Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Everything New.

Everyone is feeling much more comfortable on the missions trip.
We are feeling much more comfortable at our work sites, where we continue to make more friends with the kids at the VBS and Boys and Girls Camps.
We are also feeling much more comfortable within our youth group. The past couple youth group devotions have been amazing. I am so overjoyed at the willingness to share within our group. It's a pleasure to see the natural leaders within our group stand up and open themselves up. The students that are looked up to are now willing to show their feelings and share with the group, which makes others more comfortable to share, too. We have really seen God working in the youth this week.
Our theme verse for the week is Revelation 21:5 "Look, I am making everything new." Tonight we really focused on being made new. We took time to really think about the amazing sacrifice that Jesus made for us. We are all so grateful that Jesus literally took our sins on himself. "By his wounds, we are healed." we talked about how Jesus didn't just take away our sins and sorrows, he took them onto himself. He hurt, because of us. After the session we took a long time of prayer together. During prayer many kids professed out loud their thankfulness for what Jesus has done in their lives. Jesus is making things new within each one of us. Whether that be a new commitment to him, a new perspective on what it means to be Christian, or a renewed passion for living for Him. Jesus makes everything new!

Last night we had the opportunity to go out as a youth group and have fun at Greatimes Family Fun Park. We went Putt-Putt golfing, GoKarting and played arcade games. It was a great break from the work we have been doing all week.
A few more photos:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lilly Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis

I am so impressed with the staff of Lilly Boys and Girls Club. Lilly serves children ages 5-18, all year round. Durning the school year kids come after school until 8pm, and are given a snack and dinner. During the summer their camp program runs from 9am to 6pm, and they serve lunch and snack.
It costs $25 per kid, for the whole summer! (compared to $100 a week at the local YMCA, only four blocks away) Most of Lilly's funding comes from government grants and such. Lilly Boys and Girls Club is in the Fountain Square neighborhood of Indianapolis. In fountain square the average value of a home is $15,000. Two blocks east, the homes jump to an average of $115,000. In the summer the camp averages around 135 kids a day. 72% of which come from single parent homes, and 60% are living at or below the poverty level.
Each day from 9am to 4pm the staff runs a program for the kids. After that it's usually free time until the kids get picked up. The day starts with a Rally in the gym where we say the club pledge and the Pledge of Allegiance. After that the kids are split up by ages and sent to different rooms. They spend 25 minutes in each room and rotate from one to another, with a break in there for lunch The rooms are: craft room, gym, multi-purpose room, computer room, game room, park (outside), and the learning center.
Our two crews co
E from 9-3 every day. We get to roam around and assist leaders and kids with daily activities. It has been a pleasure being able to work alongside such a great, caring, and giving staff. It's so fun to be able to build relationships with the kids there. The first day I spend the day with the five and six year olds. I felt like I was back at school with my kindergarteners. Today I spent most of my day with the 7 and 8 year olds. We had a lot of fun talking about our families and home life.
In the morning I showed up to camp wearing pink and with my hair down. I sat on the sideline and watched the 13-18 year olds play some 5 on 5 basketball. Once their game was done I asked if I could join. They all laughed at me and then said a reserved, "sure." I quickly tied my hair up and joined the game. After a few minutes I was hearing things like, "Boy!! She schooled you!" and "You can't even stop a girl!!" needless to say the teenage guys ally say hi to me now, and will have real conversations with me. I look forward to the next couple days. Hopefully I can have a few more meaningful conversations.
Here are a few more photos: one of my crew, one of both our crews and some of the kids, and some of the learning center

Monday, June 18, 2012

Organized Chaos

We are working through an organization called Group Mission Trips on their "Week of Hope" program. There are three other youth groups here this week. One from traverse City, one from the Chicago area and another from IN.
All of us have been split up into 15 different "crews". Each crew has a few members from each youth group in it. Its fun because we meet new people while we do our work. Each crew gets a different work assignment, but a few crews go to the same locations. This week there are 5 different locations that crews will be working at:
1.Global Peace Initiative at Peaceful Grounds. This group is working to plant gardens where food will be grown and given back to the community in Indianapolis.
2. Lilly Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis, summer programming.
3. LeGore Boys and Girls Club I Indianapolis, summer programming.
4. Common Ground Church, working at a VBS called Kids Games of Indianapolis.
5. First Free Methodist Church, Kids Games of Indianapolis VBS.

I am part of crew number 9!! And both crew 8 and 9 are working at the Lilly Boys and Girls Club. It is so fun.

Today I got to meet a girl named Mackenzie. She is awesome. I love her smile. Mackenzie is 7 years old and attends PS 93. She is going into the second grade next year. She has an older brother who is nine, and lives with her mother and stepdad.
I got to talk to her about Jesus. She met Jesus at Bible School last summer. We talked about how much Jesus loves her and wants to be her friend.

Here's more photos: of Mackenzie and I, Lilly Boys and Girls Club, and the morning Rally at the Club, showing how many members there are!! Also a photo of Brian Ellis and his buddy Xavier, and Ariel and her friend Michelle.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

We've Arrived!!

Well the week of the mission trip is here! We met at church this morning at 8:00am and were on the road at 8:30. We had an enjoyable ride down, including singing, acting and some "Truth or Dare." We arrived at Christ Lutheran Church of Irvington in Indianapolis, IN.
Dinner in a little bit, then our opening session. We are all excited to meet our crews and receive our work assignments for the week!
Here are a few photos of the ride down, checking out the shower situation for the week, and a group shot!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

God's Timing...

Wednesday was the last day of school. I am met with so many emotions.

I am so thankful for such a wonderful job that God has blessed me with all year. I have truly loved getting to know the staff at my school and building relationships with the teachers. I have felt so welcomed and cared for. I feel remorse that the year is over, that I will not continue to see these wonderful people each week.
There is also a sense of accomplishment, too. I look at the kindergarteners that were in our room all year long, and I am SO PROUD of all the work they have done, and just how far they have come. It is amazing to think that they are leaving our room knowing all their letters and numbers, and actually READING!! It just astounds me to remember where they were at at the beginning of the year. I feel so honored to have shared such a pivotal year of their lives with them!
There is of corse the usual excitement for summer break as well. Only a few weeks and my husband and I will be going on a missions trip, in June we celebrate our first anniversary, and in August we look forward to a family vacation to North Carolina.
But above, over, throughout all this, is a warm haze. An unclear feeling, of blurred vision. I long so deeply to have my own classroom. I have been searching for and applying to so many different teaching positions. But there is a doubtless silence in return. I know God created me to be a teacher... some day. I just don't know when that day will come. And that is so hard for me to say. It is a daily struggle of inadequacy and failure. But most of all a feeling of insecurity. I know I have to trust in Gods timing and provision, but it's hard to convince myself to actually do that. I do not know what tomorrow holds, I don't know what next year will look like- I just pray I will be willing to accept, and enjoy, what God has in store for me.