A couple of days ago, a friend and I, along my kiddos and her kiddos, met on Texas street here in Bellingham. According to law enforcement and others that live here, Texas street is one of the iffiest streets in town. As a matter of fact, when we first moved here and we were looking at homes to buy, co-workers and supervisors at my husband's job told him to stay off the streets named after states, specifically Texas street.
The irony: we had just moved from Texas and we surely did not want anything that had to do with Texas - think super hot drought West Texas desert. ( I thought that was pretty comical)
Anyway, the word on the street was there is a lot of drug and gang activity happening on the state streets.
Seeing as how we are specifically targeting teens for our summer camp that come from those kinds of areas.....we realized the only way to get to those kids, well.....we would just have to go to them.
A few days prior to this realization, my kiddos and I went to one of the local high schools to hand out flyers to teens that walk home after school. We soon discovered that there are not that many kiddos that walked home. We observed that the majority of kids were either bussed or used public transportation.
As we, my kiddos and I, grew frustrated that our idea of teens just swarming out of the school building at the end of the school day did not pan out the way we envisioned, we sat in our car disgruntled.....eating our lunch. (yes...we ate a very late lunch that day)
We noticed one kid walk by us toward a bus stop and as I was stuffing almonds into my mouth with one hand and holding an open avocado with the other, I told my 9 year old son,
"ohhh....look....he looks like he might like hip hop. Go give him a flyer".
How did I know he liked hip hop?
Well funny you should ask.
It was his super hip black kangol and his large, obviously fake, gold chain around his neck that threw me off. I could have been wrong though.
My son grabbed a flyer and dashed out the car towards him. The kid politely took the flyer and my son ran back to the car. We all just watched him walk slowly towards the bus stop and it appeared that he was intently reading what the flyer said.
He folded it up and put it in his pocket. When he got to the bus stop, he took the flyer out of his pocket and read it again. We all got excited with that second look.
This happened a couple more times with two more boys and we felt like we hit the jackpot with potential students for our camp.
We packed it up and headed home. Tired.
Later in the day, for my afternoon walk and prayer time, I poured out my heart to God to bring kids to us because I was getting a bit discouraged. If we were supposed to reach these disadvantaged teens where do we find them in this city? At that time, I could not for the life of me remember where the lower income families lived.
During the close of that walk/prayer time, I remembered how I was able to recruit students for an ESL program I started at my former church in Virgnia. I, along with some friends, went door to door and handed out flyers in some of the lowest income areas of Portsmouth.
So, I texted my friend who leads our Equip group (which is just a fancy name for a small group of people gathering together to dig into various theology books to help us grow in sanctification so that we can be "equipped" to be better disciples....sorry for the wordy explanation).
Anyway, I shared my idea of going door to door. Needless to say, she wrote back with:
"I was just thinking about this. There are a bunch of apartment complexes on Texas St".
I rejoiced and thanked God for this friend and our apparent like-minded-ness that seemed to happen at the same time about the same burden.
So we scheduled a time and date to hit up Texas St.
When we got there a couple of days later, we went door to door to the different apartment complexes on that street and a couple of times were able to reach a cluster of kiddos getting off school buses. It was super sweet seeing my kiddos and my friend's kiddos bum-rushing these kids with flyers. What great memories they will have of being on mission in their city.
A couple of times, I had to dust off my very broken Spanish to mammas that came to the door and explain to them what we were doing. I loved it!
At one apartment complex we met up with a boy that did not come off the school bus. Either my son or my friend's kiddo had handed the flyer to the boy and he looked up at us and said
"oh, you gave me one yesterday at the bus stop. I was thinking about doing this".
He was the kid in the kangol.
We all swarmed around him and encouraged him to register for the camp. We even gave him extra flyers to give to his friends.
It was a very exciting turn of events for us.
As I reflect on our adventure on Texas street, I am asking for prayer for:
1) The older people who opened their doors. To be an older adult in an area with lots of crime committed by young people weighs heavy on my heart. I wonder if they get out much. I wonder if anyone visits them. I wonder if anyone has ever shared the gospel properly with them. Do they know that it is not what they bring to the table that saves them....but what Jesus has done for them on the cross that could save them....if they would only know and believe.
Please join me in praying for these older folks on Texas street. That they would come to know Jesus in a saving way....not just the idea of Jesus...but in a very real conversion way. Maybe.....just maybe.....some of the teens that live on Texas street will also come to know Christ in a deep and powerful transformative way and instead of engaging in petty street crime they are provoked to meet the needs and show love to the older generation that live on their street.
Nothing is impossible with God.....right?
2) I am asking for prayer for this camp - whether God brings us 3 kids or 23, 8 kids or 28 ...... please pray that we, all those that have helped and are helping with this camp....let it always and continue to be for God's glory and His glory alone. Let Jesus be magnified as Savior and Redeemer through all of these endeavors and interactions with the teens and families we meet.
3) Specifically pray for the boy in the kangol. We were so excited to know that we had already given him a flyer a few days prior AND he said that he was thinking about registering for the camp. In our excitement we forgot to get his name.
Outreach fail #1 - forget to ask for names - yep...we covered that one.
Hopefully when we go back to Texas street, we will meet up with him again.
Please pray with us and for us.
Sometime tomorrow my friend and I are heading to another street with lots of apartments. Someone once referred to the street as "apartment row". Hopefully we can meet families and teens who might be interested in our camp.
I need to sleep now.
Yes....I'm blogging at 3 am because I cannot sleep.
Yes...I have my Equip group meeting in the morning at 9 am.
Yes.....I have large noisy fans blowing downstairs in my home because a tiny pin hole sized crack in our water pipe above our hot water heater caused major overnight flooding. It just so happens that my husband is on the other side of the country for a work related training trip and I was left to deal with the mess of it all by myself.
Now that I've downloaded all that was on my mind onto this blog update, I hope I can now sleep.
|my kiddos and these super cool flyers|