Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rest...what is Rest?

I'm sitting here with one of our kids at the program. I can hear a couple of the girls yelling at each other about their "webkinz" pets in the computer lab. It's almost a comforting sound to me cuz I hear it so often. I'm writing a quick post because the girl sitting in my office is stuck. We can't get ahold of her mom, so we sit here, impatiently waiting for her so we both can leave. Which brings me back to the other girls, who are waiting on me...they are coming home with me after program.

Anymore, they take it upon themselves to come over and hang out any time they want. I tell them no, not tonight...and somehow they always manage to squeeze a ok, just a for a little while out of me. It's that whole boundaries thing that I keep trying to work on and it's just not working that well.

Rest...oh how I long for it! I realize how tiring and draining my job can be at times...yet, I know that I have absolutely nothing to complain about. I am blessed to love my job more than most. And, Im blessed because I am doing what God has called me to do, and like one of my favorite author's once said, there is no safer place to be than in a place doing God's will.

The phone just rang, the mom will be here in ten...I'll be leaving as soon as she gets here, leaving with 4 kids in tow. My back kinda aches and i'm sleepy as heck, but I thank God for another day...another moment to share his love with four beautiful children.

God bless you all.

Friday, July 25, 2008


Prayer. Definition: an act of communion with God or a reverent position made to God.

Martin Luther King Jr once said "to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."

Since moving to Chicago, I find myself praying more and more. Throughout the day, I am learning to be in constant prayer with Jesus, for I need his strength and patience more and more as I work with these beautiful children. Lately, there have been a few children that have really been struggling. Either with their own demons or their families' demons. It's rough to see children at the young age of 11, 12 years old having to deal with so much stuff on a daily basis. Although their strength amazes me, I know a lot of it is the fact that they have to be strong, or else they will quit life.

These children, they need your prayers. They are such wonderful kids, with hopes and dreams, desires and passions, just like all of us. Yet, they are facing things that are way out of their control. Things no one should ever have to I ask you, no...I beg you to pray for them. Pray for God to work miracles in their lives, to protect and guide them, and to show them that they are not just their circumstances, but they are precious and valuable for they were made by and for God.

Also, pray for me. As the end of summer studies draws near, I would like to be as refreshed and excited as I was when summer studies first started. I don't want to check out these last couple of weeks.

I love you all. May God bless you richly and continue to guide you to do his will!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008




Saturday, July 19, 2008

2 in a day...WHOA

Okay, so I know I already posted today...but I wanted everyone to read this reminds us all that poor miniorities are suffering greatly academically...check it out!


There are some days when I walk away from work thinking, man did I totally fail today. I am one of those people who take their work home with them. I usually come home and I don't think about the good things that happened but I think about the times throughout the day that I could have done this or that better or at least differently. I think about the moment when I snapped at this kid or was quick to judge this other kid's motives or I should have done this instead of that. And I come home feeling almost like I have failed not only my kids but God as well.
Minstry is hard that way. Sometimes I think to myself, am I really doing all I can? Did I reflect Jesus when I was talking to this kid or disciplining that kid? Did my tone really reflect Jesus or did my attiude show Christ's love? How about when I did this or that?

And so often...I walk away thinking, man did I fail today! I am a very passionate and genuine person, so most of the time, I wear my feelings on the outside. I get home and I second guess every time I disciplined or child or how I treated this kid or that kid when something arose. And I sit and I think to myself at times...I failed to show Christ's love.

I have learned so much and I'm learning right now that this situation that is arising is because of two things. One, to show me, for the millionth time, that I can do NOTHING without Jesus. Since I have to be at work much earlier than I did in the school year, I've been less inclined to spend some time with God before work. Somedays I do and somedays I don't. But I've realized that I am nothing and I can do nothing without him. It doesn't matter how much people think I'm good with kids or how "great" of a worker I am, I can't do it without him. I learn the hard way somedays. I have to die daily to myself and ask him to guide my words, my thoughts, and my actions throughout everyday.

The second thing is pretty profound to me. I've learned that when I fail, it's the best time to go back and show these kids who Christ is. I need to let them see Christ's mercy and forgiveness. This is something more powerful than anything else I can show them. These kids need to see that I am a sinner and yet, Christ still loves me. I am a failure, yet Christ loves me and he loves them too. Jesus forgives all of our sins, no matter how many times I mess up. I need to let my kids see me with a broken heart and hear me say that my sins are forgiven. My kids mainly absorb that christianity is a list of dos and don'ts but they need to see that Christianity is living for a God who forgives our sins, no matter what, and knowing that he will forgive theirs as well. They need to see that we Christians mess up but then we can come back and say, forgive me because I messed up...and praise God that he has forgiven me as well!

Yes, I fail. Yes, I am definitely not perfect. Yet, God tells us over and over again that he is with us and nothing can make him stop loving us and he will always forgive. He even goes so far as to tell us that when we are weak, then he is strong. When I am weak because I just can't do it...that's when he is with us the most. When we recognize that we are nothing and that we can do nothing without him, this is when our kids will take notice. My kids don't want to know another thing they have to do or know another thing they can't do...they need to know that they are loved, despite it all and that they were made for something greater than theirselves.

So, next time I time I know i've just screwed up big time with them...I will go to them with a broken heart and tell them about how even though I've messed up, Jesus loves me just as much as before. And how he has forgiven me and that if I can be a Christ-follower as often as I screw up, then anyone...even them...can be too.

I know i'm probably not the best to give advice, but I will anyways lol. I've learned something about being someone that youth look up to for guidance and so I tell you as a person who loves God more than anything else in the world and who desires to show that to my kids... If you mess up, don't be afraid to go to your kids or to your family/friends or whoever it is and tell them about the greatest gift in the world...God's mercy and forgiveness...I will...for I am a clear example of how God can love the worst of sinners.

God Bless you all!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Goofy Faces

A normal day at Breakthrough :)

God bless you all!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Field Trips

Every week we take our group on a field trip. Val, Seth, and I spent many hours debating on where to go. Because our group is the oldest, we wanted to take them to fun places, of course, but more importantly places where they can learn as well. This week, we had the pleasure of taking them to a college.

We took them to North Park University located on the northside of Chicago. It's a small college, like most colleges in Chicago, but beautiful nonetheless. I was a little nervous about taking them to a college, thinking they might think it was boring and stupid, but they loved it! There were a few, of course, that were bored but mainly because they chose to be. We first went to their main building and talked to a guidance counselor. She talked about what to do before entering college (study, change your email address from to something more appropriate, lol, and other things) and then we talked about the school and the different majors they offered. After that, we went on a tour. The students loved the tour! They got to sit in real classrooms, go to their gym, their health facility, and other things. The only thing we didn't get to do is see a dorm room. One of our boys even got to meet their basketball coach (he told him to GROW lol).

By the end of the day, most of the kids had decided they were going to some day go to college there! I left thinking, wow.

I was so glad we picked a college. These students, they really need to see what college looks like. They need to know what they need to do to get into college and just as important-that they can go to college. I really really thought, this makes a difference. How many kids in our neighborhood at 13, 14 years old have visited a college? How many know what a "degree" is and that there are scholarships out there for them? Our kids know this now! And, I left the university thanking God for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

And, I hope thats what life here for me in Chicago is about. The moment I start thinking about myself, thats the moment I get tripped up. I sometimes complain about how little money I have or I'll think about how much I miss my nieces...but I am reminded that the day I chose Jesus, was the day that I died to myself. Moving to Chicago and living here, in the 'hood and working with urban youth, i'm picking up my cross...sometimes it feels heavier than other days, but thats why Jesus is always there to help me carry it.

God bless you all! I pray that you, wherever you are find something that you can be a part of that is bigger than yourselves. I think thats just what this world needs a little more of...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Smile for the Camera :)

As we enter the 3rd week of summer studies...I thought i'd share a few pictures i've taken over the past week...hope you enjoy!

They growin up!

Eatin ice always ;)

Ducez! Doesn't she have the most beautiful smile?

Lol...too cool to smile :)

God bless you all! Hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Good Lame

Here's how a conversation went today with me and 2 other girls on our field trip:

G1: Shasta, you a lame
Me: Um...okay
G2: Well, maybe but she's a good lame
G1: Whatever...she's still lame
G2: Yeah, but's a good lame...she cool, it may not be much of a compliment, but i'll take it! :)