Saturday, March 29, 2008

Encouraging People, Urban Outreach and the Future

The past few weeks have been amazing in the people meeting department, I've met pastors in our neighborhood, who'd be interested in partnering to do some activities this summer, I've met Pastor Billy, who's doing amazing things at the Brooklyn Church of God, in Brooklyn Maryland, Tally Wilgis, a Virginia Beach Church Planter, who dreams big, just as I do, and Lauren Harvey, a young woman with a HUGE heart for Urban Missions in Washington, D.C. All of these people have been so encouraging to me, through their actions, their words and their works. Last night as I was driving home from D.C., I thought to myself, God has orchestrated an amazing group, some who we've never/may never meet of people to encourage me (and us) to continue this work, even when it's hard, even when you feel like you can't take another step, I've been truly blessed this month.

Last night I had the opportunity to help Lauren take some of her girls from Urban Outreach to "Simply Beautiful," a special night of pampering for the girls at a local church, it was probably one of the most rewarding things outside of Metro Kidz that I've done in a REALLY long time. As soon as we got to the outreach center, I immediatly fell in love with the kids, from Charnelle, the very first, very EAGER girl to arrive to Rudy the cute little boy who wondered up with some of the other kids. I looked at each one of these kids and they reminded me of my kids in Baltimore, they were desperate for attention, they wanted someone to listen, they wanted to tell you about their lives, where they go to school, everything. I especially fell in love with Alexis the 10 year old girl who rode with me in my car, she was so sweet and immediatly wanted to play 20 questions about Miss Colleen's life, and so I asked questions about her life as well and she was extremely eager to share with me. She did begin breaking my heart when after every answer I gave her she said, I've never done that, I don't know how to ride a bike, I've never had anything other than a big wheel, and have you ever invited anyone to live with you, because I think I'd like living in your house. It's times like this and times when we pulled into the parking lot at Urban Outreach and all the boys wanted to do was sit in the car with us and talk, that I wish I could just yank them all up and take them home, what I wouldn't give to have home so huge that that I could invite them all to come and visit, stay and play and experience life outside of the chaos they live. As much fun as I had with the girls at Simply Beautiful, secretly I would have enjoyed staying in SouthEast and playing with all the kids and I will be returning to Urban Outreach in the VERY near future so I can spend more time with them.

I fell in love with Lauren and we've already made plans to plan a pool party, a sleepover, and many more activies with our kids combined and I plan to return to Urban Outreach in the VERY near future. I can't wait!

So this past week I've really been praying about the next steps at Metro Kidz, and I think I'm going to attempt the Teen Leadership Team (TLT) again, I see so much potential in some of these kids and I think it's getting lost. I want nothing more than to pull them out, one of my girls Cierra stands out, she's a natural leader, she's different, she carries herself in a different manner, she loves Jesus with everything in her and for the most part she doesn't care what other people think of her, in fact she's invited me to be her "date" for her Military Ball instead of her boyfriend. I think brining her on board the TLT and using her to be an example for others will be such a great change for the dynamics of our teen group, I'm excited to see what Gods going to do with this one.

The other thing I've been dreaming and praying about is hosting a community baby shower for the single/single pregnant mothers in our neighborhood. I've not completly worked out the logistics yet, but when it does happen it's going to be huge...I can see how it plays out and it's going to such an encouragement and beautiful event.

Well I could continue to write for hours, but I have some home visits to do this afternoon and a couple of meetings so I better run, but I'll leave you with a few prayer requests:

So there are a few prayer requests:

* Please pray for R, I don't know much about this kid other than he's 19 and he hustles drugs outside the church, last weekend I introduced myself to him and started talking with him and I've not been able to get him off my mind ever since. I invite him to Metro Kidz/Church everytime I see him, and can only pray one of these days he'll suprise me.

*Ms. MaryAnne and Nancy, they need to find a common ground in their mother/daughter relationship. Mary Anne is working to better her life and could tell you right down to the hour, how long she's been clean of her addiction and she's struggling with her life right now, please pray God will deliver her from her current situation.

Please join me in prayer for Nancy that she'll see how important it is for her to get her life together and take responsibilty for her two young children. I pray God will send her some Godly Women to help her learn and lead by example. She also needs some direction and Wisdom.

*For the Light Company Retreat, I'm taking two girls from Metro Kidz on the retreat, I pray that they'll grow as Godly young girls, that our relationships will grow and that they can come back refreshed and so much more in love with Jesus and themselves.

Thanks for all the encouragement and prayers!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Two in One

So I'm a few weeks behind but the past few weeks have been full of both excitement and heartache, starting with last week, when we had lined up an amazing guest speaker and they totally dropped the ball at the last minute and didn't show up. It turned into complete and utter chaos. The teens decided it would be a good night to show us their "best side" meaning they wouldn't settle down for a lesson, they put a rotten apple in the pool table, they tore open gifts that had been wrapped, they trashed the entire upstairs. The junior kids decided that it would be a good night to just pretend like they had no respect for people.

I stood back that evening and really for one of the very few times ever, asked God, why me and why HERE? What do I have that these kids want, what can I teach them, I can't even get them to sit still for a short lesson...and I realized, that I have so much to learn from them and with them. My heart broke that night, because it was a true reflection of what these kids lives are really like, chaos, whether in their homes, their schools, their neighborhood, these kids live in chaos. I'm not at all excusing their behavior, but I'm relating to them.

If I think about it logically, I realize that (most of) these kids have no positive examples outside of Metro Kidz, so how can we expect them to behave all the time, I mean we all have bad days..right?

For the first time ever a decision had to be made as to how we were going to punish these kids, because their behavior was unexcusable, so we took away their Gym Night, it was sad and broke my heart that a few of them showed up and I had to be the one to break the news to them, but these are learning/teaching opportunities.

So that awful night ended with one of the ladies, I've been trying to reach out too, getting jumped, I love this woman, a few months ago she went away for a few months, but now she's back and regressing, it breaks my heart. I want so badly for her to know the Love of the Lord as I do, the only thing I can do is keep praying for her and showing her Christ's Love. On Saturday when I tried to approach her about it, she turned the other way. She claims it was some of our teens who jumped her and I hope she can get over that (if it was) and still share her life with me.

Tonight, was much better and God did something kind of amazing, tonight we talked about True Unconditional Love and the lies, that the world tells us, well the plan all along was that was the study for the girls, at the end of the night, when we all came together, it was mentioned that the Juniors as well as the teen boys had all talked about the same thing, completely and totally unplanned! So awesome!

The Juniors, had fiesta night tonight, they played Fiesta Bingo, Musical Sombrero and guess how many Jumping Mexican Beans (Jolly Rancher Jelly Beans) are in the jar and then we all came together for a fiesta dinner of Tacos and Queso, remind me again why we've NEVER done tacos before, you would have thought these children had never eaten. One child said to a volunteer, "Man ya'll did dinner up good this week!" Tacos are a HIT!

I love planning these nights in the middle of the month that kind of give us all a break, allow us to breathe, and have fun being crazy and silly!

Next month, I'm planning a spring fling, I'm excited for that :)!

So a few other highlights of the past week:
-Having close to 55 of my favorite people experience Charm City in true Saturday night fashion at a birthday party held in the church basement.
- Speaking at Kidzone and sharing my heart with a room full of attentive and eager 2nd/3rd graders.
-Watching Veggie Tales/sharing pizza with a small group of 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders!
-Meeting Pastor Billy (from the Brooklyn Church of God)
-Realizing that God is so much bigger than we could EVER imagine!

Thanks friends for your continued love and support through this amazing journey God's sending me on!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Love Night

Recently we held Love Night for our kids, we served them as if they were at a restaurant as opposed to most Wednesdays where they get their own food from the kitchen and find their own seats. Dinner was made by one of the small groups from my home church Grace, some of the Light Company kids joined us and worked in the Kitchen that evening.

Here are a few of our Wednesday evening teachers working as servers for the evening, we served almost 70 kids that evening. The second photo is Pastor Mike with one of our junior girls, we split the kids up by age/grade.

Basch lead worship that evening and the teachers each wrote a letter to the kids they work with or the group as a whole and we read them aloud to the kids. Some of us chose to copy the letters for our kids, here Ms. Crystal reads her letter with Kapri.

Some of our girls decided to pose for the camera, and other decided that Basch is a rockstar and needed to pose with him as well :)!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I dream of...

"...a time when my whole family can be together again."-1st grader
"...of being a doctor." -Fifth Grader
"...the day my daddy comes home." -a fourth grader
"...graduating high school." -a teenager

Just when I thought I had heard it mind was blown once again. Last night we hosted from "Junk to Jesus," with guest speaker Mike Weber author of "From Junk to Jesus," founder of In the Blink of an Eye Ministries, ( and a dear friend of mine, came and shared his personal testimony. The kids were amazing, they asked good, thought provoking questions, they listened intently, most of them even thanked him at the end. I've been amazed by their behaviors the past few weeks. During the presentation Mike discussed what some of his dreams were and how he'd missed opportunities because of some of the choices he'd made in life, Pastor Mike decided at the end to ask some of the kids about their dreams, when some of the kids responded I had to literally hold back the tears.

Pastor Mike gave an invitation for anyone who was feeling burdened or who needed to pray last night the kids who were brave enough to come to the front had real, heartfelt prayer needs, one little girl prayed for her imprisoned father, one little boy prayed for his family to be together again, one teen girl prayed for hope and love, one little boy prayed for God to take over his life, it's times like last night that even at the end when I'm exhausted and worn out, it's all worth it.

These past couple of weeks have been extremely busy, we had a missions team in from Lancaster who did a ton of work, including painting all of the classrooms upstairs so now we can actually utilize them and tearing down a wall that seperated two classrooms down stairs so now the groups can split into even smaller groups. We've also been preparing for Adopt-A-Block which kicks off this Saturday at 10 a.m., planning summer missions events, planning the block party which will take place on June 21st, meeting with YWAM to see if there is a potential summer partnership and setting up a computer lab in which computer classes will begin in a matter of weeks.

I also feel like another milestone was reached with my teenagers, both the boys and the girls, a few weeks ago, I took a couple of them to a leadership event sponsored by BUILD (Baltimoreans United In Leadership Development) and then we hung out had lunch and helped put togetether the computer lab with Chris, it was such a bonding moment with them, and later they told me the highlight of their day was having lunch (at Subway a place that most of could go to whenever we want) and learning how to set-up computers. On the girl side of things we've been talking about purpose and the purpose we feel God has for our lives, they've been so excited to share some of the purposes they feel God has for their lives, but they take it even further and they share their hearts! We never actually make it through an actual Bible Study because they get side tracked, however I'm not complaining...I love it that they've finally decided I'm worthy of hearing their stories, they're opening of chapters of their lives and pouring them out to me, the good, the bad, the sad, the heartbreaking. These once again are the moments why this is all worth it.

There are a few things you can keep in prayer:
1. Church Finances, we're in the process of purchasing our building and we really just need to pray for God to send us the finances.
2. Workers we're still in need of a few more people to join us a leaders on Wednesday evening.
3. For the kids that they'll continue to feel loved and be loved.
4. That God will continue to open doors and allow opportunities for us to show His Love

Thanks for your love and support!