Saturday, August 28, 2010

New things for homeless lunch

So here's a struggle I'm going through right now - there were many many amazing things that happened over the course of the last months... there are also amazing things happening right now. So while I'd like to back track and give more details, I also don't want to skip what is current - so expect a mix.

I have been reading a book called "Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor." The incredible Jim Clark recommended this book to me, and if you have any interest in helping with development of the repressed I strongly recommend it to you.

This book claims that the mark of a good leader is that "when it's all over, the ones being led will say, 'we did it ourselves.'" Interesting... kind of like when Jesus sends out 70 followers to share his message saying, "the harvest is plenty but the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that He will send workers into the harvest. Now go..." He wanted them to feel responsibility for all of the progress being made. Not just the harvesting, but even the harvesting of the harvesters.

So we have this lunch for the homeless. We've been receiving them in our home for a year now. They get a change of clothes, a shower, a good lunch and we spend time with them. It's a good ministry, but we are getting a vision for how much more it could be.

I always address the group as we gather to pray before the meal. Yesterday I told the guys that we don't want to do this lunch for them anymore, we want to do it with them. And so the lunch hour took on a whole new identity. We started a garden which will supply salads for our lunches, they trimmed our trees (this was their suggestion after catching the spirit of partnership) and helped with some of the clean up.

The amazing bit was how quickly they jumped on the whole partnership idea. It showed that we were maintaining the distance between "us" and "them" by securing our role as the "helpers" and their role as the "needy." We are going to continue to develop this, please pray that God will grant us wisdom and courage as we do. It is our hope and prayer that in the renewal of these roles they will witness the redemptive nature of Christ.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

God's been active in Itu this summer, we've been trying to keep up, and this blog has been left behind in the dust! So here is a start on the great things he is doing. We'll do this in doses.
For years we have done bilingual camps during the summer, this year we kicked off "Camp Roots", a four year sequence of camps with progressive themes.
Camp was amazing, in group and one on one, kids were drawn to worship by an awe of who God is. I saw this in my small group with Caio, a boy who didn't want to come to camp but was forced to by an exasperated grandmother. Caio began by sitting on the edges in typical teenage apathy. One day I had asked him to join into the activities of the program, but then during a time of worship I felt the spirits tug to welcome him in again. I went to where he was and said, "Caio, it's good that you're here. God is doing wonderful things and you're going to see Jesus in a new way this week, and more than program, I want to make sure you don't miss out on that."
Caio got it. He became a great part of our community within the camp, and he spoke about this transition a couple of times in group. He said, "I've never wanted anything to do with church, and I really didn't want to come here - but I think that's going to change. I want to be a part of this."

Youth group has been great since camp... and big! We have squeezed in our living room, and exploded out into the yard. We have had more fantastic worship, and spoken about not being an events based group, but having lives that are transformed by our faith daily.

Part 2 - Flashmob!!!
One of the fun, crazy activities of camp was doing a huge flashmob with the group! Our good friend and "ballerina missionary" Jackie Beth came down to help organize and teach a ridiculously cool flashmob that we did at the mall of Itu the night we came home from camp. Check out this video that Carioca put together for us -

Man I love these incredible kids!

Okay, more pictures and stories to come, check back!