Spring Break in the City

So, our month of March has been super busy with over 50 college and high school kids coming through to spend themselves on the hungry (Isaiah 58:10) during their spring breaks. They worked in schools, in churches, and in rehab centers throughout Newark.  This was all in addition to running kids clubs at Safe Haven each week and providing the children with healthy meals.   God did a great work as so many of neighborhood kids experienced the love of Christ through their outpouring. Here is a video of one of the weeks (made by Katelyn James from CNU in VA) We always welcome help, so if this video tugs at your heart, please contact us! 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/v/CzL6xNF1_I4&hl=en

Best Buddies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the greatest joys of being a mommy to two, is watching them interact and become friends. When Daniel Josiah was just a small baby, we started praying that he would be a good big brother to whatever siblings God would give him.  It is exciting to see this prayer being answered. When Daniel Josiah is not trying to “play wrestle” with Trinity, he is so sweet with her.  If she is crying, he promptly comes running to tell me (as if I didn’t hear her myself 🙂 and I send him on a mission to go get her toys.  He’s so good about recruiting his favorites-his blocks, spiderman, or his toy microphone- to pacify her.  Trinity lights up when Daniel Josiah plays with her and he has managed, (through many different dramatic reenactments) to get hearty giggles and peals of laughter from her.  But the relationship is reciprocal as well…  Sometimes, Trinity is given the mission to wake Daniel Josiah from his nap (which includes Mommy placing Trinity on top of him and then hiding to see what his reaction is).  As she bats at his face, he groggily exclaims “Tchreee!” (the name Trinity has too many syllables…he just sticks with the first and the last).  Then he enjoys cuddling with her as he emerges from his deep world of slumber.   Trinity is just as pleased with this role in his daily routine.  Oh, the sweetness of sibling relationships.  We’re praying that God would continue to grow this relationship into a deep and lifelong friendship-for God’s glory and for the furthering of His Kingdom through the covenant family.

Vastly Outnumbered

So, Trinity and I are officially vastly outnumbered in our living conditions.  We now have 5 teenage guys in addition to Daddy and Daniel Josiah who live with us. And then there are those who THINK they live with us, And then there are the friends of those who live with us, plus the friends of those who think they live with us…boys on the couch, boys in the office, boys in the attic, boys in the basement…lots and lots of boys around our dinner table.   Fortunately, Trinity isn’t at the age yet to vie for the one bathroom or the food in our house.  And she’s happy with all the guys who think she’s adorable. Daddy says that they can only think she’s adorable until she’s three and then all boys have to bug off until she’s thirty.  We’ll definitely have to reexamine our home as a “boys refuge” when Trinity is older because Daddy’s gotta protect his little princess. In the mean time,  Mommy will keep opening the door  to these “lost boys of Newark” as she calls them… feeding their hearty appetites as we attempt to get to their heart appetites hidden behind the facades, the rough and tough attitudes, or their general apathy towards life and ambition. They need direction, they need a family, they need a daddy, they need THE Daddy. 

The great love dilemma

A few weeks ago I had to have a very difficult conversation, which made me realize that English might be spoken between people in my neighborhood and myself, but it can be far from the same language. After trying to “help” one of our neighbors through a hard time, and then not seeing her for several months I finally got a chance to bring up the fact that she had distanced herself.  It turns out that the vast majority of the things we did that we thought would bless and help actually offended and humiliated. Things that I innocently thought would bring aid, and would develop them into being more responsible were taken as “tokens”  towards a “charity case”. Many different emotions have flooded my heart and mind since this conversation.  First there was the shock that what i thought would help was totally twisted around to be something that hurt. Then anger and resentment over their ungratefulness filled my heart, and then there was frustration over the fact that suggestions I had that could really help these people get OUT of a place of constant need had been rejected. Then, in self reflection, I thought about the times I had been judgemental, times I had talked about this family’s situation or habits or history to show people “just how bad Newark is”, times I had shared how we had helped them, but with roots of pride behind it.  Then questions over how to truly LOVE people without simply catering to their every whim, each new “emergency”, or another cash shortage filled my mind. After crying out to the Lord to open my eyes, I came to Eph.5 where it talks about Christ LOVING the church IN ORDER to present them to himself blameless and pure, a spotless bride. Love in a world where people use and manipulate to get their way, cannot and IS not simply giving out handouts every time they are asked for.  Handouts are easy.  Just give it to them, and they’ll leave you alone…until the next emergency. Love, true, self-sacrificing love, is willing to to the extra mile to help equip people and teach people to stand FOR THEMSELVES.  I would not be helping Daniel Josiah if I just carried him around all the time and not let him try to walk, fall, possibly get hurt, but eventually manage to walk on his own.  Max Lucado in one of his books says “Jesus loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you there” So, a letter is being written, a letter to confess the evil failings of my heart, but also a letter to speak the truth in love, to challenge, even rebuke, in the hopes that this person’s heart will be softened, that pride would fall, and that the Gospel would reach into the depths of me, of her, and of our momentarily shaky friendship. The GOSPEL, for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…EVERYONE who believes…the self-righteous hypocrite, the begger and manipulator on the street, the lady who, after having been hurt so much as a kid, sees everyone who tries to help on terms other than her own,  as a fake and an enemy. We need help, Jesus, We need healing, We need YOU.