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Monthly Archives: July 2003

Six Flags
Today I went to Six Flags with the kids from camp. I wish I had a video camera to video tape some of the kids faces when they first experienced what it was like to ride a rollercoaster. Their faces were filled with fear as they felt their bodies crushed by gravity and the speed of movement. One kid described it as their stomach and heart being taken by the rollercoaster. What was funny and annoying at the same time was how the kids rode a ride over and over again. We would ride each rollercoaster or water slide until it was fully taken in. It was like eating a soup and sucking out the marrow out of the bone.

A kid asked me, “Will you be here next year?” I said, “We will see.” He said, “Why do all the counselors say the same thing?” I said, “I do not know where life will take me, so I cannot answer your question.” It was so hard to say, “No.” I don’t want to say, “No.” Who can tell the future so prematurely?

I have grown to love these children in DC. I feel like I am doing something honorable and fulfilling. I will miss the children a lot. Today I felt so great because I feel like I know most of the names of the kids at camp. I was sitting at lunch just talking to the kids that would walk nearby. It is a great feeling when you can call a child and they come to you.

One of my favorite things that I do every morning is take a little 5 year old for a morning walk when he gets to camp. One day he wanted to explore what was behind some stairs around the backside of the church. So I took him exploring. We would walk and smell flowers and I would ask him different colors of things he could see. One day there was a counselor reading behind a window. So I threw a rock at the window to get her attention so we could wave at her. Now the little guy wants to throw rocks at every window. It is so cool that every morning he comes to me and wants to go for a walk.

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May 17
Right now Lisa is in Spain on a mission trip for six weeks. I miss her terribly. Our engagement anniversary is coming up! I wanted to repost our engagement story. Here it is:

Preparation: 
I cut 161 paper snowflakes to represent the days we have been dating.  Two white roses to represent the two years we have know each other.  A bouquet of sunflowers and a dozen yellow roses to represent how her friendship has been a joy to me.  A bouquet of 6 calla lilies to represent the months we have been together.  A bouquet of two dozen roses to represent my love for her.  21 candles to represent the weeks we have been together.  A bottle of her favorite wine and a curry chicken dinner.  

Lisa came over my house around 6 PM.  (When I left for California she gave me a journal for my trip and she wrote in the first page).  I gave her the two white roses and I said that I had prepared a journal for her for her mission trip to Spain in July.  In the back ground I had the song “Green Eyes” by Cold Play playing in the background very softly (a special song for us).  Then she sat down and starte reading the journal I made for her.  It had three chapters.  The first chapter was how we started hanging out again after I returned from my bike trip last fall and how we started dating.  The second chapter was about how I fell in love with her and the first time I told her that I loved her.  Then I told her to close her eyes and follow me to the dinning room table.  When she opened her eyes the table had the three bouquet of flowers, the 21 candles, the wine, rose pedals and snowflakes on the table, floor, and snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.  Then I told her to read the third chapter and it was about what I looked for in a wife.  Then I told her to rip open some pages that were taped together.  I had hidden the ring in the pages by cutting out a square in the pages and put the ring in the middle.  She was balling and then I got on one knee.  I wanted to say some eloquent words I had prepared, but all I could say was:  “Lisa will you marry me.” 
She said, “YES!”  She was crying and I was so moved I didn’t know what hand to put the ring on.  (In the Arabic culture you put the engagement ring on the right hand).  So I had to ask her which was her right hand.  It was so perfect.

After that we cooked the best meal I have ever puttogether.  It was one of the most memorable moments in my life!

Moments of Grace
This summer I am working at Camp Heaven. We just finished our second week of camp. The camp was a lot harder than I expected. We had lots of fights and even a kid pull out a gun and threaten to shoot somebody. The good thing is that it turned out to be a fake gun. The event shook up some of the campers and counselors at the camp.

In the middle of the fighting there were moments of grace. At a local pool one of the kids outside of the camp went up to a counselor and asked here if we were from a school. She said she noticed how the adults played with the children. The funny thing is that we stuck out like a sore thumb because the adults from the camp were the only non-blacks in the whole pool. I remember walking to get the van from the parking lot and a group of kids passed me and shouted in a suffer style tone of voice, “Hey dude!” I guess they thought if I wasn’t black, obviously I was white. The little girl inquired from one of the adults why we were there with the kids. The counselor said we were part of a camp that taught kids about God. She asked if God was a man? The child explained that she did not know God and that her family never prayed. I believe if this girl can see a difference in the adults then the kids that we work with also see a difference.

There were other moments of grace. I remember playing for half an hour Sorry with some guys that usually get into trouble. The last day we had an altar call for kids that wanted to begin a life in God. The pews were almost empty as the children came up for prayer. A pastor from the housing project was revived as God opened his eyes to new things. I saw a mother crying and asking for prayer in the middle of conflict with children. There was a child offering a hug after being encouraged because she was hurt from the insults thrown at her from another boy. Grace is apparent in seeing a child being fed his only meal that day.

Were we doing the right thing for these children?

Some felt like we had not seen a visible change in the kids. Then Jen Korth, a staffer that works in the community year round said, “I remember when Larry lost his mom two years ago. He does not have anyone to love him when he goes home. These two weeks we are with the kids do very little to change the kids. They return home to an environment that is much harsher than our two weeks. Change takes time and sacrifice.”

WOW!

TIME AND SACRIFICE.