Saturday, November 22, 2008

Christmas Cultural Lesson #1

So everything they say about fall in Michigan is true - it's beautiful. But kinda leafy. Especially after living in south eastern Idaho where a tree doesn't grow unless you water it.

These pictures are from camp's November event: Rake n Rock. The local Christian radio station hosts it and local youth groups come help us rake leaves. This is me pretending I raked this giant pile of leaves myself. It was raining (well, okay - had rained all night and was misting) and cold and I was helping to host the high school leaders in training with camp and it was hard work! Turns out wet leaves are heavy when you have to drag acres of them into the woods.
This is me laying in the leaves . . . really only because I was already filthy and I like pictures. Thank God for oxy clean and my friend Em who washed my stuff!

Before and after pictures of Jabri. Her mom combed her hair out and we were going to take pictures and Jabri was like, wait - this needs a guitar. Funny. I did these braids! :-) I'm clearly still tickled that I'm learning how to braid. Yesterday I did braids and beads in 1 hour and 5 minutes! Wahoo!
I found gas in Michigan for $1.83! You know me - had to take it's picture . . .

Me and Shawneesha. She loves me, just not pictures.

These pictures are from our Partners in Discipleship (PID) Christmas party. We had 34 people there!! It was a lot of (loud) fun! Yes, I too make fun of people who do Christmas things before Thanksgiving, but that seems to be what worked out, so . . . It was a chance for the mentors and kids to come to a party together and meet others involved in PID.

So, apparently white elephant is not a multi-cultural game - who knew? Maybe I should have guessed since it's called WHITE elephant, but . . . We had to do some creative explaining to get people to play. It appears that people in the city do not think that having their present stolen is fun. However, once we got going the kids got their hussle on. The kids (and some adults) who didn't like their gift would try anything to get the next person to steal it. The bottom picture is of some kids trying to convince Miss Frances that she should choose their gift - it was loud, crazy, and fun. Picture an auction with about 10 auctioneers. :-) Or if you are from the city you can picture the guys that walk in traffic to sell stuff, about 10 of them.

(We are taking suggestions for next year's gift exchange. :-)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

We are going to have a Black president!

(if you don't like that this plays music you can mute your speakers or scroll to the bottom and push pause / choose another song)

Wow! America has elected a Black president! What an incredible moment in history! Whether you agree with Obama's politics or not, this moment is a triumph for social justice! It doesn't heal every wound or negate current and real racial injustices, but it is a large step forward for racial equality. Imagine the story of that 106-year-old woman who attended a segregated school and now voted for a Black president! Wow!

I didn't go to Grant Park. We talked about it but frankly I don't trust large crowds and we wouldn't have been in the area where Obama was at all - just in another whole section to the park watching ABC NEWS. So we watched the news on the couch. But look, I took a picture of Obama elected president! Wow.

As I was sitting on my couch watching the election I heard gun shots outside - twice in an hour! It's still a little surreal to me sometimes that I live and work in the inner-city. But something about watching the election with gunshots as the background noise was REAL surreal!

This reporter was interviewing people in the hood and there was this guy with Obama hats, t-shirts, pictures, socks (!), water bottles, etc. and she said "there's a very entrepreneurial spirit here tonight". Yeah - that's there every day! That guy walks in between traffic selling popcorn and water and umbrellas and roses and whatever else fits his fancy . . . it's always an "entrepreneurial spirit" down here. :-)

Then she asked a guy how his life would be different now that Obama is president. He looked at the reporter and said "Obama is a president for everyone. Black people, Europeans, old people, whatever you is. . ." Now, admittedly it would have been tough to identify her ethnicity with confidence, but really? "whatever you is"?!?!?!?! FUNNY! That's why you don't be handing your mic to just anyone. HA! I was crackin up!

Look, my bangs are swooping like I want them to. (mostly) And my eyes are greenish, also like I want them to. Did I tell you that when I got my Illinois license the man asked what color my eyes were and so I asked him if they could be green. He was like "usually people don't ask me what color their eyes are, but sure - if you want them to be green they can be green". So, if you ever have to give my description to the police because I get snatched or something, remember: I think my eyes are green!

More pictures of Jireh. Actually, people say they want some pictures on my blog that include me since they don't know any of the "my" kids. So this is a picture that I was in. :-)

I got to braid Jireh's hair last weekend, but first I made 2 puffs just for the purpose of taking pictures. 2 puffs is my FAVORITE, even though they are super impractical. I hope someday I have a little girl who has 2 puffs. :-)

This is Kent and he has clearly been practicing pool more than I have. The rest of these pictures are from the Agape Community Center in the south side neighborhood of Roseland. The Agape Center is a ministry of Here's Life Inner City, which is a division of Campus Crusade for Christ. Visit to learn more. They have many outreach programs for all ages and groups, but the one that I get to participate with is called Say Y.E.S.!, an after school program for 1st - 8th graders that offers hope through Bible teaching, alternative and positive activity options, tutoring, a safe location, and relationships with adult Christians. The Agape Center sends many children to camp each summer, and as my schedule allows I get to volunteer!

This is Shaquan. Many of the children at the Agape center need specific help with homework - and some positive one-on-one interaction. Here's another way that God is using my time in Idaho - it's not like you can't tutor kids unless you have a teaching degree, but there are things about it that clearly help. I get to teach Bible lessons during camp sessions as well - teaching the Word is definitely one of my favorite things to do! The goal of this game was to get the correct answer to multiplication questions and then "earn" the most money. I lost.

Diamond came to camp this summer. She's supposed to be working but mostly she's hoping I will take her picture. :-)

This is MarKayle and Keuan. Keuan is 7 and he accepted Christ yesterday as his Savior! He told me that he decided to go to heaven and when I asked him why he would get to go there he said "because Jesus died and I believe it!" Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine . . . to Him be the glory!