We have completed the first month of the new year. Wow, did we breathe, did we get a chance to enjoy it?
We had a special time with our new friends from First Methodist Church, Crowley, Louisiana last weeken. I think Krysten said there were 26 including the youth and their leaders. They arrived around noon on Friday. Mr Scott L got them settled in at the Warehouse and then took them over to the center, where Krysten led the show. They worked tirelessly until supper and then came back Saturday morning for more. Momma T, Krysten, Lomax and others fixed a yummy breakfast of pancakes and bacon for them as they started their day.
The leaders wanted all the youth to go with us on our outdoor visits, so they loaded up their bus and followed Mr Scott and others in the van. What a treat to expose the young people to a life where our friends live without walls. Leroy was at Smokey's camp and showed them some of his creations. The kids loved his art and bought all he had. As we were leaving, the children asked if they could take pictures with each of the guys. You should have seen the tears of joy coming from the children and leaders as they were sad to leave their new found friends.
The group worked all day Saturday until we concluded with a gathering in the chapel. Gus had pulled in to pick up his group for his supper, so we asked him if he would share his story with the youth. He did and the tears began to flow. Krysten got up and shared her story and more tears. Michelle and Pat were there and shared their story about the New Room, emotions welled up in all, Ms Patty shared her story about the garden and where God is leading her, Momma T told us what she felt about adults. Our chapel time was not planned but we just allowed the Holy Spirit to flow. What an uplifting time for all. My soul was filled with God's special lvoe.
Our community is growing up. Monday, we had a situation that needed to be taken care of concerning some of the children. Another learning experience for both. Krysten led the discussions and the young adults, who are leading our afternoon activities, got together and shared what needed to be done and it was taken care of. Great job and reassuring to know our afternoon times with the children are in good hands. Wednesday's weather was so pretty, we stayed outside, played kick ball, walked Ralph and played games, very nice.
Monday afternoon, I met with Pete to talk about our chapel times. Lots of great thoughts and exciting possibilities in our future. Ms Abbie and her pastor will led our chapel time in February. Ms Dorothy and her pastor will led us in March.
Tuesday evening was again another blessing to be a part of our men's Bible fellowship. Matt reads, asks a question and off we go. What is so great about our gatherings, is each man is feeling more comfortable with each other and they are beginning to share what is on their hearts. We come from different backgrounds, so it is great to hear and learn from each other. Great discussions started from what a neighborhood friend shared about the flesh and the soul.
Wednesday evening, Joey and I went out to the New Room for a visit. Pat had called, asking us if we wanted to share in a blessing. He had backpacks full of stuff someone had donated for our outdoor friends. It was good to see some old friends and meet new ones. We talked to Michelle and Pastor Chuck about the camps and how we can work together to be sure everybody is looked after.
Ms Abbie told us Wednesday, Ms Ruby Horton's funeral will be this Saturday at 11am at the Patterson Funeral Home. The funeral home is located at 1220 North Herne Ave. Ms Abbie, Joey and I will meet at the center around 10:30 if any of you would like to join us. Ms Ruby has been a friend of ours for many years. She was one of the first to be a part of our community. She was always helping out. Her health had been declining for several months but she still came over to the center when she was able to get out. Her smile and special heart will be missed.
Did not think we had a big crowd Thursday for supper, but Krysten said we fed over 80 people. They were slow arriving. Someone mentioned they might have thought we changed our time to 5:30. Last week with chapel we did, so need to remind the folks we still serve at our regular time. Had some new friends show up and helped serve. Some old friends wash the dishes. We got some coffee mugs from Pastor Rich and his company, so everybody got a new coffee mug along with their groceries. Mr Scott got some grapefruit from the Food Bank, so the bags were fuller than usual.
Joey hosted our time together Thursday night, allowing us to sit in silence as he read the Lord's prayer, with other versus telling us about the uniqueness of our God. We all have a tendency to talk too much, to ramble on about what we think about things, not allowing God to be heard. Having a time where we said nothing, listening to God's words about how to live our lives, was awesome and inspiring. Thank you Joey for allowing God to use you and being the kind of prayer warrior we need.
Prayer concerns. Byron asked for prayers for his family here in town and in New Orleans. James' mom in her upcoming knee surgery. One of Dr Phil's daughters, Charlotte. She is back in the states for a month making plans for her future. William to denia the temptations of addictions during the first of the month. Prayers for our nation as God seems to be taking a back seat and sin is becoming more and more prevelant. Prayers for Ms Sarah and Mr Scott as they lead their youth this weekend in the 30 hours of famine. Prayers for Beth's step mother.
Prayers were lifted up for Lomax. Joey read a note from Lomax, telling us about his upcoming bicycle trip. Lomax will be leaving February 21st, on a bus to California and then riding up the west coast. Very excited for Lomax. If you have any family or friends in that area, let Lomax know, he will need places to stay. What stories he will have to share when he gets back.
As I talked with the leaders of our Crowley group, I began to realize how special and unique this place is, we call Common Ground. Often when you live day to day and are living a life devoted to God's will, you don't feel any different. It is who you are. This community is different and special because you have allowed God to work through you and you have touched other lives. Krysten said, the time she spent here several years ago, changed her life. Now she realizes, it was not this place, but it was God working through us, that changed her life. This community is living, breathing, constantly changing, just like a baby. Every day is different, every day presents a challenge, every day has a blessing. Speaking for me, I am very selfish and I need these experiences in my life. To see children run up to you, giving big hugs are a blessing. To see our community come on Thursdays, proud to wear their new common ground shirts is uplifting. Taking our community home, picking them up for activities is special.
Seeing new friends experience what we do every day, seeing the tears of joy and excitement is overwhelming.
This community is unique because you allow God to work through you. It is not about us as individuals but about God as a Body. We may think we know how things should be done, but God has His way. We are allowing God's ways to flow through us, not ours. I am realizing, in the end, if we live a life following God's will isn't it better! If I take me out of the picture and put God in the picture, then things seem to flow better and living takes on a whole new meaning. We don't have time to worry about our problems because God needs His Kingdom to be built. Living a life for God is one where blessings flow and amazing things happen.
Let's start this week, living a life where God's will is how we do things. Let's start this week by being quiet and listening for God's voice. As we heard last night, in the silence of prayer and meditation, God is there for us, we don't have to go looking around the corner, go read a book, He is there, He is in our hearts, we just have welcome Him in.
Have a great weekend. Have a great week. Amen.