Where to begin? Not sure how to let you all know what is happening around our community?
We can start off with visiting our largest number of outdoor friends on Saturday! Mr Scott and Dr Phil led the expedition as they made their first stop in Stonewall to visit Catfish. He seems to be doing fine, lives in a trailer with electricity, his dogs and chicken! Can't believe the chicken is still alive! Making the drive down to Stonewall put our group later than usual to our downtown stops and everybody was waiting on them. I think Mr Scott said there was 28 friends at the Hamilton stop! Wiped out everything from the van which left very little for the Labor Ready stop. We understand Richard is in the hospital and will be transferred to a nursing home from there? We had a new visitor with us. The new associate pastor of Grace, Chuck Christensen. He has a heart for the least of them and wants to get more involved with us in this area.
Had another great week of summer camp. For those of us at our Thursday night meeting, we received a newsletter about summer camp, complete with pictures. Ms Beth, can someone scan the newsletter and send it out to our group next week? I did get to see some of the left over plastic from Tuesday's water day! Ms Beth posted pictures of the afternoon. Thursday, they went on a field trip to Gators and Friends. To my knowledge, all children made it back, with no lost of hands or fingers! Next week, the field trip will be to Sci-Port. Attendance has reached the maximum with more children wanting to come and be a part of the camp. That is a blessing and also a challenge. Some discussions are gong on, on how to allow more children to become a part of the camp. Again, a great job is being done by our interns and Ms Beth. Thank you all.
Tuesday evening, Gus prepared a meal, and most of the interns, along with Pastor Chuck visited the camps. My heart is so joyful at the thought of these young people taking time to spend it with the least of them. Amazing folks we have.
Wednesday was another recorded breaking crowd at our meal. At 4:45, I said to Mr Tom, we sure have a lot of spaghetti to eat for the rest of the week? Well, by 5:30, we ran out! Joey and Lomax, continue to provide a Bible study time for the children. Allison, did a great job of putting puzzles together with the children. Ellen and her friend Matt, worked math problems on the board. Lots going on Wednesdays and if you are looking for something to do, we could use your help. As I was leaving our meal, several ladies of the community were in the garden picking vegetables, very cool. Thank you Ms Patty and Momma T for your time and lvoe of plants.
Thursday evening, we had a board meeting. I will admit, it is not my favorite part of being in a community, but it has to happen to make things go. It is good to get together to hear from others, their thoughts and ideas. When you see Ms Lisa's two page agenda, you can see how much is going on and the challenges we face. If you would like to read what happened at the board meeting, Amanda takes great notes and will have them ready for review shortly. I will say, everybody is welcomed to join us during our time together, there is no secret hand shake or pass word needed to get in, just your caring heart.
This is a secret, so don't tell anybody, but one of our interns has applied for a job in East Texas for the fall! His pastor and friend, has moved to Longview and there was an opening for a teaching position at Kilgore Jr College. He applied and ended up with two other offers! The interviewing process is still on going, so no decision has been made yet by the college. He wants to start a homeless ministry in Longview and on weekends, he wants to come back and visit us. We are so excited! Remember, this is a secret!
There is a group of young people from various Methodist churches from Texas coming July 8 & 9. They are being housed at Noel and will be doing projects around town. One site will be us. The coordinator will be here this week, seeing what we have. I will meet with them and show them the chapel, with hopes they can paint the walls? Unfortunately, I will be out of town that weekend, so will need someone to oversee them and help out?
Don't forget, this Sunday, at 5pm, Cassie and the Hub community will meet us at the center and talk about our hopes and dreams and how we can work together. I know a lot of you will be gone or busy with holiday activities, but if you can come, please do so. I need to email Cassie to be sure she is coming? If something happens and she can't, I will send out an email.
Also, this weekend, we will have a special friend joining us for a visit? It's been awhile since she has been with us and we are so excited to have her around the community. Please come by and welcome Krysten while she is here!
We talked a little at the board meeting about where is Common Ground going? We tabled the discussions for a later time, but got me to thinking. So much is going on in and around our community, all of it is good, but are we "doing" too much? Each one of us has passions for lvoing others, it is hard for us to say no, but are we doing a disservice to those who we see each week by spreading ourselves too thin? Ms Lisa found a book about non profits and the growing pains experienced by them. She said, she was reading one chapter and she thought she was reading about common ground!
One of my desires is to know everybody's name who we see each week at our meals and try to know their stories. A gentleman walked up to me this past week and he told me his story of needing an extension chord because his electricity had been turned off. I did not know his name, but he comes every week. I should have told him to go to the Catholic Services office at St Catherienes but I didn't think of it at the time and now I have no idea where he lives or how to get in touch with him? We visit, 41 guys on a Saturday in a span of 3 hours, not having a clue who most of them are? We use to go around to the different camps, sit down on buckets or bridge posts and visit, hear their stories and get to know the guys a little, now we are a rolling van store.
I have told Mr Scott, just tell the guys we are stopping these handouts. I do that and don't go. It easy to say stop, when you do not have to look them in their sweaty eyes, drenched shirts and say, we are not coming back. None of us can do that. It breaks our hearts. It is not about us, but about others.
The interns are struggling with how to say no to children. The word is getting out on the streets, there is something going on at this strange building, the children want to experience this unique lvoe, but there is no room in the inn! How can we say no or sorry or we can't do it? We are not made this way. How can God's Kingdom grow if we are forced to say no? It is not about us, but about others.
What if one of the guys we visited on Saturday was Jesus? What if one of the children was Jesus? and we turned them away? It is not about us, but about others.
We talked about spending money on the kitchen, to get it up to code. I told the LANO folks a month ago, we are not spending your money so we can have a nice kitchen, but we want a kitchen where we can train chefs, train waitresses so our community can go out and find jobs. It is not about us but others.
Our task at hand is to figure out, how to make this work? God has a plan. God continues to bless us because we have stayed in His will, followed His path. I believe, these challenges are being created so we can stretch our faith, think outside the box, come up with new and exciting plans. God is bringing new servants to our community to provide a way we can meet these challenges, we need to use those who He is bringing.
Continue to pray, continue to seek His will, continue to dream, continue to support each other, continue to lvoe and all things will be done. I have no doubt about that. I continue to check my patience at the door, remembering from where He has brought me in just a few short years. He can do the same for all of us and our community.
I don't want us to stress over all of these moments, but to enjoy the blessings. We have so much to be thankful for. Enjoy the times we have, the people we meet, the challenges we experience. We have been praying for many years to see what we are experiencing at the moment, a community center for God's people. Now we need to pray for guidance as we get to experience the growing of God's Kingdom.
Please have a safe and happy 4th this weekend. Be careful with those firecrackers! See you around the community. Amen.