When I look at those names above, I think of a creepy kids show, some cartoon cheerleaders and a a hot drink on a winter morning, however that list of names is so much more than that! It’s just a few of the kids who I met last night, (of course they all have real names) and Miss Coco is my new nickname, because clearly you can’t hang with these kids unless you too have a nickname!
It started with a few pieces of sidewalk chalk that I handed to one kid who was playing outside my house and then I was standing in what will soon be a prayer and quiet room at my house looking out the window and it was like my dream came true, there were 8-10 kids all playing along my front steps (shame on me for not having my camera!), then I dug around in my car and found a couple of footballs and a few of my friends (and 5 local police officers who were on walking detail) showed up and we spent close to two hours playing outside and getting to know the kids.
When I made the decision to really follow God’s plan for my life and agree to move into the community I would be serving in, I honestly wondered how I would be received there. I wondered if the neighbors would love or hate me. I will say that on the surface the decision to move to what most refer to as “the hood” was an easy decision, however I would be lying if I said that there were never moments when I thought to myself what in the world am I doing? But last night as neighbors came out of their homes to meet me, and tell me how excited they are that I am coming to live among them, start a program for their children and dream big about the things that could happen in their community through a local church, I realized I had nothing to worry about.
As Ms. Ida stood on my porch and told me that they were going to be blessed to have me and gently reminded me to say my prayers last night, and as ‘Tae a 20 yr old single daddy with a desire to play basketball at Towson University and get is business degree and write some Jesus Raps for me this summer told me that he was going to make sure no one bothered me, and as 5 yr old Pee-Wee told me I was his best friend, my decision to move forward and make that little home on N.Luzerne my home was even more confirmed. Yesterday morning I got to my house and I stood in my bedroom and looked out over the street, prayed for my neighbors and started to dream about the things that are going to happen in my house, about making PB&J’s for the kids who will make my back patio there second home, making cookies for Ms. Ida and Ms. Carolyn and inviting them over for coffee and bible study, and spending time with T a 25 year old mentally disabled woman who begged me last night to have a bible study just for her!
I wish right now I could tell each and everyone of you this story in person, so you would understand the excitement in my heart, I wish I could bring everyone of you to my new house so you could experience the love there, I wish that for one minute we could trade hearts and minds so you could see what I see when I pull down this block. I’ve been spending a lot of time explaining to people why I’ve made the decision to move THERE, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard in the past few weeks, oh that’s where your new house is, or is that safe, or I can’t believe you would give up your current house, but what these people are failing to realize is this is a calling on my life, this is what it means to sacrifice for Christ, and last time I checked following Christ wasn’t supposed to be comfortable or easy.
So would you join me to today in praying for the Peewee’s Buttercup’s, Bubble’s, Ms. Ida’s and Tae’s of my neighborhood? Would you also join me in praying for the police officers who spend their evenings doing walking detail up and down the streets of this neighborhood that they will be protected, but that they will also continue getting to know the kids and engaging them, and finally would you praise God with me for this amazing opportunity?
Photo: My new BFF Pee-Wee!