their smiles and their humble hearts. I can only pray that they all went home changed in one way or another. This morning their pastor returned to set up our sound system for us, I know in my heart this is a relationship that will continue to grow and hopefully we can continue to partner for upcoming events and projects.

The Block Party, wow is all I can say, once again in the end I stood back and thought to myself wow, God used US to pull this off. There were some things we did differently this year, that I really liked including having a Baltimore Free Store Free Market, renting a Block Party Trailer and no stage. Somethings we didn't do this year, I think would have worked out better, but all in all it was a HUGE success. The crazy thing is, that it appears we served more people this year than last and that just down the street while there was a Muslim outreach event happening, while we were having a rockin' party for Jesus!

Somethings that stick out the most to me from the event 8 people got saved that day, I am still getting emails from people who served with us, telling me awesome stories about people that they met and connected with. I met "K" this man who really desires to be delivered from this neighborhood and this lifestyle, as he stood with tears streaming down his face telling us about his life of being broken and battered, I had to hold back my tears. Looking across the lot and seeing the cha-cha slide being danced by everyone, white, black, young, old...it was such a bonding moment, and one that I prayed for. I can't stop thinking about the whole day, images pop into my head and I just think to myself, wow did that REALLY happen...or wow that was awesome...or wow I am so happy we did things this way this year.

One thing that will forever be etched in my mind, is the hug and the prayer I shared with Amanda...knowing that I will never see her again, that we'll never hear here call Pastor Mike her Pasker or that we'll probably never ever see Arianna, Alicia or Josh, or that I won't wave to her on the corner of Payson and Wilkens. It was a complete and total God thing that Amanda was at the Block Party on Saturday and that most of us who've formed a relationship with her, got to lay our hands on her, whether it was a hug or a prayer, we all shared some form of communication with her that day.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, there was an unidentified body found in S.W. Baltimore that morning, the person had been brutally murdered...it turns out this body that had been beaten an left for dead on the corner was our dear friend Amanda, someone we all loved, someone we all prayed for and with, someone that we loved despite the choices she made, despite the fact that sometimes she didn't love us back. She let the streets get the best of her, she made decisions that put her in a compromising position and someone took advantage of that and now she's gone from us.

From the second the Block Party trailer was packed up until the current second I sit here writing this, Satan has been busy in our body, first two vans, same night, within an hour of each other break down, second Bruce gets extremely ill and ends up having his appendix removed, third Amanda is found dead, one of us experience severe personal attacks from Satan, one of us it beaten down so bad it's hard to get back up...and the list goes on and on...so right now I am begging you to lift our little family up in prayer, pray for Satan's hands to be bound in our work and our lives, pray for lives to be changed because of Amanda's death, pray for miracles to happen. We lift up our new Block Party friends and old ones as well.

I cannot begin to Thank all of you for your support whether it through serving with us, donations, prayer or just a thought about the block party. I hope that your lives were rocked just as much as ours were!

Thanks!

<3 and prayers friends!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!

So today was AMAZING! Tuckers missions team arrived today and WOW are they amazing! They have worked their little hearts out today, they set up not one, not two but THREE classrooms, working classrooms something we've been praying about for a LONG time, and we just haven't had the time to do, the clothes closet which if you've EVER been to Charm City you've seen it, is organized and you can see the floor, the girls got all of the stuff ready for the Block Party and now, well we're going to bed five hours earlier than last year!

I can't believe in less than 12 hours we're pullin' this off :)! It's going to be great! Keep an eye out for pictures and stuff :)!

Pray for tomorrow if you think about it :)!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Block Party and other Random stories

I just realized it's been officially two weeks since I've updated, for that I apologize I have been completely consumed in planning the 2nd Annual Metro Kidz Community Block Party! It's happening this weekend at Charm City from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.! Everyone is welcome! They'll be carnival games, a moonbounce, clowns, A Baltimore Free Store, Free Market and Free Food! We hope you'll join us!

So many exciting things are happening in my Charm City world, this week we send two of our high school girls off to college for the summer, they and I are very excited about this. They'll be living on the campus of Towson and UMBC this summer, while taking college classes and having the opportunity to live outside of their environment. I am not only so proud of them, but so happy that they'll have the opportunity to see what awaits them out there! So please keep "C" and "S" in your prayers this summer. Pray for their relationship with God, that while they are away from us it will still continue to grow, pray for them to see what's out there, that there is a whole world of amazing opportunities that awaits them outside of this neighborhood.

So as I was driving into the neighborhood for church on Sunday, I couldn't help but let a couple of tears roll down my cheek, I watched three very beautiful (to me) women get into three different cars and well it doesn't take much to figure out for what. I wanted so badly to pull my car over, ask them what they needed and drag them away with me. It breaks my heart to watch this happen. As I continued to drive I watched deal after deal take place...and my favorite boys were out of my favorite corner. The funny thing is though since our "run-in" those dealers leave when my car pulls up and don't return usually until after I am gone.

There hasn't been much else going on! But please keep praying with us for workers, we've decided we need about 10-15 more people to be able to break our groups down even smaller, also please keep praying for finances, and finally for patience for all of us.

Thanks friends! Hope to see some of you on Saturday!