Monday, April 20, 2009

Volunteer Profile: Ms. Melissa

A little over a year ago when I met Melissa, I had no idea how God was going to bring us together, I had no idea that she would be serving side by side with me at MetroKidz and influencing not only the lives of the kids that we all love, but my life. Melissa is a great gift from God to our ministry, she brings with her a great sense of love, joy and creativity, that captures the minds and hearts of the fifth and sixth grade girls she leads. Melissa is not only watching her girls grow, but she is growing with them.

The time that Melissa devotes to her girls outside of Metrokidz, praying for them, shopping with them, taking them out to dinner, and making special gifts for them is amazing. Melissa walked into MetroKidz having no idea, what to expect and the impact that she would be making there. Her love for the kids, goes beyond the love for them in the church, but also into their homes as she makes a point to visit her girls once a month, as well as plan activities for them in her home. While Melissa is best known by the boys for her "mean walk," she is truly loved by all of the kids and staff at MetroKidz.

When Melissa is not hanging out in the 'hood with the kids, she can be found hanging out in the lab (she's a scientist!), going to runs, playing with her animals or finding the nearest beach! Melissa is a wife, a professional and a student (currently getting her PhD in Microbiology) and truly loves what she does!

Melissa says her favorite part of MetroKidz is, "the hugs and the excited yells of "Miss Melissa!" when I arrive at MK on Wednesdays. I love listening to the kids talk to each other and especially when they share their lives with me."

Things that we can join Melissa in Praying for:
-To be a stronger deeper Christian, to be a good wife and maybe someday a mother.
-That my research will one day help people around the world and improve their quality of life, and maybe reach the forgotten people of Africa and South America that live in deplorable conditions with no healthcare, no clean water, and no viable food source.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cupcakes, the committment and love...

Finding a cupcake background for my blog, pretty much made my day and will make the day of the volunteers and kids who check out my blog! You see, a few okay several months ago, I acquired this nickname from some of the teens. A few of the kids missed the van on the way back from a field trip and I jammed them all into my car and drove them back to the neighborhood, as we were waiting at one of the stoplights, this young "gentleman" decided he thought it would be a good idea to try and get my phone number, he used several "lovely" words such as baby girl, beautiful etc. and finally out of his mouth came, "Hey cupcake..." and well the kids took it and ran with it, it has been one that has stuck, and I find myself acquiring more and more cupcake paraphenalia, including cupcakes pj's, a cupcake change purse, and I might even be adding a pair of cupcake shoes to the mix soon! I suppose I could be called worse names! I love it when the kids come to the church wearing something with cupcakes on it, they come running to find's such a "sweet" term of endearment!

The committment
So a few months ago two of the teenagers who are dating, wrote each other a couple of notes on the back of their sermon notes and dropped them in the sanctuary, the first time I though it might have been an accident, but as it continued to happen I really think they wanted them to be found. These notes were extremely graphic about the lives that they were living outside of church, they were a cry for help, both of them openly admitted in these notes that they were living in sin and wanted to stop but didn't know how. Each time a note was found it was addressed, but finally after the last one, I decided something needed to happen, and I began to pray and invite people to pray with/for us. Pastor Mike and Ms. Nicole and I spent a few hours one night after MetroKidz talking to this couple about the importance of not living in sin within your relationship, but also about the dangers of sex, and the possibility of becoming teenage parents. There were many tears shed that night, tears of pain, tears of joy and tears of hope. It was almost three months ago, that we had this intervention.

I am happy to say that two Fridays ago, these kids took a vow, between themselves and God that they were going to stop having sex, that they were going to become pure again. Ms. Crystal and I celebrated with them, by taking them together to the Family Christian Store and purchasing them purity rings, we made it perfectly clear the importance of these rings, and that this was not a promise between them and us, each other or anyone but them and God. They were so excited. Afterwards, we took them to dinner and really had a time of bonding with these kids, opened up doors of opportunity to speak into their lives and have gained a new level of respect and trust with/from them.

I invite you to join me in prayer for them, because speaking from experience, I know that taking a vow of purity is NOT an easy thing to do. Their will be temptations, ups and downs and stumbling blocks all over the place. In fact these two teens have done a very good job of letting myself and Ms. Crystal know when they are feeling tempted, by texting us and asking us to join them in prayer. I am so proud of the two of them, and so thankful that God has allowed a difference to be made in their lives.

I find myself day after day, hour after hour and minute after minute falling more in love with my kids, it's an indescribable feeling, I love the way they come running from blocks away to hug me, I love the way they chase my car down Pratt Street, I love the way they call me at 2 a.m. to tell me what's going on in their lives, I love the way they know when something is wrong in my life or heart. I love the concern that they have for me, so much that 10 minutes after I drop them off at their door they are blowing up my cell phone with texts filled with love, and phone calls wanting to make sure I am okay. I love how when we drop them off at home and take a new way home, they call to make sure we made it back to the church safely. I love the fact these kids want to be with me every second I am in the neighborhood...

I am so excited that this summer, I will really be submerging myself into their lives almost on a 24/7 basis! I am so excited that I am giving up a path of stability, to walk into the darkness, not know what is in store for me to be able to sell myself out for these kids....for God and for this City...I am so honored and excited that God has chosen me...

Photo: Hanging out with the kids on PJ night, rocking my cupcake Pj's!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Building Bridges, Samuel F.B. Morse and Teen Night

Before I even begin to update I must apologize, that it's been almost a month since I have updated. I started school, again last month and it took me a while to adjust to being in school, doing ministry and juggling my two nanny jobs! So I am back now and will do my best to keep regular updates posted!

Building Bridges
Saturday April 25th, marks the first ever Charm City/Grace Community Church Building Bridges partnership. I am so excited as there will be three significant projects taking place, including a community clean-up (cleaning several blocks around the church, and the elementary school, a Spring Clothing give-away and finally a painting project at Samuel F.B. Morse)! This is going to be an exciting time as we begin our summer theme (Community/Unity) a little early, our whole theme for the summer is uniting our community with The Church. But not only that it's a chance for people from Grace (my home church) to see what it is that they support on a monthly basis, through their missionary support, volunteers hours and other various ways they support me/the ministry here. If you're interested in getting involved in what's going on that day please feel free to contact me, or check out this link:!

Samuel F.B. Morse
Recently a partnership has been established with the local elementary school in our neighborhood, for me this is HUGE, not only because this is something that I have been dreaming and praying about, but because this is something that they've been hoping and praying for as well, and well since I'm back in school getting my elementary ed degree, it'll be a great resource for observations and student teaching and finally about half of my elementary school kids attend classes there! When I met with the mentor Principal, she couldn't have been more excited about what was about to happen there. It's already started with a few donations, we'll be painting their cafeteria next weekend and finally this summer we'll be hosting up to 40 of their kids for a summer school after-school program. This is just the beginning of what I feel will be a long lasting partnership.

Another reason why I am so excited about this partnership, is because I mentioned a few blogs back about how hard it is to find hope in the neighborhood. This is one of those places, where hope can be found. There are people in this building who work hours upon hours to give these kids hope, there are several principals who are working to give these kids a better education. When I walk through the door, I see a gloomy place filled with life and hope. I can't wait to be spending more time there.

Teen Night
This past weekend was our 2nd teen night, the teens meet two Fridays a month from 9-midnight, it's a safe place for them to be off the streets for a few hours. We give them a dose of God's love, break into small groups, feed them, and have open rec time. The first Friday we had 40 kids there, half of whom we'd never meet before and three of them are continuing to come on Wednesdays and at least one of them attended both Sunday school and Church on Sunday. It's been so much fun, to get to know these kids, get to know new volunteers and to spend time with the teenagers in a more relaxed atmosphere. I am excited to see what God is going to continue to do with this program.

-Pastor Mike and Ms. Karen Kidney Transplant May 12th, please keep them in prayer as they continue to prepare for this journey. The recovery time will be difficult for both of them.
-Please continue to keep our neighborhood in prayer as it has recently been revealed this could be one of the most violent summers within the last 10 years.
-We're continuing to pray for God to send laborers. We're still in need of several volunteers to be able to grow our program.
-We're praying for the weekend of the 25th/26th Building Bridges/MetroKidz Sunday all in one busy weekend!
-I'm still praying about summer support raising!

Thanks for joining us in prayer and supporting what we're doing!

Photo: One of our kids listening to a visiting Missions Team lead worship and Local Pastor Tally Wilgis!