Friday, August 25, 2006

Slooooooooow Friday

The children were yelling, "Hey pastor Jeff, watch me!!", as they flipped backwards out of the swing at the playground in the Apartment Complex.

Two more children came running up asking excitedly, "Is it church day yet"?

"Sorry not today", was my response.

Talking with various people on their porches I learned that things are kind of tense, as money is scarce, food supplies are running low, and drinking is on the rise. Alcohol and drug abuse always increases when things get tough. There was plenty of yelling and frustration. Yet at the same time, it seemed quieter than normal. Not as many children out.

Today I did not have a lot do. I met with an accountability partner at 11:00, went to my every Friday prayer for those who suffer service at the Episcopalian church. After that nothing. Sure there are many things I could do. After all as a former restaurant manager, I could hear myself saying, "If you have time to lean you have time to clean", but nothing demanding my time. It made the afternoon go verrrrrry sloooooooooooooooow. I can't imagine not really have anything to do the majority of time. Yet many of the residents ask me if I have anything for them to do, as they too have little to do. They are fast becoming a committed volunteer pool for the outreach. Since most have little to do during the day, I can recruit them for last minute stuff, which is a blessing. I got a taste of the life that many of my neighbors live everyday. Little money to do something fun, no where in particular to go, feeling bored. If they do have a job, there is worry about how they will get there tomorrow and then doing the same thing over and over for $5.25 an hour, as the meter ticks on childcare and as their rent raises. Thinking about all of that made me go for a walk and on the walk I encountered people-- which in turn gave me new energy. I had an Ephinany a as I was walking through the neighborhood, I realized that on Sunday I get a paycheck and will have some cash, tomorrow I will be busier than I want to be, and I will engage in some sort of entertainment even later tonight, even if it is just watching TV or surfing the Internet. My neighbors will experience more of the same---tomorrow and the next day after that. I did not realize how hard is to break free from the grip of poverty. Poverty is not just about not having money, it is about not have any resources (education, family, church, jobs, cars, or hope). I know that most of the 300 families that KUO works with, struggle everyday and feel forsaken by God. I am beginning to wonder if they are God forsaken or church forsaken? Please continue to pray that as we work in the mission field we will be able to create a culture of hope. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Went to Indy

Yesterday, we went to Indy, as we moved Patric and Laura to their new apartment on the campus of Christian Theological Seminary which is located on the Butler Campus. We also visited Jonathan who moved to Indy while we were in New York. He lives on the third floor of an old building on 16th and Delaware in downtown Indy. He starts at IUPUI tomorrow. I worked on administrative stuff which is not my favorite thing to do, but I got stuff off my desk, that had been there for a long time. God is really moving....we are having more and more people in church on Sunday Morning, we are having new volunteers almost every Sunday Night, hotdogs are pouring in as well as chips, cookies and drinks. We are preparing to bring the children back in in about three weeks and expanding to new areas. Thank you for the prayers. Jeff

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Back Pack Update

Last Tuesday we distributed 150 filled backpacks!!!! One volunteer looked out the window and saw a mass of kids with parents returning home with colorful backpacks on their backs. We did have a snag in the plan, we had to turn 33 kids away. We took their names and addresses and told them we would have their backpacks to them soon. I quickly put out an email and by Sunday we had all the orders filled with about 10 left over. God is working through his people!!!!
Last Wednesday we left for a mini vacation, we attended a wedding of a friend in a town near New York City. Chris and I took a train into New York on Friday, we went early and saw the Good Morning America Friday concert, featuring Carri Underwood. We also saw Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and whoever the weatherman is. We experienced Times Square, the Empire State Building, Macy's Department Store and Madison Square Gardens. The wedding was very nice with lots of food. Returning home we are catching up on sleep, chores and phone calls. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bookbag blessings!!!!

This morning was awesome!!!! All the bookbags, that were generously given by so many, were piled in front of the altar in our sanctuary. Enough was kept out so each attender received a bookbag. During the service there was time when we prayed for the children that would receive the bags. The neat part was that we had one child in church today that will be receiving a bag(she was the only child in church). I called her up for children's time, and asked her if she would help me pray. She agreed. I asked her to put her hand on the pile. She knelt down beside the pile and put her hand on the bookbags. The rest of the congregation got out their bag and we prayed for the children that were going to receive the bag, asking that each child, would grow up to be Godly women and men. Seeing the little first grader, in her pink dress, kneeling beside the bags was a sight that few will forget. We will be passing out the bags this Tuesday at 6:00. Thanks for the prayers. Jeff

Friday, August 04, 2006

Full week

It has been a good week, very full but good. Sack lunches were served Mon-Fri volunteers arrived at about 11:00 AM and left at about 12:40 PM. About 70 childrenwere served per day. I had an opportunity to speak to a Kiwanis group on Tuesday Morning. In the midst of this there were groups that were sorting through hundreds and hundreds of items of clothing, some working in the morning others at night. At the same time another, group was sorting and stocking items for personal hygiene packs that will be passed out next Tuesday. I got to go shopping for backpacks and talked with a woman as we waited in line at a store, she told me about a miracle healing in her daughter, as she told her story she began to weep, I never met her before, but right in the middle of family dollar she shared her "Jesus" Story with me. Mary Ingle and I were interviewed for an article that is to appear in the weekly paper about Sidewalk Sunday School. The community garden gave us produce everyday this week and it was distributed through a produce stand sat up in our driveway. We estimate that nearly 1200 pounds of produce was distributed this week. On Tuesday Night the apartment complex had "August Night Out" there was a dunk tank, a moon jump and pedal cars on a track. The police provided the fun and Target provided the food. In the midst of this event, I was presented with a Thank You card signed by most of the residents and a plaque that expressed their appreciation. I shared with them that without the scores and scores of volunteers the things that we do would not be done. I wanted them to know that what happens around here is by far, not a one man show. I only share about the plaque to let everyone know that all the things you do are appreciated.

Today nearly 200 garbage bags full of clothing left the church in the arms of happy parents and kids. They were hauled home in red wagons or strollers. Clothes will go out again tomorrow. Today we received food left from a funeral dinner, more clothing, hundreds of packs of colored pencils and markers, along with 6 cases of hotdogs with 120 in each case, more bread and cans and cans of food and about 20 more backpacks, did I fail to mention more clothes?

I sense that God is up to something, just not sure what it is. Need to get outside and get the grass mowed. Thank you so much for all the prayers. Jeff

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Kick Start Back Packs

Wow!!! We are so close in completing our KICK Start Backpack Project. KICK stands for Kids Individual Care Kit to give them a kick start to good hygiene as school begins. A KICK Start Backpack is a backpack filled with shampoo, soap, toilet tissue, toothpaste and brush, and a comb, pick or brush with deodorant for teens. With the help of the local Kiwanis and churches we have almost everything we need for 150 backpacks. We still need about 70 backpacks which we know will receive. Thanks to all who made this worthwhile project a success.