Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So much to say . . . so few to listen :-)

Okay, so I am a little homesick. Correction: I am people sick. I can't really say I miss Idaho, but I COMPLETELY miss my Idaho people! Thanks to the people who have called, emailed, and written. (hint: And since I haven't blogged in a minute - and I can't just let pictures go to waste - I already feel like this is going to be long. If you just can't muscle your way through it I will understand. :-)

So I continue to be entertained by the city. It's better than being overwhelmed by everything that's new or frustrated by everything that's inconvenient. This isn't a church sign, but it's still funny to me. Do you think the Lord has an opinion on caskets? I definitely pulled over and got out to take this picture and a bunch of people waiting for the bus all moved across the street - I wasn't getting them in the picture but they couldn't have known that.

These are my friends from Bible school. Anastasia (left) lives in Michigan like 2 hours from the camp and Tricia (right) lives in Portland. Tricia is how I got involved with Beechpoint in the first place. She had worked at camp and told me I would love it and look, I love it! Tricia was here for a visit so we all met half way and spent the day together. This is us at Applebee's where we at, played Memory (a nice non-aggressive game, Court!) , and played Settlers. We were there for about 4 hours. Anastasia won.
Tricia and I also went to IKEA. This was my first IKEA visit and I must say it was a little overwhelming. It had 3 stories and it's all home decor/shelving solutions (my favorite)/utensils/etc. It would have been more fun if I needed a shelf. :-) IKEA is in the north suburbs and we got so unbelievably, embarrassingly lost trying to get back. We had to stop to ask for directions 3 times and the third time we asked a taxi driver who said "You trying to be in Chicago?? You sure is lost!" By that point we were in a west side suburb and had been driving for about an 2 hours. We even stopped at a gas station and tried looking at a map but we couldn't find ourselves on the "Chicago and vicinity" map. It was almost enough to make me break down and buy a GPS!

I finally made it to White Castle!!! Wahoo! About half my friends say I have to go to White Castle in order to call myself a Chicagoan. Actually, I'm not sure if that's what a Chicagoite calls themselves or not. Chicagonese? I'll stop. The other half of my friends warned me against going to White Castle... I will say that I had some trepidation about eating a burger called the "original slider" that costs 59 cents. It just sounds sketchy. But I finally went, and to tell the truth my original slider had too many onions for me to want to eat it. But the root beer was great! :-) I may yet learn to love me some White Castle since they are all over. Next they tell me I need to eat some Harold's Chicken. . .

One of the things I am doing for my job is visiting Good News Clubs to help out and talk about camp. This Good News Club meets in a school on the west side. It was my first time being at a Good News Club since I was a kid. It was tons of fun (although a little hectic) and it's nice to be in various neighborhoods recruiting kids for camp. What we hope will happen is that kids will know who I am and be able to come to camp just because they know someone who will be there. We are also trying to get the leaders excited about camp so they will sign up their kids to come - it's hard to get the paperwork filled out and the kids to the bus stop and we need community partnerships for that to happen. I also been able to volunteer at Sunshine Gospel Ministries and the Agape Community Center. I definitely want to continue to look for these opportunities because it lets me spend times with kids. I have also been busy setting up meetings to talk with ministries and churches about sending their children to camp.

God is so good to give me more babies here! Her parents are joining the full-time Beechpoint staff right now too. Aaron is going to be the Program Coordinator. Marissa is also joining the full-time staff as the Food Service Coordinator. Pray for them as they are in the midst of support raising. It's been so nice to go through this transition alongside some other people who are giving their lives to missionary work. It's also nice to be joining the staff at the same time as 2 other young people. Camp is growing and changing in so many ways and it's exciting to be aligned with it. Aaron is a visionary and definitely has faith to see how things could be - I love just sitting around and dreaming with him about camp in 20 years!

This is Partners in Discipleship (PID) Central in Allegan. They get together once a week and take turns doing the lessons individually with the leaders. I got to help out while I in Michigan. I go to camp once a month for staff meetings and events. There are 50 kids in the discipleship program and 30 mentors. Some of the kids have been in the program for 5 years! Pray for mentors in Chicago and Michigan so that waiting children can begin the program with partners.

This is Jabari and Jabri's extended family. They invited me to go on a wonderful outing to a place in Indiana where they had statues of Jesus from the Last Supper to the Ascension. It was beautiful and moving and powerful. It was also nice to see the family and meet a couple of new family members. The kids were really impacted by seeing the statues as well. We spent about 2 hours walking through the exhibit and then went to the Golden Corral. Look how good God is! I used to go to the Golden Corral with my Boise family and now, not only did I get to spend the day with a great family, but we went to the Golden Corral of all places. God loves me!

This is Jireh. She is Jabari and Jabri's little sister and she wants her picture to be taken too! She is about to be three and just the sweetest little girl! Her mama would want to watch me to be sure I don't just up and leave with Jireh. :-)

This is me, Tavaris, Tamyra, and Tavontay at the zoo. These kids are in PID but they don't have a mentor - they have to do the lessons by themselves and then mail them into camp. So I picked them to spend the day at the zoo. Chicago has a free zoo - how cool is that? They were so good and they played in the leaves for an hour. It's fun to watch them just be kids. I love when I get to be with kids and families. Building relationships takes time but it's definitely fun time! Thanks for reading!