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 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

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!