Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A local church, Open Table Community, decided to replace its yearly retreat with a "Core practices weekend." This time was dedicated to engagement with each other and with the local community.
Most people have to do work like mine for years before they find others who buy into the same vision and are interested in both partnering in and reproducing it. Open Table clearly invited Ruthie and me to link them with the community, and several volunteers decided to either help with the afterschool program or move toward creating their own programs.
Now, aside from having two excellent new partners helping the kids with their homework, we are discussing ideas for computer classes, fitness clubs, and a community food co-op. We'll see where it all goes, but we've seen a lot of action from this group. They aren't just talkers.
I think people are generally empowered by looking at our work here. They see that this life of love, hospitality, and service is not only doable, but that it is often rewarding and enjoyable. I hope that we can see more of those who dream of helping others have the courage to stick their necks out and do it.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I started my day with three meetings. First, I got together with Bob Mulloy, who will be helping me teach English to some of the men in the community. After finishing with Bob, I met my friend David Park downtown to observe a food co-op in action. David and I are plotting ways to get a co-op running for the families here at Huntington Creek.
Finally, at lunch, we got to meet Marlene Haller from Movers and Shakers, a ministry that helps furnish homes for immigrants and refugees.
After that, it was back to the apartment/ministry center to run the afterschool program. I was in charge of the story today, so we read a book about a kid who gets an alligator in the mail. We had a great time reading it together.
Of course, everyone had to finish their homework first:
This shot is an older one of Jennifer going to school with one of the guitars that Ruthie's aunt donated. Because of this donation, Jennifer has been able to join guitar club and start learning this instrument.
Here's another one of Junior trying to smile and hide his teeth at the same time:
Jennifer and Vanessa have become like part of our family. We let them in last week to borrow a few movies.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Whenever I watch a movie, I log in to my Netflix account and give it a star rating. One star means I hated it, and five stars means I loved it. I reserve five stars for the very few movies that blow me away.
Tonight, after a rough day for both of us, Ruthie and I kicked back and watched The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. Roger Ebert does a great job of reviewing it, and I doubt too many of my readers come here for movie reviews, so I won't say too much, but I gave it a whopping five stars.
It was also interesting to see it after having seen Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Both movies borrow from this one repeatedly in pacing, style, set design, and even a latin phrase (sic transit gloria).
I'm not one to say that movies are going downhill, because there always have been duds and gems, but it's a thrill to stumble upon masterpieces that deliver a kick in the teeth from a long-gone era.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
After a thrilling first two weeks of homework help/feeding/bible lessons, we were excited to have my friend Jonathan come down from Chicago and check out our new lives. He dove into our activities here, helping us manage the demands of complicated ministry and family situations.
Here he is playing accordion for Jennifer and Vanessa:
We got out of town for the weekend, camping at Elijah Clark State Park with our friends Josh and Margaret, Jonathan, my brother Eric, and his friend Gordon. The only group activity was a rousing game of mini golf on an aging course. We spent the rest of the time lounging, feeding the fire, conversing, and making music together.
Although the end of the weekend brought with it a new set of pains, stresses, and opportunities, I am thankful that we at least had that time to get away and recharge. Now it's back to the tasks at hand: