So, I promised many of you that I would blog to keep everyone updated. As you can tell, the blog has kind of been pushed on the back burner. However, I drank coffee and hour ago (9 p.m. smart right?) and have a lot of time to kill so here it goes.
So for the past two weeks I have been working at the White House (no not the real one...) in Shreveport Louisiana. It is a house owned by the Common Ground Community and they use it to help build relationships with their neighborhood of Cedar Grove. Cedar Grove is a predominately black neighborhood that is pretty rough, but is kind of like a precious gem that just needs some good elbow grease. So from Monday through Thursday, my friend Krysten, and I hang out with neighborhood kids at the White House. We are there from 12:30-5:30 and keep the kids busy, out of trouble, and give them plenty of attention and love. Though we are trying to teach them how to act and be good people, i've learned a lot from them. Here's a few things that have caught my attention....
1.You made me a cake?
Today was Damekio's 11th birthday. Last night Krysten baked him a cake and this morning she iced it and wrote, "Happy 11th Birthday Damekio" At 12:30 when we went to pick up the kids, he wasn't going to come because his Grandma wanted him to spend his birthday with her, but he was convinced with promise of cake. When he crawled into the already stuffed car, he said, "You made me a cake?" He was flabbergasted that we had a cake for him. Then he said something that broke my heart. His father also gave him a cake, but his father not being in the picture very often, spelled his name wrong. Damekio laughed but behind his dark eyes there was a lot of hurt. His face when we gave him the cake almost made me cry. He was so excited about this cake, he wanted to share it with everyone.
2. You're related to him too?
We typically have at least ten kids with us all day, but whenever anyone new comes into the house, it takes about five minutes for them to go through the "initiation" process. This includes listing off all siblings, cousins, friends etc. that the others might know of. Typically someone went to school with an older brother, or they are long lost cousins. Krysten and I didn't get to participate in the initiation process, but I'm pretty sure we are considered part of their family.
3. Why are you doing this?
This question hasn't really been asked since I've been in Shreveport. It was however, one of the top questions while still in Wichita. I didn't have a concrete answer when i was first asked, other than this is what Christ has called us to do. Now, however there are ten more reasons...
4. Can you turn it off?
The kids got a photography lesson the other day and then got their own disposable cameras. Kevin, who has stolen my heart and is also affectionately called Stank, asked me to turn it off. It of course doesn't turn off and that was hard for him to understand, but i was thinking about it and applied it to my heart. Despite the hardships we have to go through with these kids, I love them and I can't turn that off...
5. Can I go with?
We pick up kids about ten blocks away everyday and often others want to go with for the car ride. When they are behaving they are almost as persistent as a shadow. It's hard to tell these kids no, so we ride in the car a lot together. Even though it is only ten blocks, that is usually five minutes of one on one time I get with one of the kids. They usually don't get anything like this other than at the White House. I've had some of the best conversations with kids on these trips, which will probably inspire more blogging
6. that house isn't green, it's clear!
We went the other day to the greenhouse in the backyard to pick out ceramic pots to paint which will ultimately hold plants. The kids followed behind us and Krysten and I were talking about the garden and the greenhouse. Toby, a future third grader and a huge troublemaker, said, "This house isn't green, it's clear!" So obviously our explaning fell on deaf ears, but they have painted pots!
So we are drawing up on the end of the blog. I'm worn out by the end of the day and afraid that no one will come the next day, but always the kids are waiting for us, expecting hugs and activities.
More will come soon, including pictures!