Week 8? Maybe?

Well, here it is Week…8? 9? Who knows.

this was my first week back from a really great week of vacation. I took the megabus to KC, bummed around with my really rad friends. I enjoyed just getting to live life with Christine M. Duncan, RN, and celebrate the end of Paige’s hardcore summer research (a 50-some page paper! imagine that. Sheesh!), and hanging at the house with Kalie, Meredith, and Lexie.

Then I hopped the megabus back to St. Louis and bummed around at home. I got to spend a lot of time hanging out with GarriOnn, moving mulch; picking up, dropping off, and moving refrigerators; and making trips to the scrap metal yard where we stood out from the weather-beaten hard-core scrappers who are regulars there. I really loved spending time with him; he’s such a hard-working, funny, awesome guy. It’s cool to see the person God is making him.

And then back to work. We have had teams from Tulsa and Dallas, and they are pretty rad. I even had kids volunteering and rounding up other kids to come to Alpha Terrace, which is always encouraging. It was our last week at Alpha Terrace, and it was a good week, although we had fewer people than usual this week.

A short story from the last day at Alpha Terrace that illustrates how it was most of the time: there was some sort of miscommunication (typical occurrence #1) and I didn’t have volunteers at first so we were late ([semi-]typical occurrence #2). Mr. Al, the dance instructor, got huffy when we were late and left (typical occurrence #3). So we hung out with Miss Barbara and Miss Vernice, and Miss Vernice told me she got a college scholarship when she was 12 (very typical occurrence #4). The people playing Pokino ignored us like always (#5). But then Mr. Al got over his drama queen huffiness (#6), and came down the end. And we had a really sweet time where I got to give them certificates of appreciation for their help (oh which I forged Paul’s signature [lax rules, #7]), and gave some of the regulars personal notes I’d written. It was good to be there. (#8) And Mr. Al thanked me and told me I’d done a good job! Uncommon occurrence, for sure, but I’ll take it!

and now it’s the weekend. One week to go and we’re done! also: I finally started pictures, and I wish had done that way earlier. Oh well. Expect lots of pictures this week!


Weeks 4-6

well, it’s been a few weeks.

and I confess I can’t even remember much about week 4. I seem to have the general impression that it was a good week.

I spent Week 5 in South City, our other site, hanging out with Rhoda and April. The parts with Rhoda and April were quite good. The rest of the week was…rough. The teams had expectations about the week that didn’t line up with the tough, challenging, self-giving week that is required. So, there were struggles, but the teams that have the roughest time often come back the next year, having actually engaged with the issues and the difficulties of serving others, and they actually grow the next year, with a process that started the year before. God can use it all.

This last week was pretty solid all around. Teams from Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Indiana. 55 people. And they were excited to serve! It was lovely.

Also: I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with the City Lights folks lately. They are finishing this next week, and we still have another 3 weeks. Craziness.

And now I’m on vacation! I’m headed to Kansas City to see dear friends from school, and then I’ll hang with the family and sleep lots, and read, I think.

Week 3

Week 3. Kansas, Wisconsin, Mississippi. Boomtown.

Euphemism of the Week: “High-personality leadershipwhich means: Mike Collison, one of the leaders from the Wisconsin team. This was Mike’s 5th year bringing down a team, and he really loves the tutoring kids, and neighborhood kids, and the folks we get to work with. And he does everything with TONS of energy and a great deal of volume. As Andrew said, “If you want to see someone who doesn’t just sit on his butt…MIKE gets off his butt.” He might be a bit over the top sometimes, but Mike loves folks and brought lots of energy this week. Yes, he is the epitome of “high-personality leadership.”

Lecture of the Week: the lecture given me for half an hour by an elderly man at Alpha Terrace on why my major was dumb (“Nonprofits are just professional beggars.”) and why they should have found a better person to do my job. It was a fun half an hour,but, hey, he wanted to give someone advice and criticism, and if that could be me, alright.

Person Who Preached the Gospel Most Powerfully to Me This Week: Sara Delinda White. She listened as I had a meltdown, then made me tell her what the Gospel was, and then just preached it back at me. It is just good news. I will never be more loved and accepted than I am now, at my ugliest, worst moment, and at my best. Thanks for reminding me of that, Sara.

Free Day Activity of the Week: meandering aimlessly around on the moped through forest park, the central west end, etc. Then painting with Susan. It was good.

Addictive Computer Game of the week: Angry Birds.

Whose fault it is: Amy’s. She introduced me to that simple, addictive game, and I spent a lot of my downtime flinging computerized birds at structures. Not okay.

Best and Worst Things About the Week: different days at Alpha Terrace. If my friends come, it’s so much fun and I come back energized and excited. If no one shows up except grumpy folks and I have to take their harsh criticism all afternoon, while trying to keep my volunteers engaged, I come back tired and grumpy and feeling depressed about the rest of the day. Pray that I would learn to love the difficult folks as well as the fun ones, because Jesus didn’t call me to love only fun older people, only the people I like to be around, but also (and especially!) the people no one else wants to be around. More mercy.

Favorite Volunteers of the Week: The lovely girls (and Austen) who helped me at Alpha Terrace and left each day excitedly asking if they could be back the next day. They lived out God’s love and excitement for the residents and reminded me that it’s a privilege and not a job to be there and spend time with these folks. They were awesome.

Well, teams from Texas, Michigan, and St. Louis are already getting here for Week 4. God is good, all the time.

Peace out, yo.

Week 2

Week 2…happened.

Schedule of the Week:

7:15: breakfast

8:devotions that we either lead or contribute to as other interns lead

9-12: tutoring a kid or two as they gain reading/math/writing/etc skills and learn about the Civil Rights Movement

12-12:30: lunch and my crunch time as I announce job assignments and make adjustments on the fly

12:30-3:30: work projects

3:30-5:30: free time, often used to start on the next job assignments

5:30: dinner, made by the amazing Abi

6:30-9: Bible Clubs in church families’ backyards or at apartment complexes

9-bedtime (usually 12 or later): at least a couple of hours of working on job assignments for the next day, prep for devotions, debriefing as needed

Verse of the Week: James 1:19-20-“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” A combination of the collective maturity of 30 kids going into freshman and sophomore year, a second week of short hours of sleep and long hours of work, and my sin, meant that I started dealing with the kids more out of a spirit of frustration and a desire to “fix” them by my own methods. Leadership is tough, and I was learning by messing it up, the balance between calling people out on their sin, challenging them to a higher standard, and giving them mercy, (God’s mercy draws us to repentence) etc.  I always know that I am learning something when I realize that I am messing it up a lot, have to ask for forgiveness, and then try again.


Photo of the Week: none. I haven’t taken any photos yet. I should probably do that. After the (literally) thousands of photos (I think it was around 2,000) I took last summer, I wouldn’t want to finish this summer and have no photographic evidence that it happened. The same thing happened for freshman and sophomore years, though. Lots of pictures freshman year, and approximately 60 sophomore year, most of those photos of articles that I didn’t want to take the time to photocopy.


Evidence That I Am Actually Doing Something of the Week:

The asterisks show that the folks have worked at the church grounds doing yard work, which is something I keep track of because we try to only have folks do that once per week. The pound symbol shows that they have stayed and worked with the tutoring kids in the afternoon for their afternoon work project, which is also something I try to limit once a week, in order to get them off campus and give them some variety.


Missing Interns of the Week: Rhoda and Rachel worked with the team in South City this week; Rhoda will be there for the next four weeks with each of us rotating down to be with her. We really missed them. I missed their laughter and honesty and wise perspectives. So it was wonderful to get together with them on Wednesday night and laugh a TON and cat-call at random folks walking by and laugh some more.

Last Minute Road Trip of the Week: Emily’s plans to take the bus back home to Chicago fell through at the last minute, so we hopped in the car early Friday morning to drive up there. She dropped me off at the Eisenbraun’s house, who were generous to let me crash with them for the night, and I got to explore the second most diverse zipcode in the country over the last day. It’s been great! So, we’ll drive back tonight, and jump right back in with groups totaling over 60 people.

God is faithful, and He is using messed up folks to show His love. I get to be part of it!

Week 1

this was the first week of my internship this summer working with the weeklong teams that come into St. Louis to do justice, learn to love mercy, and survive by walking humbly with God.

we had 60 people come, 1 high school team from Iowa, a junior high team from Illinois and the New City junior high youth group.

I’m dead tired ( a theme of the summer, to be sure), so we’re going to skip to the entertaining stuff, and I’ll try to fill you in on the practical stuff later.

Awesome Inner-City Vocabulary of the Week:

-“on point”- adj. meaning excellent, superior, or great. emphasis always on the second syllable. For example, “Amy Jensen’s cooking is on point!”  or “that song is on. point.

-“extra”- adj. typically used to describe a person who is excessively outgoing, contributing more to a conversation than is necessary in order to bring attention to him- or herself.  For example, “oooo, she get on my nerves! she’s just so extra.”  or “Keith, you just being extra tonight.”

only Rachel (another intern) can pull these off really well, although Emily and Keith do a pretty good job. I am hopelessly unable to use them well. earlier tonight, I said “your boo” about someone’s boyfriend, and everyone who heard me just laughed. oh well. I do really love “on point” especially.

Jesus Sighting(s) of the Week: 

-I was so, so encouraged to go to our old (as of two weeks ago) house/ the Baum’s house and help out with a Bible Club. I saw the connections forming between kids in the neighborhood and the Baums and was reminded that Jesus didn’t come into the neighborhood with us, and didn’t leave when we left.

-our devotional at the end of the week where we split into girl and guys and confessed our sins to each other was so powerful, and I didn’t have a thing to do with it. God worked in the previously-very-quiet group to convict of sin, to have the courage to speak honestly about it, and then I had the opportunity to speak God’s love and excitement and forgiveness over us, even at our ugliest, most sinful moments.

-I saw Jesus in Mary and Dave (two of the Iowa leaders)’s care of their youth group. they are thoughtful and intentional and generous and calm and engaged. I loved spending time with them, and saw Jesus in them.

well, maybe I’ll write more later, bur I’m beat. we’ve already got our second week’s team in, and it all starts again tomorrow!

whoooo! more mercy…