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Archive for January, 2006

Urban Youth Workers Institute has a great resource of mp3s of many of the workshops from their annual conference. My favorites are:

A Place of Community by Efrem Smith

and

What Every Woman In Youth Ministry Needs to Know by Kara Powell

There are many, many more really helpful workshops, so check it out!

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In my last post I shared about A., one of the teens I’ve been mentoring. By the next weekend her mother had arranged for her to be sent to juvenile hall. I was shocked and saddened. It all seems like such an extreme arrangement and it felt so unjust because I really feel that A. is a good kid. Juvenile hall has the great potential to make things worse, when she emerges to be more hardened and jaded. I have no idea what will happen. All I can do is pray.

When I got off the phone with A.’s mom, I spent the rest of the afternoon crying while we were working on bagging/organizing Easter candy at the office.

The next day, Sunday, I took two of my workers-in-training (teens who help with with Sunday School/visitation) to see the film End of the Spear in Times Square. There were a lot of subtitles and I think they were pretty bored with the film, but they said they had a good time. I wanted them to see the film because of the story of forgiveness, etc, but without knowing the background of the story, like I do, I don’t think it was as powerful of a film.

It was really, really fun to spend time with these teens. George*, in particular, is amazingly smart and clever and really seems to have a heart to know God. I’m shocked! 🙂 On Wednesday night I gave him a Bible and he told me he was going to start reading it and doing devotions. This kid has so much leadership potential.

We are so busy here that I feel like I need to be really intentional about who I invest my time in. A. is gone, but it is like God is giving me George to mentor/disciple, so I feel very blessed and amazed.

*I feel like I should protect the real names of the kids I work with for various and obvious reasons.

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Yesterday, after church, I went on visitation. I usually go on Wednesday afternoons, but this Wednesday I am subbing for our receptionist and will be tied to the office.

It snowed on Sunday morning, so the ground was covered with snow and ice, and it was very, very cold. I had several packages to deliever to some of my kids that have sponsors and it was fun to see the delight on their faces after I knocked on their door and said, “I have a gift for you!” One little boy, Junito, received nine Matchbox cars, and he was so excited since Matchbox cars are his favorite things in the whole world. He’s five.

To get into one building I buzzed the apartment of a family that I know. I didn’t really need to see them, but I needed to get into the building to see another family whose buzzer doesn’t work, so I rang them. After I saw the family I needed to see, I went to the 6th floor to see them family that let me in the building, so they would know that it was really me and not someone pretending to be me to get into the building.

This family is one of my favorites, even though I tell the kids I don’t have favorites. It’s actually, the home of Jospeh, the boy I mentioned in my last post, and he has a brother, and many sisters. His sister A. is one of the teens that I’ve been mentoring and when she came to the door something was obviously bothering her, even though she tried not to show it.

For the next hour her mother poured out her heart about problems in their family. Being the cry baby I am, I cried, and then she cried, and then A. cried. And then for the next hour A. told me about all the pressures and stress and extremely difficult situations she has to live with every day. She told me about how she has to take care of her brothers and sisters, how she sometimes doesn’t have food to eat because she has to make sure they eat, abuse she endures, all of the housework and responsibilities she has, pressure from her mom, and she’s only thirteen.

I stood there listening, but all I could think was that A. is a really amazing person. She’s so strong to put up with all that she does and yet she still has hope that God has a future for her and that she’s not going to be like her family or the people in her neighorhood. She really is trying to live right and do well in school.

I listened and prayed with her and we went to McDonald’s and hung out. And then I took the train home to Brooklyn.

A. has such a difficult life. Yes, I could listen to her, cry with her and pray with her, but then I got to go home to my comfortable, peaceful life. She had to go back inside her apartment where she has to live daily with heartache and people that abuse her.

I can’t do anything, but pray for her.

I’m not this great counselor and I don’t have words or wisdom. Sometimes I feel like I am obsessed with my kids because I think about them all the time and I constantly calling their names out to God. All I can do is pray. Pray, pray, pray.

Every day that I live here I realize more and more how much we need God’s help, God’s divine intervention because we cannot live this life on our own.

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I’m going to try really hard to update this more often. I’m not sure who visits, but even if no one visits this page, I can use this as an online journal for myself!

Today was a visitation day, as usual for our “winter schedule” time. The little brother of one of my workers came to church tonight. He was really talkative and entertaining. I like his spirit and think he has potential to be a future leader, teacher or pastor…but I think that about every kid I meet. 🙂

Joseph wrote his name on the window of our bus, “THE Jospeh Sample” and he also took this photo of me tonight.

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