Tuesday, July 10th
Well the past 2 days have had some interesting moments! Tuesday began with the team being broken up into two groups. Team 1 went to a work site all day to work on a garage roof that is really bad. I sent a group of boys to do this job because, now that we know what to expect for VBS, we only need just a few of them to help with the handful of boys who are attending. They went to the work site with Scott Arnold and according to him they worked hard and had a great experience.
The other group spent the morning at a new work site. It is a Spanish United Methodist Church with a very old building. Much of the trim and highlights to the outside of the building are in desperate need of a new coat of paint. So we are landscaping, painting and trimming trees all around the property. The teens were dying to get paintbrushes in their hands and attack the job. They had fun once they were let loose on the building.
A little before noon we headed back to the mission site to prepare lunch for the VBS crowd and get ready for bible school! We start out doing our VBS songs. Then I read the Bible story as some of the teens act it out. The kids are split up into 3 teams and they rotate through their stations for the rest of the afternoon. We are discovering with these kids that well-defined teams with organized stations and time limits on when to switch are hard boundaries to follow. Some of the kids just want to do crafts and only crafts. Some would like to socialize and dance and laugh at each other the whole time. Others really like just playing games. The teens are learning the frustration of what it feels like to heard cats! But overall, they are having a good experience and building relationships with the kids we are hear to minister to.
On a lighter side, I discovered that some of the boys are dealing with some serious chaffing. I told them to use Gold Bond. They looked at me with quizzical looks not sure what I was talking about. I tossed it to them. They figured it out. Then they came back with the kind of joy you only see on a person who has lived a hard life only to discover for the very first time that Jesus loves them. Chaffing be gone!
On the frustrating side, at a certain point in the afternoon when we had a little bit of down time, I crashed on a couch in the dining hall area. I woke up and realized I did not have my phone on me. I remembered plugging it into my computer up by the sound board so it could charge. When I went up there to get it, it was gone. I spent a good amount of time retracing all my steps, going through all my laundry, looking in every single possible place it could have possibly fallen or hidden from my sight. I could not find it anywhere. My stress level maxed out. It is amazing how lost we feel without a phone of all things. But we have turned our phones into so much more than just a phone. And the kicker is that I JUST got this phone 3 weeks ago at Ichthus.
On the serious side, as we were having our debrief time in the evening, there was an accident right outside of our building involving a motorcycle going strait that plowed into a car making a left turn. The teens wanted to toss their Bibles aside and run outside to see what was going on. I put the brakes on that really quick. Instead we said a prayer, continued with the debrief and sent them to their rooms. They were able to catch a glimpse of the accident scene but only from the windows. It was a shocking reminder about how fragile life can be and in a moments notice so much can change.
On the funny side, for our evening down time, we took off to Crocker Park. This is a huge outdoor mall area in Westlake. It is a really fun place to go just to walk around outside and hit some stores. Unfortunately, the boys discovered the limited edition of Dark Berry Mountain Dew which they bought cases of and drank profusely until it was time to go to bed. I was about to blow a gasket at their continual chatter and laughing at farts. Just then, the one young man sleeping directly beside me, made some smart-mouthed comment that he could easily take me in wrestling. At that point my skin turned green and the gamma rays took over. I pounced on Braden and put him in a hold to the point where he felt like a pretzel. He begged and whined to be let lose. All the boys were shining the cell phones to see what was going on. Braden no longer mocks me in my wrestling skills.
Overall, it was a good day with just some minor frustrations with the thought that my phone got stolen. I will deal with that the next day.
Wednesday, July 11
Today started out similar to yesterday. One group working on the roof of a garage. The other group was working on the church property that needed some painting and landscaping. It is turning into one of those jobs where once you think you got it all done, you look and see so much more we can be doing. So a lot more landscaping and painting occurred throughout the morning.
We came back for VBS even more determined to bring some more structure and organization to the day. We had a great day. The kids did some great crafts. We talked and did skits on True Power, focusing on the story of the temptation of Jesus. We taught the kids link tag and "Honey If You Love Me Won't You Please, Please Smile!" They had a lot of fun. The structure is still a little chaotic just because of the nature of the kids we are working with. I think we are learning to accept that Epiphany VBS is slightly different when you try to bring it to an inner-city neighborhood. To be fair though, I am definitely seeing some friendships blossoming between our teens and the neighborhoods teenagers and kids. So I think our teens are learning how to adapt and change from moment to moment.
Once I hit our early afternoon down-time, I headed off to a Verizon store to see what I could do. As is with anything of this nature, it took much longer than it should have, but we eventually figured it all out. 3 weeks ago I also bought insurance on the phone. I was approved to be able to get a replacement phone! Woo-hoo! I knew I bought the insurance plan. It just took a while to figure out who the 3rd party company was that I had my policy with.
In the evening I had my father come and talk to the teens. He brought my niece who just got into town from Arizona. The twins were happy to see their cousin. Dad did a great job challenging the teens to live their lives according to their faith. The teens were amused at the apparent similarities between my dad and I.
In our debrief time later on in the evening, we have been going through the letter of 1 John. We look at one chapter a night and apply it to what we are experiencing. The teens have been doing a great job of reading God's Word and talking it out in how it applies to us right now. They have been doing great. Although I will say, I am not allowing any highly-caffeinated, outrageously-sugary drinks right before bed. They already sound quiet so I hope to get a good night sleep tonight and a new phone in the morning. So I apologize if any of you have been trying to call or text me. If my phone texted you back in the past 24 hours let me know because it wasn't me! I will be back up and running no later than 10:30AM. I just need to pick it up and charge it. My claim has already been approved. Glad I got the insurance!
Well it is time to hit the sack and I do not hear any clowning around! I want to be joyful and excited! But the inner voice of "Junior High Past" also reminds me that I could be getting set up for falling into a prank. So I will move like a ninja as I head to bed hoping that I don't have to unleash my cat-like reflexes!