Thursday, April 26, 2012

Time for a Story - Kids Jam

It's taken a bit for me to write about our trip to LA.  Partly because I've just been getting back to into the rhythm of our life - if chaos has a rhythm, and partly because I've had to think about it all.  As I can, I want to share stories of this amazing trip.

Staring with Kid's Jam!

Kid's Jam is an outreach program of the LA Dream Center into the housing projects throughout Los Angeles.  Simply explained, the team goes in and just plays with the kids for about 45 minutes.  Games of Kick Ball and Soccer, Keep Away, some football game I didn't understand and other activities quickly broke out.  The kids are accustomed to different teams coming each week and they really organized the activities - we just played.

The kids are lovely!  They want to play!  They bond so quickly to the team - they just want to be loved.

You don't seem many men around.  Many of the woman are older - maybe raising grandchildren.  Kids have to earn the privilege to come each week.  They call it "Promotion."  It's usually a bit of candy but it says, "I played.  I listened.  I learned.  I get to come back."  It was sad to see a boy who wasn't allowed to play because he had not earned promotion the week before.  I was told that due to the violence of the area, the kids must have strict guidelines so that order is maintained.  It's the structure they need and crave.

This is Isaiah and my Chris. They met when we served in Watts.  They were quite a team!  And Chris instantly fell in love with that smile and before we left he game him a bracelet that says, "God Is Big Enough."  Chris may not touch him again in the natural, but in the spiritual, we are bombarding heaven for Isaiah.

After 45 minutes, it's time for the lesson.  We learned the Rules:
                                STAY ON THE BLUE TARP!  
There's a game and prize and then they present the Gospel.  Very simple.  A memory verse.  Very simple.  Something they can keep all week.

The Dream Center Team was amazing!  We learned so much from them on working with these kids.  It was hard for our team to remember to stay visible;  stay together;  stay within the fence - we feel so safe in Durango.  I could not imagine a child's play center with a locked fence around it and razor wire around the top of the Community Center building.  We would never have the trash in our park that they have in their yards.  But there was a pride and dignity to them.

Their eyes scream one thing:

"Love Me!"

This little fellow I met in Compton.  I don't know his name - his speech was impaired I couldn't understand him.  But we smiled at each other and we became friends.  He didn't play much with the others but when it was Tarp Time - he was there!  Saying the Memory Verse!  Listening to the Story of Easter.

No witty summation.  No Bible verse today.  No great story.
Just look at his eyes.
I am so thankful someone is there every week for him.
And He loves Jesus.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Now What

Today is April 17.

It is the 108th day of the year.

There are 258 days left.

What have I done?  Have I advanced the kingdom of God?  Have I been hope to the hopeless?  Fed the hungry?  Loved the unlovable?

I'm having a hard time being home from LA honestly.  It was a great week.  Great kids. So much laughter.

Today was boring in comparison to what I've been doing.

 Up.  Dressed.  Read.  Cooked.  Taught.  Cleaned.  Taught.  Read.  Took a nap.

Edited pictures from the trip.

Wondered about the kids.

Prayed for Neisha.

Prayed for Niya.

Smiled at the thought of Mickey.  Hoped the Arkansas girls got home okay.

Wondered again at the Swedes who came not believing in God, just social justice yet everywhere they turned the gospel was present.

Prayed for the kids who went.  Read my Bible.

And then it was 4:00 pm.

There is a stirring created in your heart by service.  Don't know where God's taking me.  But I want to go.  I don't want to go back to the same person.  Same ways.


And praying, now what?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Our Own Holy Week

Today as we started class we reviewed Christ's week leading to Easter and we took Communion together, praying for each other, for friends and for family.

Holy Week -

     Sunday, Jesus was hailed as the Triumphant Returning King!

     Thursday, He was a member of the crowd going about his business and preparing for the
                Feast of Unleavened Bread.

     Thursday night, He was arrested.

     Friday, He was despised and the crowd called for His death.

Too many times our own spiritual journey can be compared to the Holy Week.  We are saved and filled with joy and then Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday comes - it's all mundane, routine.  Then we are just part of the crowd and soon, our own Friday - we have walked away from God.

Then came Sunday.

   Resurrection.   Life.   Renewal.   Hope.

Where are you living today?  Friday?  or Sunday?