What a crazy, crazy four days it's been. Between a last-minute ministry site change, my 21st birthday, and losing everything in my checking account...I should elaborate.
On Sunday we went to Liberty and Truth, a small church where the other vocational team is spending the last two weeks of ministry. It was clearly converted from a small office building, with chairs ringed around the slightly raised stage in a small sanctuary. I was strongly reminded of Broken Chain; the pastor was again on fire for God and interested in seeing the Spirit move to bring healing and reconciliation. It was awesome to see how he subordinated his own preaching to the work of the Spirit throughout the service.
That night we learned a bit of a shocker: Debi Godsey, the woman who runs God's Kidz in the Hood, had apparently been in and out of the hospital and was suspending her ministry for health reasons. Please pray for her. Anyway, we had to change ministry sites at the last second. Half of us would be going to the Hoffmans' house to minister to neighborhood kids again (like the Jesus club), and the half that had been at Eastbrook would be going back! My wish came true!
Monday was my birthday. It was pretty awesome from beginning to end, starting when I got a birthday call from the women at 12:03. We we're going to Eastbrook until Tuesday; today we were all going to the Hoffmans' house to pick up trash in their neighborhood. Not what I had in mind for my birthday, but again it was nice to serve God in such a tangible way and show His love to the community. We did this for three hours and filled four garbage bags with trash from the streets between me and Anna. My back is still pretty sore. We had a few nice conversations with neighbors, including some kids who had been to the Jesus Club! Two people on the team that ran JC actually returned in the afternoon to play in a nearby park, so they had a nice reunion.
That evening, as planned, we all went to Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate. It was a delicious time; I ordered my usual honey BBQ and medium wings, along with six blazin' wings for the brave to sample. (Which became eight after the server dropped two on me and brought four more) I had one right off the bat and one at the end; I think I'm building up a tolerance to them. The reactions of the ladies who tried parts of them (only Tim and I at entire ones) were humorous, to say the least. We brought some back and tricked Jacob, who was not there, into eating one. I wasn't there, but Bryan says it was pretty funny.
They also made a chocotastic cake featuring the tricycle I was hoping to get for my birthday (to ride around campus and befuddle people!), which was nice. I finally got a package from my parents just in time with a bell for said tricycle (or maybe my bike) and a huge collection of TV shows my dad has recorded to DVD. (Note to people at the U: I now have the majority of Star Trek TOS, TNG, The Office, and quite a few Simpsons and Numb3rs episodes to watch. We can talk.) It was a great birthday of loving on others and feeling loved myself. And no, I did not consume any alcohol; apparently I signed some agreement not to drink on project so I couldn't even if I wanted to.
The next day we returned to Eastbrook! Alice, the woman I had worked with much of the time, was no longer there due to getting a job, so I get to work with Mary Ann on math, which has been wonderful. Attendance is down a bit since last time; we might go flyering tomorrow to hopefully bring more people, and in the meantime we're working on other jobs for the learning center like making a poster for it and compiling a database of other places for people to get help.
The afternoon was kind of ruined when I checked my E-mail and discovered a bunch of receipts in iTunes for roughly $1700 worth of prestige points for some games I had never heard of. Apparently someone had gained access to my iTunes account and used it to completely drain my bank account twice over. I'm still working on remedying that and yesterday was pretty stressful; luckily my mom, who is a co-signer with my bank account, has been working tirelessly to get this resolved, for which I am very thankful. I've spoken with fraqud prevention and she went to the bank today; I tried to see if Apple could reverse the transactions, but they had the worst customer service I have heard of (a robot you have to talk to that tells you to go to their unhelpful support site). We're hopeful I can get my money back, but it could take a while and until I can resolve this and get a new debit card, I'll have to ration the money in my wallet.
That evening we went back to Eastbrook, into the church building proper for a prayer service. We all went over prayer requests praises, praying for them immediately. (Kind of a relief for me--my mind can wander pretty far during extended prayer sessions, so I'm glad it was broken up) I'm glad I went in the midst of dealing with this fraud; I think God was challenging me to put others above my own needs even in the middle of such a crisis. After the prayer session the pastor gave us a fascinating talk on racial reconciliation, packed with stories about interesting connections he's made by reaching out to people of diverse backgrounds. One time a Chinese man apparently met him in an airport asking to be discipled, which led to them later sharing the gospel and praying for one of the most powerful men in China.
Today has been relatively uneventful. I worked with Mary Ann again today, and in the afternoon typed up a spreadsheet of neighborhood resources for people in need, like adult education centers and clinics. I've always wanted to use my computer skills for the Kingdom! Tonight is another weekly meeting, which should be pretty sweet now that I've worked out a way to comfortably use the technology at Genesis. Friday is the No-Talent Talent show, which should be tons of fun. (I'm going to recite the first 50 digits of pi as well as an act I won't post here in the interest of keeping it secret from my project friends) Be praying that God would keep us on fire for and obeying Him these last two weeks of ministry; also for Debi Godsey's health and my fraud situation.
Composed ~3:30 PM, Wednesday, July 21st
The Greatness of a Lesser World
2 hours ago