Brookside – Jaci
“Today seemed a little weird though because most of the older girls weren’t home, but there a bunch(at least 7) of toddlers running around. The cool part about that was some of the young moms hung out over at the playground so we got a chance to hang out and talk to them too… There is an ll year old named Alexis and she absolutely loves when we do singing and give a lesson. Alexis came to me with an idea to start a Brookside worship team, She wants to get a few other girls to practice songs during the week and then lead singing on Saturdays. I thought it was a great idea and I really hope it works. So, in the end it was a good week and the weather was beautiful.”
The Meadows – Amanda
“We had a great week at the Meadows. Matt got the opportunity to spend a lot of time talking with families and with Ms. Toni. He went back after lunch to take Ms. Toni on some errands. Several others were able to enter into conversations with some of the parents. I had several favorite parts today.
1. Alex, an adorable little boy probably around 4 or 5, came up to me, reached up and said “I picked this purple flower for you!” It was so cute, but I had to mix my thankfulness with an explanation about which plants we can pick (the grass and clovers) and which we shouldn’t (the newly planted landscape flowers…).
2. Siriyah, who spent most of the day proudly perched on a Liberty student’s shoulders, looked down at Matt menacingly and said, “You are going to DIE!” When I asked her if I was too, she opened her big brown eyes wide, shook her head and said “nooo.” Then her eyes narrowed again as she looked back at Matt and said again, “YOU’RE GOING TO DIE!!!!”
3. Probably my favorite part of today was watching the relationship between Mark and Jalyn grow. Jalyn can be the sweetest boy, but when he’s treated unfairly by someone, he gets very angry and can’t keep himself under control. He is one that I’ve been praying for- specifically that God would put it on the heart of one of the Liberty guys to pour into this boy. Since the first time Mark came, he’s singled Jalyn out. Jalyn has really attached himself to Mark too. They both help each other; Mark talks with Jalyn when he gets upset, they hang out together, and Jayln has become attentive to what Mark needs in order to get around and helps him however he can. Mark has been able to talk with Jalyn’s family a bit and their relationship has been growing a lot. It’s been so cool to see.”
Greenfield – Elisa
“Because of the beautiful weather, we must have had thirty students and well over sixty kids because we ran out of both the cookies and cups. Today’s lesson was on the second greatest commandment and made sure to emphasize the importance of putting that verse into practice. While I don’t think many of the children really understood the importance of loving one’s neighbor, there was one child who decided to pick up all of the cups in the field. I consider that to be a victory :)”
Birchwood – Kailey
“Today I encouraged our team to really act on the idea of exchange, promoting real conversations and value return.
I didn’t realize I personally would be the one getting to sow so much!
Our -first- opportunity for exchange came instantly. As my friend Henry and I walked up to our assigned apartment building, immediately we encountered a man sitting outside. We greeted, and I sensed that awkward “I want to talk to you but am not sure how” sort of conversational tension, so I lingered for a minute, introducing myself and Henry. We all talked for a while, discovering him to be a very solid believer with good theology (a rarity at Birchwood) and found out about his life. We talked about this community in which we were standing and sharing in, recognizing the difficulty of ministering to a broken, disinterested world. An encouraging and challenging person, I found myself encouraged and spurred by this brief, 10 minute encounter. Kenneth Lee, retired Army man. Exchange was not faked. It took place.
Another amazing opportunity came up with the -last- door of our rounds. A young mom of two, Gail, is another solid believer I love to talk to. She welcomed us (again) into her home after she was asked what we could be praying for. She gave two requests, both of which I believe go for every site CampusSERVE visits:
1) marriages. That Satan will no longer have dominion to attack the marriages in the community. and
2) safety. She specifically said the safety of the kids, including her own. My mind instantly went to the unseen physical, emotional, and sexual abuse a majority of these kids endure.
I asked her to be praying for us as we struggle with this busy time in the semester, and she seemed delighted to have established a spiritual connection, not endured a pity prayer. She also has a physical need she asked for help with:
3) tutoring, so we are working on setting that up.
Before we left, she invited me to a “high fashion jewelry” party that night. So at 5:30, Mahalia (a Birchwood regular), Jessica (a friend of mine), and I all went back to Birchwood to attend. I saw it as an opportunity to enter in to the community naturally, establishing relationships with women in Gail’s circle. I am so glad we went, because the three of us were the only women who came outside of the host, the saleswoman, and one of their mutual friends. It was a great time! We conversed and played games and ate together, sharing in faith and love. We all believe in the Savior, and the 6 of us, with seemingly nothing in common, found unity in laughter, food, and our sisterhood. Jessica walked away with contacts for cooking engagements, and Mahalia and I left poorer in wallet but richer in relationships (and full-bellied!). It was a privilege to be invited and hosted.
I believe it is in THIS way that CampusSERVE will make the difference it desires to make. The answer lies in individuals reaching out in their own community, being their own church. Let us seek answers in exchange, relationships, community, and Christ.
All of these conversations and experiences happened in addition to the normal hair-braiding, tackle football-ing, lesson-teaching, craft-making activities at Birchwood. I love that community, and consider the honor of leading the site one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my time at Liberty. Even as a missional person, I have learned more about ministry and being Jesus doing this than anything else in my life. To Him be the glory.”
Yoder – Alyssa
“We went to the site and prayed and then headed out in groups. Three groups went to get kids and look for flyers on doors and two groups went straight to project houses…
The first house was a lady wanting her leaves raked and she provided the materials for us. I left a group of two girls and a guy there and they knocked on the door and talked to the lady who owned the house. I also asked them to see if they could raked the yard next door because the lady who lives there has a heart condition so it is hard for her to do yard work.
Then I took the second group to a house to wash a guy’s dishes, but he wasn’t home so we left a message with the woman who answered the door.
Then one of the students called me and told me that there was a few projects at 707 First Street. So, Ayla, Syd, and I went to this house. We met an older woman named Shirley who lived in a well kept house. She had left the flyer on the outside of her door with a list of tasks for us to do. She showed us where the rake was and gave us a trash bag to rake up leaves in the yard. Ayla and I decided to tackle that job while Syd washed the fence. Before we began, she and her friend Dorothy asked us to remove the air conditioner from the window. Right after we did that, Shirley asked us if we’d like her to make a few sandwiches for us!!! It was such an awesome offer because I immediately said “YES” and knew that the Lord was showing me EXCHANGE 🙂 My first instinct was to say “no thank you” but I knew I was supposed to say yes. The other two volunteers gave me a weird and surprised look, so I took them to the side and explained to them the idea of exchange. It was cool to explain it because I felt like I better understood it as I explained it and experienced it. (I’d been praying for the Lord give us an exchange experience this weekend, since I knew we needed one and I wasn’t sure how to go about it. It was awesome to experience his answer!)…
Here’s one of my favorite parts – [Patrick came and] put down his camera and began to pick up leaves. I was so encouraged and he spent the rest of the time helping me and having conversation with me. I was blessed to have the company of someone when I did feel alone and slightly discouraged earlier.
Around 1 PM Shirley called us into her house and gave us all crab cakes and chicken nuggets and soda! She was so sweet to do so and we all thanked her. It was so cool to see that she was willing to sacrifice food and time to serve us back. We asked her to join us, but she said that she needed to clean up.
Did I tell you that one of the students did the lesson today? It was wonderful to have a volunteer do that! She brought candy and did the lesson at the beginning. I heard that it went well and that the kids listened.
By the time I got back, the students were leaving, but the group in my car was still there of course. Patrick and a little boy named DeDe joined us and we all prayed before we headed home. Well, that’s the story of exchange from our site from this weekend :)”
College Hill – Grace
“College Hill was great today, we had a huge turn out and could hardly get everyone into cars but God provided and we fit everyone in! Some LU students brought rakes and went down Jackson St. and got to build relationships with new families who did not know what CampusSERVE was. The weather was amazing so we had lots of kids come out.
I had three favorite moments:
1. I challenged LU students to be creative and use whatever was around them to be intentional about sharing the gospel. I walked passed a student telling the story of David and Goliath using woodchips and a sunflower to represent the Philistine army and Goliath!
2. An elderly woman named Joyce who lives across the street from the center called me over to help her out, which is significant because we always ask if there is anything we can do, and she always says no. She asked if my friend and I if we could help her organize her medicine container and twist off the caps of bottles because her arthritis inhibited her from doing so. It was really simple but a great moment.
3. One of the volunteers Chelsea,who has come out a couple times this semester is just so full of joy and is always smiling she really brightens up the world around her. After we broke up to pray I just saw her going around to the other LU students just giving them hugs and expressing how much she cared for them and loved seeing them every Saturday. I think that is one of my favorite things about CampusSERVE seeing the LU students build unity and enjoy community with one another.”
Dearington – Brandon
“For the last couple of weeks Danielle and I have been using the colors of salvation as our lessons, with each week moving on to the next color. This week’s color was White. Which symbolizes our hearts becoming pure after coming to the Lord and giving everything to Him everyday.
Danielle put together some small hearts to represent our own hearts. One side was black symbolizing sin and our dark hearts and the other side was white, symbolizing our pure hearts when we walk with the Lord after accepting His sacrifice. PS. 51:10 was our verse. It’s when David is crying out to the Lord asking him to create in him a pure heart. Only good comes from the Lord and pure motives, and we thought it was important that the community knew that.
We also had a guest this week Finley. He brought along a boom-box with break music and taped together some card-board for a dance-floor. The children loved it and joined in as well as some of our students from Liberty. We also had a few of the parents down at the site and we were able to communicate with them a little more. It was an exciting day with great weather and a great lesson that we pray would change people’s lives in this community!
Thanks to all who come out! We love you and are praying for you! We also hope that you have an awesome Thanksgiving. God Bless.”
Langview – Tim
“Saturday Morning: We had some great weather and a lot of fun with kids. There were a couple of kids from different neighborhoods hanging around waiting for the block party. We had a good lesson time and some of the kids were asking very good theological questions…
I am going to meet up with a 17 year old kid named Sam again this week to help him work on his resume. Last time I was with him we were buying clothes for job interviews.”