Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And so the process begins...

Today Larry (my boss) reminded the teens that I am leaving next Thursday. One girl, Sheila, asked me afterwards if she could talk to me in private. We went into the office, and as soon as I closed the door she started crying. She said that, "she didn't want me to leave, she is going to miss me so much. I have been so influential in her growth this summer, and she doesn't know what to do without me." Of course by this point we're both in tears, and she gives me this strong hug and just sobbed on my shoulder. I told her that I would do my very best to stay in touch with her and we would figure out ways to talk (she has no cell phone, no permanent address, and no access to internet). I told her that I would come back and visit, and she said " I sure hope God brings you back for good, because I need you here." WOW!
I am only writing all this out because it keeps replying in my mind. I know that next Thursday is going to be a very teary goodbye. I'm not emotionally ready for it. I wasn't ready for it today, either. The more I think about leaving the more I feel like i'm supposed to stay. Obviously I have to go back to Chicago and finish my last semester, but after that.... who knows! My grandma told me the other day on the phone, " Don't you leave anything up there when you come home, because you think you're going back...." The more I think about that, the more it feels like i'm just leaving for a short time, then i'll be back. Almost like this has become a second home... I have no idea what God will do in my life, or where he will take me. But right now, i'm feeling more and more pulled back to Detroit. This is so scary, because I came here with the idea that I would be here 9 weeks and that was it, but now...

God has given me so many visions for LifeBuilders, and when I envision the future of their ministry, i'm in that vision. Please pray for me!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Moody friends came to visit :)

My friend Gabby came to visit me this past weekend. It was awesome to have her come experience what i've been doing at LifeBuilders all summer. She was able to meet most of the kids, and she helped me run the Resale Shop on Saturday. We also were able to meet up with our friend Steve (who also is from Moody) and go to a Tigers game. The game was a little boring, just because the Tigers lost, and because it wasnt a CHICAGO CUBS game. But it still was a lot of fun being with great friends!

I'm pretty confident I can say that Gabby and I both were greatly encouraged by each others company and also the company of those that I live near and work with and under. Praise God for LifeBuilders and the work that is happening here.

A God encounter...

This morning I picked two girls up for Bible Study. Lately our Bible studies have been over breakfast at a local restaurant. Today we went to The Original Pancake House. We ordered, they choose blueberry pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes and I had fresh strawberry crepes (sorry to make your mouth water...). Once we ordered we pulled out our bibles and we read the story in John chapter 4 about the Samaritan woman. This story helped lead into so many other questions they had, and I was able to share in great detail who THE MESSIAH is and why HE came to the earth. It was a great study, most definitely. I am seeing the wheels turning in these girls heads as they are learning from God's word. I have seen great growth in their spiritual lives since i've been here.

So here is my God encounter for this morning... The waitress came to our table and asked if we needed anything else, and I told her we needed the bill. She looked at me with a big grin on her face and said "It has been taken care of." I looked at her with disbelief and surprisement, as she pointed behind us. She told us that the couple that had been sitting behind us had paid for our whole bill and said to tell us "God bless!". This was so cool for the girls to see. We have no idea who these people were, but God used them to encourage us this morning.
THEN... as I pulled up in front of the girls house, Cheronda said to me, "Miss Elizabeth, can we pray for the people that paid for our meal?" I said with tears in my eyes, yes that would be an excellent idea. So both the girls prayed and thanked God for the couple and asked God to bless them and encourage them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Camp CedarRidge

These are the nine girls that went to camp with me: (from left to right)
Monae, Danielle (Bunny), Jonay, Shyane, Remnique, Angel, Carmenlita, Angel and not pictured Dajunay.
This was during our campout, where we slept under the stars. This was definitely a new experience for most of the girls. They did very well.

Over all the week spent at CedarRidge was a success. It was a verrrry long week though. There two, sometimes three girls who struggled with major attitude problems, and gave me a lot of problems. It was easy to tell which girls are disciplined at home and which are NOT. When I would "get on their case" about not listening to instructions or about being disrespectful they were very quick to roll their eyes, ignore me, or snap back at me.
I was very happy to head home on Saturday. Even though I enjoyed the week I was completely exhausted. And I missed electricity... yes that is right, we had no electricity in our cabins. I also missed feeling clean.. the whole camp is a sand pit. This being the case, it was impossible to keep buildings clean. Needless to say, this camp is very rustic compared to the camps I have been apart of before.

I learned a lot during the week. I was able to spend a lot of time journaling. I read a lot from God's word, and was able to be corrected through the Holy Spirit. God definitely taught me PATIENCE! I also was taught more than patience, but a new way of WAITING ON GOD. There are so many things going on in my life that I just want to skip ahead to the future and see how it all turns out. Instead God showed me to just enjoy the present and he will reveal the future to me in HIS timing.

I also learned a new way of doing camp. This camp had many activities to offer, more than I have ever had offered to me at a camp. For example, the girls can choose classes to do throughout the week. These classes were: Archery, Mountain Biking, Horses, Canoeing, Rifle shooting, Drama, Swimming, Outdoor cooking, Outdoor survival skills, and the list goes on. I realized that money makes a huge difference in camping ministry. My dream is to open and run a camp someday, a camp designed specifically for urban kids. I would love for them to have these options, so I need to begin praying now for God to place people with these skills in my path.

God taught me a lot, and I was stretched a lot. The girls, overall, had a great time. They also learned a lot about the BIBLE and characters from the bible like Ester, David and JESUS! Praise God for a wonderful week :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Girls going to camp...

These are the names of the girls going to camp. My mom asked me for their names so she could pray for them, but I figured it would be good for more people to be praying for them. I've spent the night making a "care package" for each girl, and making cards for them. I made the cards because that is what my MOM always does for me. Ever since I was a little girl first going away to camp my mom has always written a card and stuck it in my suitcase for me to find once I get to camp or wherever I am going. I'm happy to continue the tradition.

  • Jonay
  • Shyane
  • Danielle (Bunny)
  • Dymond
  • Remnique
  • Dajunay
  • Monae
  • Carmenita
  • Angel
Please pray for their hearts to be open to the gospel and that they would not become homesick. Also pray for them to feel comfortable enough to open up to me about struggles they might be facing.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Thats right, I get to go to camp! I'm driving the van with 10 young girls to a camp about 3 hours north of here. The camp is called Cedar Ridge. They have made it possible for all of these girls to come for FREE! (normally the cost for each camper is $300) At first I wasn't going to be able to stay the week with them, which of course was disappointing for them and also for me, since I loooooove camp. But we just kept praying about it. Many of the girls have expressed that they are scared, and have said they will probably be homesick. Hearing that made me pray even more that I would be able to stay with them, to offer them a familiar face. That prayer was answered when the camp called and said they had a female staff back out at the last minute for the week that we will going. Since I have many, many years of camp experience they decided they would allow me to join their staff for the week. I'm very excited, i'll be in the cabin with the girls and will be able to help lead other program activities. I know how camp can have a positive influence on kids, (just look at me!) but I also know that one bad camp experience can ruin the experience for a child forever. So please pray that each girl would have a wonderful camp experience and would be open to the love of Jesus. My plan at camp is always by the end of the week each girl in my cabin will have heard the gospel clearly presented to her and have been shown love through Jesus Christ. I will be out of touch for the whole week, no internet, probably no cell phone signal. So just be patient and wait for me to return and I will hopefully be able to give you a positive report on CAMP!

much overdue...

I think that in order for this update to not be 10 pages long, I will try and do some bullet points... Lets see, what have I been doing the past 2 weeks..

  • Every morning I pick up 8 children and take them to a day camp. I have a VBS cd that I play every morning, and it is so precious to hear the children sing along with the worship songs. There is nothing like it :)
  • I have continued doing a Bible study with some teen girls. I have had up to 7 girls come, and then only 1 come. I have learned a lot from this experience. Urban ministry is so unique. I drive up to their house in the big van and I never know who is going to come out of the house ready for Bible Study, but I know there will be at least one.
  • There is one girl who has been incredibly faithful to coming to the Bible study. Her name is Cheronda. She is 16 and lives in a small home with 23 other people. She is so hungry for the word, and wants to learn more and more. I have loved getting to know her and we've been able to meet 1 on 1 a few times. She always has deep questions for me, and tells me she wants to learn more about Jesus. I gave her a Bible and she has treated it like it is her most prized possession.
  • I just mentioned above the household that has 23 people living in it. Well that number is probably an understatement. There are so many people who come and go from that house, some family members, others just "friends." I visit this house just about every day, and as soon as I pull up in the van kids just come pouring out of every window (there are no windows or screens) and the front door, which is hanging on by one hinge. Some of the kids are still infants, and they usually have no clothing, not even a diaper on. I always leave feeling so heartbroken. But I believe God is working in and around that house. Several of the kids attend our programs and my bible study. Its more than likely that the house is completely drug infested. That seems to be the only draw that would bring in all the people. Please be praying for this household and all the many people and children.
  • This week we launched our teen Workforce program. We have carefully selected 10 teens (14-18 yr olds), and they will "work" for us for 5 weeks and at the end get paid $450. We are doing some incredible things with this group. Several field trips to local businesses, and museums, and fun days. They will visit a dentist office, doctors office, cabnit making shop, and many other great places. This is hopefully going to widen their perspective about their futures. We're also doing an intense Bible study through the Gospel of John. So far its been great, but pray for their attitudes, since some dont have a great work ethic, some of what we're doing is challenging for them.
Well I think that is pretty good update. I just got a call from a neighbor who needs a ride to the bank.. so off I go. More updates coming soon. Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement.