Food for Friday

It is Saturday morning now. We have a little bit of a later morning this morning since the Academy doesn’t meet on Saturdays. It is our last day here at Shepherd. Friday was an impactful day. We helped at the Academy from 8:30 to 12:30 again. Those of us who were consistently with a particular teacher and group of kids during the week remained with that group, deepening their understanding of each other. Those of us who have taken other interests in the operations here at Shepherd continued to do so, helping with childcare, kitchen duties, and other non-classroom related facets. After 12:30, we left the Academy and continued our Poverty 101 class, digging deeper into what poverty actually is and discussing resources that we may possess or lack that may indicate the type of poverty we are experiencing. Our experience this week certainly has been a learning experience and as we go from here processing what has happened, we hope to respond correctly with sensitivity to the Spirit and our new understanding of poverty. After class, we were able to rest a little bit before embarking on our dinner plans in which we divided into three groups and visited homes of Taylor University alumni.

They were so kind to host us and we all had so much fun. One of our groups was so fascinated by a goat farm and upon continuously asking questions about it and showing interest, we were given the opportunity to milk a goat! We are so grateful for the fellowship that we are able to share with families of Taylor alumni. It is a great way to form connections and look into the future. It also helps the alumni to look into the past a bit and get to know us where we are in life.

After the dinner plans, we had a fun night of games before hitting the sack. Today, several alumni in the area will be joining us for our final service project at Shepherd. After that, we will depart from Shepherd.

Relationships have been made, understandings on tough issues have been brought into light, and hope has been given new birth. The goodbyes that were said on Friday among us, the teachers, students, kitchen staff, fellows, and other faculty were certainly difficult. But, that was to be expected. We are grateful for our time and support here at Shepherd. We hope to continue to reflect, process, and respond. We will certainly keep track of our time here and value the lives that we have been blessed by.

At times of departing from environments and phases in life in which relationships have been formed and deepened, I like to contemplate something that I encourage you to reflect upon as well. So, I’ll leave you with this:

“Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity that God makes himself known to each of us most powerfully and personally.”

 

Thursday

It is early Friday morning as I write this and it is quite warmer today already than it has been this week. As I walked across the parking lot to the building that has internet access I was listening to the birds singing for spring. Such joy the birds have!

We have such an even greater joy ourselves. Thursday was marked with many highs of the week but also several lows for some. The morning was typical, helping teachers in the Academy, continuing to cultivate relationships with the school kids, helping in the kitchen to prepare lunch, continuing to cultivate relationshie school kids, running around town with the kitchen operator. The afternoon called us to a service project in which we did massive cleanup at the warehouse that Shepherd owns. It was a little chilly and was raining on and off. There was some really nasty stuff that we were shoveling and cleaning up. There were large and heavy objects that required a few of us to work together to move and get into the dumpster. For some, it was a challenging project to say the least! It even challenged the hearts of a few of us. But, we accomplished the task at hand with a servant and loving attitude. We were able to bond through this experience and provide Shepherd with a much needed job.

After the cleanup project, we found a bite to eat at a local restaurant and enjoyed some fellowship. Then, two of our friends here at Shepherd met with us for some debriefing, questions, and continuation of Poverty 101. People are certainly gaining a better understanding of poverty and are discovering interests within themselves. Questions like ‘what are the next steps’ are being asked. At the end of the day, all of us were joyful for what God has been doing for so long in this community and what God has been doing just this week. We are eager for our last full day at Shepherd.

We thank you again for your interest in us, support and prayer. We cannot express that enough. We pray also for you.

Winter Weather Continues on Wednesday with Warm Love

The morning began as a typical weekday here at Shepherd. After breakfast and mingling with the school kids in the cafeteria, we helped the teachers throughout their classes and continued to interact with the children. A few of us helped out in the kitchen again as well, preparing lunch for everyone at Academy. After school was dismissed at 12:30, we had a great opportunity to debrief with one of the directors at Shepherd. In so doing, we were able to discuss thoughts and feelings as we continue to process how we see God working in the communities here. We are changing the way we understand poverty and are hopeful in increasing our capacity to embrace the grace of God and love not only ourselves, but those around us.

After the debrief, some of our group went to the after school program at another site to engage in some sporting activities and a magic show with a lot of the kids. The other part of our group stayed at the school building and helped out with some things that needed to be done. A few of us were in the kitchen preparing dinner, which we took to a hangout place in the warehouse that Shepherd owns. There, the youth (middle school and high school) meet every Wednesday night. We brought the dinner over for them and played dodge ball. Moreover, a few alumni met us there and joined us. This was a great time of fellowship and deepening our understanding of what it takes to foster consistent relationships in this community. Shepherd certainly is a place where this can happen.

Upon our return to the Shepherd Community Center, we spent some time together in reflecting on the day and worshiping. We are excited to continue to learn how we can be effective and humble in the ministry that God is doing here and elsewhere.  Again, we thank you for your interest in us and for your continued support!

God Bless.

Hello From Down the Road!

We apologize for not posting a daily blog yet; however, look forward to hearing from us for the remainder of the week! We arrived at Shepherd Community Center on Saturday evening and were introduced to the facilities and people here. On Sunday morning, we had the great experience of attending church services here at Shepherd. Raw worship, powerful testimonies, and even a message from the IMPD truly allowed us to see what God is doing in the local community here.

After church and a potluck, Sunday was a low-key day, but we made sure we obtained plenty of rest Sunday night! Monday, we started the day early and even though it’s only Tuesday now, it is as if a long time has passed since Monday morning. During the weekdays the Academy (grades K through 4) has school here from 8 to 12:30. During this, we are able to volunteer our time here in the classroom with the teachers. Monday afternoon, we packed 160 bags of food for families to take home during spring break to be used as a supplement throughout that week. Tuesday afternoon (today), we had our first session of the Poverty 101 class. This will be as much of a learning experience as it is a volunteer experience!

Shepherd also coordinates after school programs in the evening, so Monday evening and this evening we were involved with these. At Shepherd, school children from several schools (grades 1-6) in the community come for support in many ways. Shepherd provides snacks, social time, homework assistance, clubs, and activities. Additionally, at another site, Shepherd volunteers help run an after school program that enable school children to participate in fun sports, so some of us spent time there as well.

After the programs on Monday, alumni in the area hosted us at three different homes for dinner and we were able to fellowship with Taylor alumni! Moreover, alumni will be partnering with us in our volunteer work here later this week.

We have enjoyed working and learning here at Shepherd so far. The rest of the week will be pretty typical of what yesterday and today looked like. We will help run the Academy in the morning to afternoon time, have more sessions of Poverty 101, and be involved in other after school programs. We are learning quite a bit and at the end of each day have a lot to process. This week will certainly be challenging in many ways, but growth and development will certainly occur along with the formation of relationships. We have had tremendous support in prayer and finances. We thank you for that and look forward to sharing more of our experiences with you!

Sincerely,

The Indy Team

Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN is often regarded as a booming metropolis, reaching forward to prosperity in the Midwest. The communities fraught with cyclical poverty and gang violence, however, are easily overlooked. Join us in our servant relationship with Shepherd Community Center as we help engage youth living in inner-city poverty. Whether working with children’s’ minds in the classroom, their relationship with Christ in the church, or helping to improve the environment surrounding them by getting your hands dirty, you can effectively help bring prosperity to an urban community in need through this ministry.

Indianapolis Team Picture 2014_edit

Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray that we would effectively share the love of Christ through our actions and words.
  2. Pray that we would have open eyes and ears of how God wants to use us and why he has each one of us on the trip.
  3. Pray that we would be able to identify with the individuals we work with at Shepherd and that they would identify with us, being able to move past any potential barriers on either side.
  4. Pray that those we work with would become so dear to us that we would be delighted to share not only the gospel of God but our lives as well (1 Thessalonians 2:8).