Sunday, July 19, 2009
Sudan Sports Camp . . . Praying for God's vision. . . Oh, and it's another Adventure
Yesterday we organized a sports camp for our Sudan friends in North Portland. They live in an apartment complex with many immigrants and we just invited whoever was outside as we walked to Peninsula Park where we were holding the sports camp. It was a pretty impromptu "sports" camp, very simple outreach to children. To give parents a break and to help children.
We had done similar “camps” a couple of times over the past couple of years; inviting members of the youth group -- where I help and where Rachel and Ryan are members -- to help as well. And Rachel and a couple of her friends have done these types of “sports camps" alone as well.
We got the idea initially for doing a sports camp after going to Mississippi on a mission trip with Rolling Hills, where we partnered with Pastor Jerry’s church --- they would take a church van and drive to the Projects and pick up children and take them back to the church for a sports camp – we loved helping with these. We set up water games and baseball and fed them and just shared the love of Christ.
With the Sudan kids yesterday we played kick ball and the older boys got some basketball games going and we played on the merry go round (which they do not have any more in the suburbs where we live - another column topic) and teeter totter (which they do not have any more in the suburbs where we live) and sipped lemonade and ate pretzels. . .then we bought them dinner before leaving.
It was so much fun to interact with these beautiful children and to see my children be so engaged with children from other cultures. We are worlds apart, north Portland and West Linn, yet they are all just kids who need love and need the hope and peace and direction of Jesus in their lives.
One of the little girls who came with us we met outside the apartment complex – her mom was braiding Nyboni’s hair – Nyboni is Jima’s (our Sudan friends) sister. The mom of the little girl who came to the sports camp introduced us to her mom who is a community organizer of 12 different cultures – which includes various immigrants -- Sudan families and Ethiopians and Russians.
I thought, wow, would it not be neat to be a part of this group of 12 cultures, to get our church involved, or West Linn or both.
Connecting cultures and people, bridging the gap. Bringing hearts and minds together is so much my heart. To share the love of God. And to be there with my children.
It was interesting, because I had considered not going yesterday as I have to get ready for a couple of writing conferences where I am speaking soon. But then I told myself I needed to go, and I was sharing this deliberating going on in my heart and m ind with Breezy and Rachel. I told them that I needed to go, to always keep that vision to reach out to others, to take the time to try to make a difference in the lives of others -- and I need to model that to my children, the importance of always making the time for others.
And I told the kids that I would pray that God would multiply my time if I went as I do have a lot to do, as always (just managing my household with 5 kids at home is a task in and of itself).
I also prayed that God would show me why I needed to be a part of the sports camp (besides just the obvious one of being there to experience this adventure with my children).
And after meeting that woman whose mother is a community organizer of 12 different cultures, I think I know why I needed to be there. Now I am just praying for God to continue to show me His vision for what He has in mind.