Amazing 24 hours spent with the Salisbury Uni Campus Crusade team over the weekend. We didn't just reach a goal, we experienced a win. Here's some details and reflections from our time. Warning - long post ahead. Don’t feel bad about skimming or stealing what will work for you.
If you've tracked this project from dream to execution, you know that TayEst is the point person - a college student, totally sold out to both local community impact and global mission, an alumn of SPACE - the local church student missions component I used to be a part of. Loved, loved, loved working with her on this. We already started dreaming of the next step. [Developers....]
Friday night was used to expose students to some of the core core principles we were thinking about for this weekend over an ice cream party. See the pic. The overall goal of the weekend was a tangible report to give to future ministries about what we learned about the community today - a gift to the future. While we did that, we would learn first hand about context, learning postures and engaging the place where we live. See the win sheet for more details.
Saturday morning was a very lightly planned few hours where students would go into the community to serve, engage but mostly listen. We used a thing we call the Matchbox - some tangible tools to help us engage. This was very organic, very experimental. No, I have never done something like this before.
My specific team went to a location called Booth Street, a community of underprivileged and government subsidized homes. While there, we invited a bunch of kids to hang at the park with us while we played football, basketball and had fun. Not a huge group of kids. Booth Street was chosen by the Salisbury team because they already had some students who have a presence there - a weekly kids camp that they run there every Monday afternoon. Becky knew most of these families and their kids names. Oh - Becky and Tayest who run this started this initiative on their own. Right, that's the kind of college student we are dealing with.
All teams met at a local park for lunch and for a quick decompress. Stories included a ton of students engaging the homeless, students not realizing how poverty was all around campus, meeting some homeless that lived in a tent enclave who told them that they were fine and to go help someone else, and seeing the community through new filters. Right there, according to our sheet, that's the win.
The whole team split into two for the afternoon, one team working at Joseph House, another team - the one I was on - worked at Halo ministries. Halo has a ton of stuff going on but the core is a women and children shelter. We sorted through a bunch of donated canned food and some of the guys demo'd some old furniture as well as building some partitions for the shelter area. Amazing story of how they fell into this massive space.
We also heard from Celeste, the executive director. You would never see the visionary in her from the outside but on the inside, she's the executor of dreams and visions for this place. Loved hearing about that - those are the kinds of people the future needs.
We finished the day with more snacks and another recap/decompression. In the next few weeks, Tayest and I will chronicle what the teams found from this day and package it up for someone in the future - church planter, community activist, campus catalyst. [Will make that available when it's ready.] That's our small gift to the future. Ember's big gift to the future is, hopefully, the eruption of some of these students into an amazing trajectory that serves a great world in need. And thanks to those of you that prayed for us on Friday - you are throwing fire with us.
More images here. [Related: Ember Philly Cast, January 2010]