Time for another update before I start forgetting things. These last few days have been pretty challenging, in terms of keeping going strong as the end of project is starting to become tangible. We're running another VBS for the last week of ministry, and I'll definitely need God to keep the focus.
Thursday at Eastbrook was very laid-back; not many students came again. In the morning I worked with a bright young man named Brandon on grasping math word problems. In the afternoon there were no students, but we instead worked on compiling a database of clinics, adult education centers, shelters, etc. that a woman was putting together. So I got to use my Excel skills for the kingdom! Hallelujah! It was pretty much pouring when we left, and though it cleared up for a bit, that night we had a HUGE thunderstorm. There was a tornado somewhere or other and plenty of lightning, but the main thing was the rain. So much rain. The city got 5 to 8 inches of rain that night, causing severe flash flooding and soaked basements. Apparently subterranean erosion opened up a huge sinkhole that swallowed an SUV, and one of our project members was stuck at Bayshore Mall for a while because the streets were flooded. My friend from the U who lives in Milwaukee has been following news of the flooding of his high school. City on a Hill wasn't really affected, but definitely be praying for the people of Milwaukee in the aftermath of this crazy storm.
Friday we didn't go to Eastbrook since it closes at noon; instead we walked over to the Hoffmans' house to help them clean up in preparation for a trip to Madison and the Twin Cities(!) It was nice to serve them, as we were all thankful for their leadership of the project. It was also great to see their kids; Seth is a little genius who I'm sure would remind my parents of me at age 8, Thad is tons of fun and loves to play with the neighborhood kids, and 2-year-old Hannah is just adorable. In the afternoon we hung out with the neighborhood kids, singing them some songs and reading Bible stories. I really enjoyed the chance to read to the kids, especially from the Jesus Storybook Bible, which one of Hope CC's pastors read from in a recent sermon and is awesome for all ages. Still, the lack of structure was difficult for me; it was hard to know what I should be doing and I have to trust that I was part of God's plan for the day.
That evening was an awesome social, the No-Talent Talent Show! We all dressed in extremely tacky clothing (the women much more than the men) and had dinner in a meeting room, then exhibited various random talents and zaniness. We had skits, song-and-dances, jokes, cruel pranks, and one of those routines where someone stands behind someone else and pretends to be their arms. My act consisted of reciting pi to 50 places, making a deck of cards magically disappear (ask me to show you later), and writing John 3:16 with both hands, at the same time (I may not have mentioned it, but I've been practicing writing with my left hand for almost a year and am trying to become ambidextrous). After this was a dance party and movie, neither of which I felt inclined to; instead I spent some time with God and watched the two-part finale of Star Trek: TNG from the DVDs my dad gave me.
Saturday we got to sleep in before an outreach at Liberty and Truth, last Sunday's church and the other team's ministry site this week and next. Apparently this consisted of sitting in on a seminar on proper nutrition where the volunteers vastly outnumbered the kids. Apparently it was quite informative, as everyone is now insufferably obsessed with vitamins and calories (I hope it wears off). I, along with a few others, was down in the basement, which was still damp from the Thursday storm, sorting out L&T's clothes closet. I know very little about clothes, so after a while of asking one of the women whether something was for men or women I decided to sort the enormous, overflowing bin of coat hangers instead, which took up most of the rest of the time. I think we did a pretty good job, and the other ministry team can continue next week.
This morning we went to a Lao church on the south side. It was in a small building not much bigger than a house; we initially drove right past it and had to turn around. The English service was at 11:30; apparently there was a Lao service before that. We approximately doubled the size of their congregation, which delighted them. Everyone was super friendly; we even met a few young people visiting from Minneapolis! Worship was really nice; it was great to sing songs I knew, which was a first for the churches we'd visited (Eastbrook should be like that next Sunday). The sermon, on King Jehoshaphat of all people, was a great reminder on giving our problems to God and trusting in Him.
This afternoon, I watched the last 2/3 or so of X-Men 3 upstairs and got to put my computer skills to use at last. Will, one of the COAH staffers living with us, had contracted some number of computer viruses/malware; it was not pretty. I'm still working on diagnosing it with the limited materials at COAH, but it will turn out alright. This week we're running a VBS at Hopewell's sister church, which I'm not as excited for as I should be. Honestly I'm getting kind of tired of VBSes, so I'm praying that God would remove this attitude and get me excited to serve one more week! Also be praying that we would get some one-on-one time with the kids, a new goal of ours, and really model God's personal love to them.
Composed ~10:10 PM, Sunday, July 25th
The Heavenly Stranger’s Hospitality
3 hours ago