Saturday, October 16, 2004

Helping Up

My short chronicle, with some hindsight thrown in for good measure, about today. All in all, it went pretty well.
- 8:00am : a call from one of the other leaders stating that the Baltimore Marathon is this morning. In other words, we need to find an alternate way to the Mission and plan for much longer travel time. Not a big deal.
- 9:00am : showed up at the Warehouse. One of the other leaders had booked us to help with some envelope stuffing for the Howard County office for Habitat for Humanity. This lady for HoH was supposed to be there at 9 sharp. Apparently she goes to Grace but didn't know where the Warehouse was. Uh, right.
- 9:00am - 9:30am : kids start to show up. Good crowd, about 18 kids or so. Two no shows, not a big deal, but I wish the two had made it because they are pretty great people.
- 9:30am : HoH Lady shows up. We have 6500 envelopes to stuff. A fold down small envelope, a tear off return slip, a letter to be folded in thirds, all put into one large business size envelope. Yes, that's right - 6500. I'm not exactly enthralled at this point. I tell her we have a baby schedule to keep.
- 9:55am : We leave the Warehouse after a quick, 2.5 minute devotional about God being our rear guard. (It's cool - Isaiah 58)
- 10:30am : We arrive at Helping Up. With great skill and more great luck, somehow we lock the keys in the church van. Right outside the front doors of the Mission. With it running.
- 11:30am : One of our students is able to use a coat hanger and roll down the window to get it unlocked. Remember - Long Reach High School provides a quality education.
The rest of the day was pretty fun, we did some painting for them, a lot of serious cleaning, had lunch with the residents and then had some time in the rec room with them just hanging out.
I think it was a valuable experience overall. Most every student that came was great, they worked hard, loved the experience and was impacted with how really blessed we are. Seeing some of the middle school kids that came was awesome, because one of my goals as a leader is building for the future, and we have to engage middle schoolers now for the future for SPACE.
Looking back, a few key things:
- For the locking the van thing, we should have called AAA, had a leader sit with the van and sent all the kids to go in and do what we were there to do.
- Next time, we should get a list of stuff they know they need before we go, or find out exactly what we are doing there. For example, we could have easily brought boxes of cleaning supplies, painting supplies, etc. and it would have saved them resources for that work.
- Pray more. That kind of place is in the midst of a huge spiritual battle. They run a 12 month addiction recovery program. You can bet there is powers working against each other constantly there.
- Be unwavering in planning about logistics. Specifically, for the envelope stuffing thing, as a leader team, we did not know about all the details, the numbers of envelopes, etc. Had we known, we could have certainly planned much better. Instead, we are stuck with this commitment. I had a SPACE team lunch planned for tomorrow with some other things we needed to get done. Instead, I have to bag those plans to do more envelope stuffing. I'm not very happy about it. But realistically, I should have insisted we flesh out all the details between that task and working at the Mission.
Some good lessons and reminders, just a little bumpy. It was still a treat, a real joy to take a team of kids out to intentionally bless other people.

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