Thursday, December 29, 2005

Thursday Fun Dinner

Tonight we had a great time hosting a dinner at the church. We invited all the neighbors over to a meal of Sloppy Joes, Chips, Green Beans, dessert and a salad bar. When I say salad bar I mean salad bar. Lots of items including cole slaw, cottage cheese, potato salad, macaroni salad and every imaginable salad topping. This was happened as a result of the generosity of Tom and Charlene Grant our friends from Lowell. They provided the food and did a great deal of the preparation along with Chris, Jonathan, Andrew, Pete and Norma Blue, Chris' mom Eve, Mary Ingle and me. Thanks everyone. We had a time of sharing of concerns with our neighbors. The question was, what do we need in our neighborhood to make it better? Often I am surprised at the responses because what I think is needed is not what others think is needed. My assessment at least this time was correct, responses were jobs, transportation(especially to grocery store) and better housing. I also spoke of "Artreach" a new fine arts program we are putting in place and our new worship service simply called, "Church @ 10:45". We then played grocery games where in a fun way we taught about grocery prices, portions and nutrition. The grand prize winner won a $100 gift card. We had 72 people attend, they went home full and with extra food and groceries going home with them. The place was so packed we had to squeeze in extra tables. It was a great night with a good response. Please keep up the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Church Has Left the Building---GONE SERVING

I hope all had a great Christmas, we sure did. We realize that we are very blessed. No one knows what the New Year will bring, but I do know that:
  • God is way bigger than me
  • God is full of surpirses
  • You can't outgive God
  • God does amazing things
Thats about all I know for sure. I will keep you updated on new events that are soon to take place. Have a great New Year.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Coloring outside the lines

Our family has been learning to color outside the lines, meaning, not just to think different, but to live differently. To take risks and see what happens. Andrew had an idea for our Christmas tree. After we went out in the seven degree weather and cut it down, he thought it would be a good idea to cut all the limbs off the back and hang it on the wall upside down and decorate it with fruit, and place a pineapple on the top. We have a wet towel under the pineapple to water it. We thought why not? I never imagined having limes, oranges, and lemons with gold lights on a live tree upside on our wall in our house this Christmas, but this has been a year of surprises.

PS: If you click on the picture you can see a larger clearer picture of the tree.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Can you buy a basketball drill at Lowes?

We had a great weekend. Friends came from Granger, they brought us some very nice clothing to give away. They also helped us deliver carpet to some neighbors, it was eye opening for their young sons, to see 5 people living in a tiny apartment. Saturday afternoon I got a call from the principal of Kokomo academy to sub in physical Education. She said just run a basketball drill, I wanted to ask here where I could by one, and if they had a plug to plug it in. I know nothing about basketball, words like key, pick, guards, forwards, are terms I have heard but really don't know what they mean. I was a bit nervous. Luckily, I had some friends help me figure it out and I survived the day. It was actually easier than the other class I taught. Only one fight with two kids being kicked out. That was a good day.
Last night we had 60 children at out outreach ministry. The most ever. They had been cooped up in their house for three days due to snow and school closing. It was fun but challenging. Keep us in your prayers as we are going to need more volunteers. Over 80 hotdogs, 80 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, potato chips and several pounds of Mac and Cheese, along with several gallons of milk. Keep us in your prayers as the number continues to grow. Jeff

Monday, December 05, 2005

Life unscripted

Late Saturday Night/early Sunday Morning, about 12:15 AM Chris was up watching TV and I was in bed, Chris heard a gunshot. She didn't see anything, but at 1:00 AM she got me up as the police had put up crime scene tape right across the street from our house. We didn't see much action outside, however, we were sure it had to do with the neighbors we have become close with, they were mentioned at this post, click here. We went to bed and at about 4:30 AM our doorbell rang and it was the guy who lives with the single mother with three small children, across the street. He explained he was jumped and as he was fleeing shot at. The bullet hit a tree. we talked for a long time. He, then, wanted me to talk with the mother to help calm her down. She was very uspset and frightened. It seems that I am becoming more and more trusted in the neighborhood. I did go over and talk with her, it was a long night. The next morning, after church, we took the three children 5, 7, and 9 out to lunch to Mc Donalds and to a movie. I was trying to discern how much they knew. They knew everything as a neighbor they were staying with told them the whole story. They were frightened as they told us about it. The children had on coats that didn't zip, too big, dirty and ripped. Chris and I decided to get them new ones as there were great sales on. While we ourselves are not in the best of financial situation, however, we sensed the Holy Spirit telling us to step out in faith to purchase the coats. They were $25.00 each. Later that night a friend handed us a check for $365.00 saying she was lead to write the check that morning. God is so faithful to us. We are so blessed.

Our community outreach on Sunday Night brought in 45 kids, 20 volunteers, Chris' sister who own a pizza parlor in Burlington brought in 15 large pizza's and 75 breadsticks, we also cored and sliced about 30 apples and put jars of peanut butter on the table. In addition we heated left over mac and cheese about 5 pounds. Believe it or not-- all be three pizzas were eaten and everything else was gone. I can't believe how thin the children are and how much they are able to eat. We also treated them to cans of pop which is something they rarely see. Please keep the prayers coming......

Please pray for the following:

On Tuesday we are having our Mother's time out, we are providing child care and a taxi service to give moms a break

I am working with a group that is offering to wrap presents for free for men at a local youth outreach. We will be providing snacks, pop, and coffee, along with pool tables, ping pong tables and a big screen TV to give them things to do while gifts are being wrapped. Pray that those of us mingling with the guys will be able to listen with Jesus ears and be aware of openings that might occur.

On Sunday December 18 during worship we are having a Blue Christmas service it is a service of hope and healing for those whose Christmas isn't so joyous. We will offer a healing service as part of the service. Hoping to give strength to those attending.

Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Week in review

On Sunday we had about 35 attend the Sunday Night Outreach. There were West African Missionaries who were visiting the US. They were actually on like a mission trip as missionaries to the US. They were native West Africans. They brought steel drums and provided the whole evening's program.

Later in the week I worked at the Kokomo Academy on Wednesday and Thursday, I was interviewed for the substitute teaching job on Tuesday. I subbed in science on Wednesday and Math on Thursday. I will be hard for me to complain about youth group behavior again. I had about 75 boys, throughout the day, between the ages of 12-17. All but one were felons. Everyone of the used the F word multiple times. They jumped on chairs, banged on walls, slept through class, disrupted, rapped out loud and a whole host of other things. There was a guard to maintain some composure. Several were put in the hallway or into a quiet room. The class rooms had cameras. About half acted out while the other half did their work. All must reach a certain level to go home. Zeros in school makes them stay longer. If they put their head down and aren't disruptive that is fine, it is their choice how long they stay locked up. I heard a hand full of stories of mothers, murdering fathers, running from foster homes, drug selling and use, physical and sexual abuse as well as being abusers. The youngest class was the worst behaved, with those working toward GED being the best. It seems to me that someone had to work real hard to make these young men as hard and perverse as they are. Would I do it again? Yes I would, now knowing what to expect, I would go back in a heartbeat. It made me realize that what we are doing with Kokomo Urban Outreach is even more important, we must keep children here out of there.

Dave and I also recorded another podcast on Control, this was before I subbed. I may have had different comments if I we produced the podcast afterwards. You can find the podcast here.

On Friday Night Chris and I attended our District Pastor's Christmas Party in the past 21 years we have only missed one. The one this year was very good. It is good just to be around friends and peers. What made this one so special was that no one we sat with talked about church. We were just friends gathered around the table to catch up with each other. Maybe after 20 years of attending I have moved onto the old pastors table where everyone knows that we are all full of bologna. We had nothing to prove, we simply enjoyed the food and the evening.

This Tuesday coming ahead we are having a mothers morning out. From 10-1 we are providing child care for the neighborhood parents and offering them church bus rides to go shopping, we will be running a sort of a taxi service for those three hours. The Freshman class from a Christian School in Marion IN will be providing the childcare and lunch for the children. I have borrowed a church van and will play taxi driver. This will be our first venture into this new area. We are hoping to take moms to buy groceries but we are giving them the option of what they do with their free time. We are trying to offer our services as unconditional as possible. Keep Tuesday in Prayer. Thanks for you prayers. Jeff