The rest of the week at Eastbrook has been pretty sweet. We just had our last day today and I was genuinely sad to leave; I wish I could stay longer and develop more relationships with the students. Today the center was only open in the morning, and only two students came: two of my favorites, Mary Ann and Alice. Mary Ann is an older woman and one of the sweetest and most sociable people I've ever met. She's a delight to talk to, bursting with stories and good wishes; Gloria has been working with her on fractions. Alice has been the most regular attender, coming in every day to work mostly on math with me. We had other students on previous days like Natalie, who works more on her own in the saide room, James, who is studying math to get into MATC, and Melodie, who brings her 8-month-old son Cameron in with her. (We call him the learning center's baby)
It's been a joy to work with these people and more this week, helping them develop their math and reading skills. It's hard leaving after only a week since I didn't get to see anyone make huge amounts of progress, but I know they show promise. Even if I didn't really get to initiate spiritual conversations, as Dave put it I'm working as the hands of Christ for people who came to a church for help getting on their feet. Bob Brock makes sure we pray several times a day over the center's work as well as problems students are having in their lives; Mary Ann's attempts to get a job, Alice's granddaughter changing custody in a bit of a difficult situation, and others. Their daughter Cara turned out not to have serious complications with her back, which is a big praise.
With Eastbrook done, we go to New Beginnings Are Possible--a Christian community center for inner city kids--for the next two weeks. By random luck, one of our workplace ministry teammates (Heidi) got a job there, so it will be cool to work with her. We'll be doing another VBS there, but it should hopefully be less crazy than Hopewell.
Things back at COAH are pretty good. Their staff are on vacation this week; yesterday, on our staff's day off, the girls all went to celebrate Jessi's birthday by watching the new Twilight movie and the men joked that since we literally had the whole building to ourselves we should prank the girls' floor somehow. (I don't think we ever got access to a key; I would have felt bad anyway) After getting back from Eastbrook early today (they close at noon on Fridays) I had mac and cheese for lunch (making enough to share with the Miatke family's kids, who live on our floor) and watched Robots with them while doing dishes. It's a very chill afternoon.
Tomorrow is a big outreach; there will apparently be tens of thousands of people on and around the beach to watch fireworks, and before a barbecue there we're going sharing again with a fancy new ministry tool booklet. I'm still kind of nervous, not really being the type who enjoys walking up to strangers and getting into deep conversations with them. Pray that God would manifest 2 Corinthians 12:9 in me tomorrow and open peoples' hearts to His good news! (Also that I'll obtain a copy of O Brother, Where Art Thou? for movie night tonight)
In other news, has anyone else noticed the rising popularity of those funny-shaped bracelets? They're shaped like things (mostly animals) and hold their shape even if you stretch them and wear them. I thought I was the coolest kid on the block after finding 16 of them on the table, until I saw Isaac Rygh wearing enough of them to literally cover his entire forearm!
Composed ~2:00 PM, Friday, July 2
The Heavenly Stranger’s Hospitality
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