This summer, I have been learning a lot. I can feel the ache of growing pains as the Father has been molding my life. It seems that everything I've been learning has a resounding theme; God's love must be expressed in its fullest through an incarnate life.
Through life shared with our community, this new found truth has been utterly exposed. You see, incarnation isn't nuclear science. It's being present with people. It's taking kids to get ice cream at McDonald's and listening to what's going on in their lives. It's simply loving people where they are and for who they are.
I believe that if we want to bring restoration to our neighborhoods, we have to love others authentically. We must be willing to let down our guards, open up to our neighbors, and build friendships on the basis of God's love. Friends, if we forget to love, how on earth will shalom be brought to our lives and the lives of our neighbors?
Yet, I must warn you; loving people is not for the faint-hearted. We are a broken people and life gets messy quickly. The thing is, we shouldn't shy away from sharing life with people because of this brokenness. Why? Because it is in these vulnerable, interdependent friendships that God shows up. It's in the midst of sharing life together that He reveals our need for Him and stands in the gap with His grace.
So, dear friends, embrace your neighbors. Love them truly and allow the redemptive grace of God to bring restoration in your lives. May God be with you.
In other news:
- "I can't _________." The Lord led Teens Adelante at summer camp last week to fill in that blank. Confessing their fears, they are now saying, "I give it to you, I trust you," in areas they never have before. Please pray for the journey for the group in overcoming the areas in their lives that they are holding fear, where they have been saying "I can't" for a long time. They are trusting that "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength." Phil. 4:13
- We are praising God for meeting the genuine need of a couple of families in our community for air conditioners over the past week through our network of contacts and in ways that dignify the recipients. Each week brings many opportunities to demonstrate compassion, and we're committed to promote immigrants' dignity in everything we do. A great book that informs the way we minister is Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton.
- All thirteen Latino kids (8-13 years old) that were invited to apply to participate in Leaders In Training did so, and Latino Children's Ministry Director Megan McDermott is really eager to begin the year with them.
- Praise God for keeping all the teens and sponsors safe and free from injury last week at summer camp.
- Please pray for a young man that graduated high school this spring to receive the financial aid that he needs to begin attending Donnelly College next month.
- Wireless Internet-capable laptops for use by our Leaders In Training during the upcoming school year. It's okay if the battery doesn't work! Contact Megan McDermott at email@example.com Kristen Maxwell at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can provide one.
- Ten 60"x102" rectangular felt-backed plastic tablecloths. We spread them on the floor to use them as "activity centers" for our Bhutanese Children's Outreach. We've recently seen them on clearance at discount stores. Contact Kristen Maxwell at email@example.com if you can provide any of them.
- Thank you, everyone who has donated items to our Resource Center, which distributes clothing, household goods, and food to immigrants in need. If you have items to donate, please contact Molly at 913-281-6274 x5 in advance to schedule a time to make the drop-off. Calling ahead will help us tremendously to keep things orderly around here!
- July 24, 26, 31, August 2: Observation nights. Ever wondered what goes on here on a typical evening of programming? Come on up on a observation night and find out! Tuesday evenings are Bhutanese outreach, Thursday evenings are Latino outreach. Come to 22 S. 18th Street, Kansas City, KS 66102 between 6:30 and 8:30.
- August 12: Summer Parties at Wyandotte County Lake Park, 91st and Leavenworth Road, Kansas City, KS 66109; afternoon. More details TBA.