Our sweet kiddos hanging out near the Shot Tower in Baltimore after loving our homeless friends last night!
I spend a lot of time writing on my blog about my adventures, things that burden my heart, and about the kids, but I don’t always post my proud moments! Well last night is one of the for the books (er blog)! I was already on an excitement high from our service project earlier in the night, but when I pulled back up in front of my house after spending sometime with some of my volunteers, I looked to my left and there was one of my most favorite boys in the entire world! He left the neighborhood a few months ago, and doesn’t come around too much, so as I rolled down my window and heard, “Ah…. Ms. Colleen…” my heart became so full, and I spewed off a TON of questions, “Where are you living, what are you doing? Are you staying out of trouble, PLEASE tell me everything!” This is a boy who just a few months ago was begging me to help him get his birth certificate, social security card, help him study for some tests that would allow him to get out! Boy, am I EVER proud of him!
As we are talking he tells me that he’s been working, he has a one bedroom spot (apartment for those of you who don’t know the lingo) in Highlandtown, that this week he will be taking a test to work for the transportation department at the city, and he told me that he hasn’t been around because, “Ms. Colleen I want better, I want to get my life together, I don’t wanna be like them, I don’t wanna live for the next drink, I wanna live for something more.” As he said this I told him that I wanted to cry, his response, “Ah Ms. Colleen you can’t cry.” Later that night as I was saying goodbye to a volunteers and getting ready to shut my home down for the night he came running across the street, and the next phrase out of his mouth sent me to bed full of happiness and happy tears, “You know Ms. Colleen I am doing all this because of you. You helped me, you told me I could do it, and I can, I know I can, it’s not easy, but I can do it. I can be something more than a thug on the corner.” I hugged him tightly, told him goodnight and made him promise he would call me so I could keep track of him and that we would work on the loving Jesus part of getting his life together!
Those moments are moments I live for, not because I want someone to tell me how great of a job, I’ve done but because I want to see lives changed, I want to see people know that there is more for them, I want people to be inspired to make changes in their lives. Ministry is not about handouts, it’s not about giving people everything they need or ask for, it’s about empowering them, inspiring them to make changes in their lives to better their situations. It’s about helping them see the bigger picture, it’s about allowing God to make changes in their lives.
My proud story doesn’t end here though….
We hosted out FIRST EVER service project night last night, it closed out the month of April where we spent every week talking about what the bible says about serving, and how we are called to serve Christ. So last night we lived out what we learned by taking on three different service projects, the older kids 10 of them to be exact, headed out into the city to love our homeless friends, by delivering goodie bags that our missions team assembled in March. A few of my boys have been to serve the homeless with me before, and to watch them take the lead of their peers explaining, that we treat them with respect, if they are sleeping we don’t wake them but we leave them whatever gift we have next to their sleeping area, that we are quiet because we are visiting their home, and that they are human just as we are. I was so proud of them, I was even more proud when one of them suggested that we take the extra’s to the Helping Up Mission, where I have taken the boys before. I love that about four of my boys, have picked up the importance of loving people who are different than us, I love that they beg me to hang out at homeless park, I love that they are the first ones to run to help make lunches, play games and talk to homeless friends!
The middle aged kids in our group headed out into their neighborhood, and picked up trash, while they struggled for a bit, not quite wanting to pick up trash, I think after a long talk from one of our volunteers about what we had just spent the month talking about, and a reminder that sometimes (okay most of the time) we have to do things we’re not really fond of they did a great job! I heard that as the kids moved through the neighborhood and picked up trash, others joined them. I really am proud of my kids, not just for picking up trash but for coming to Kids Club every week, for wanting to know more about Jesus, for inviting their friends, for being curious about what there is for them.
Finally my babies, or my little ones as we like to call them, had their own special project back at the church, in the month of April we had two mission teams visit us, one from North Carolina and one from Wisconsin, so our little kids made them some beautiful thank you cards, that I hope to get into the mail next week. I love seeing their art work, I love that they love stickers, glitter, foam pieces and that their personalities come out in their art work.
I am also proud of my kids, because yesterday I had to be the mean Ms. Colleen, and while I know that sometimes they don’t understand why I do the things I do, or don’t let them do everything they want or ask because I love them, I know that at the end of the day they respect me. And as I sat this morning at my kitchen table with the kitchen window open, and not one but two kids came on their way to school and said they were sorry, one for her behavior towards other kids and volunteers, and the other for screaming at me in front of other kids when I asked them to do something and then 10 minutes later one of the boys texts to tell me he was sorry for not following my directions last night, I realized they do know that I love them, they do know that sometimes they are wrong and I am right, and that sometimes saying I am sorry even if you don’t agree is the best policy. I think that we can learn a thing or two from these kids, I don’t always agree with others, I don’t always want to say I am sorry and even more when God closes doors or put His own roadblocks up to stop me from doing something because He loves me, I get frustrated, I get an attitude and I don’t always get it, but it’s just that it’s because He loves me, just as I love my kids.
As my kids go off to school this morning I pray blessings over their sweet lives, I thank God for them, I thank God for the lessons that they teach me daily. I thank God that every day we are able to love and learn from each other.