Leave me your feedback. Don't skip the details. We won't have the oppertunity to follow up until after Shane Claiborne, so I need your thoughts while they are fresh. I love you guys.
I thought everything went smoothly. Walking around, knocking door to door, I saw many projects we could do like painting the hallways (if possible) and yard work. I also thought we should be able to get a better soccer goal. The people who live there were very receptive and pleasant, which is great. It would be nice to know what household items people need so we could start a list to see what we can do to accommodated that need.
Confession: Anytime we do these sorts of large-scale outreaches, I tend to get frustrated at how the children gravitate toward me. God has been teaching me and humbling me a lot in this area, because it is not so much that I don't love children (I DO!), but because I often see children's ministry as "just" children's ministry and I always hope that I'll get to do something "more important."At any rate, I was not at all surprised when the first friend I made while knocking on doors was a 12 year old girl. After my brief "Really? Kids again?" reaction, I just let myself settle in and it was lovely. Gyslaine and I played tic-tac-toe and hopscotch and stood in line for food and exchanged vocabulary -- she taught me to say "Hello" and "Thank you" in Swahili, and I taught her the word for "macaroni and cheese." Which, by the way, she loves. It also became very apparent to me very quickly that the youth are going to be the way into the lives of these people. The youth are the ones who speak English, broken though it may be, and are the ones who are brave and rambunctious enough to come out to these sorts of events. Gyslaine was also able to tell me as we walked by each apartment who lived there, where they came from, what languages they spoke, how many people lived in their family. The kids of this neighborhood definitely have the connections! I got the opportunity to visit with two families in their apartments yesterday and each time it was the children (or young adults) who invited me in. Both families were so receptive to having this complete stranger brought into their home by their kids! They were so gracious, insisting that I sit down and chat, share a can of soda with them, and were eager to hear about what I did and more than willing to share about their own lives. In short, I think I'm in love. My heart is aching with the beauty of all that went on yesterday. I can't wait to read everyone else's reactions.
Pat - I wonder if we would be allowed to do a few "make over" projects in those appartments? Who do we talk to? managment?Jess - I love that Jess. Thank you. We had a guy stop our car on the way out to say "please come back."
I was absolutely stunned at the Lord's goodness in all of it. Everything from providing the right amount of food, to how receptive everyone was, to all the people from our family who came out to help. I admit, I was nervous about how they might receive all of it, but the Lord was so faithful through it all. As I was leaving, I sat down with a little boy who had a heap of food on his plate, and to me, it was "clearly" too much food. So I told him that he didn't have to eat all of it if he didn't want to. "oh, its okay. I want to, I haven't eaten in a long time." He then started telling me how his dad just left his mom and how its been hard for a while. After talking to him about that for a little bit, he asked me why we came, and that this was his first thanksgiving. When I told him that we just wanted to spend time and share a meal with them he had the most puzzled look on his face, and we both just laughed. As I kept listening to him, I realized how much love the Lord wanted to show him through me, through all of us. And that was just ONE family, one little boy. I feel like we scratched the surface of something beautiful and vibrant that the Lord wants to do in Birchcroft. I AM SO EXCITED!!!!-anthi
THought it was an amazing introduction for renovatus to the community. The Lord showed up. gahhh i just saw anthi and I know that story but hearing it again makes me want to cry. Dude. I am so sure we could do home improvement projects to better apartments. I know both the maintenance guys so anything we want to run by them is cool. and i can ask kim the management lady - adam
I am still in awe of all the beautiful people, all of those serving and those receiving the love of our Lord. I just know this is where we should be. The list of things we can do there is long, but it will be meaningful. We won't just meet their basic needs, we will help them through life here. And show them how much they are loved by our Jesus. My heart is overwhelmed and I am excited to be there often and be changed into more of what I was created to be. I am blessed to be a part of this and I am blessed by each and everyone of YOU!!! --Lisa Boydstun