The delinquent blogger…
I’ve been utterly terrible at blogging this summer, but hopefully as things settle into more of a routine this fall, I will be better about blogging. So that a big chunk of our lives is not excluded from this blog, I’m going to give a quick recap in the form of “praises” and “petitions” to sum up the summer. Praises for the good things, but petitions for the hard things that are still matters of prayer.
->I have made it through a tiring, yet good first trimester of our third child, nicknamed Iverfive, until this little one is welcomed into the world. For the record,Daniel Josiah has declared that its a boy.
-> We had a very successful six weeks of summer camp, that was almost completely run WITHOUT Danny or me being involved. This is excellent! Other people are stepping up and that frees Danny up to do more networking and vision casting and frees me up to be mommy.
->We had several interns here this summer-Danny’s brother, Mark, and his sister Martha. Plus Lindsay Pearson from Virginia. It was SOO nice to have other people laboring and bearing the burden with us, not to mention the fact that I actually had GIRLS around me (after 2 1/2 years of testosterone overload both in my house and in the ministry)
-> My sister, Betsy, has been living with us for the summer and she has been a wonderful listening ear, and a great encouragement. She’s been working full time with another nonprofit in our city.
-> The summer camp employed neighborhood teens to be counselors, which kept nearly twenty teens off the streets for a good part of the summer and taught them about work, maintaining a job, and provided some income for them.
->Daniel Josiah, Trinity, and I took 9 Newark youth to a week long camp in PA. It was wonderfully refreshing for me and the kids (to be in nature and enjoy fellowship with the other leaders) and it was a great week for the youth to grow closer to Christ.
->Danny and Safe Haven have received several awards from the city of Newark. Danny’s name is known throughout the city circles as one who is a hard worker and advocate for our youth. Danny and I were also invited to see a Broadway play with Mayor Cory Booker and other city officials. (see picture). It was quite the honor and treat.
-> 25 Newark youth, most of which were the counselors for the summer camp, went to a VERY spiritually intense summer camp. There were several confessions of faith and it was sooo exciting to see how on-fire these youth were when they got back-initiating prayer, confessing sin, wanting to be a witness, etc.
-> Our family plus one other leader took 16 youth down to Haymarket, VA to lead the VBS at my dad’s church. They all did a great job and worked really hard. They were amazed at how well behaved the suburban kids were 🙂 and I believe it was very refreshing for them. It also gave them a glimpse of how life is lived in other places (not so much drama, crime and craziness). I believe it was very eye-opening for them.
->The church bought another parsonage for the pastors. One pastor will be living in the downstairs apartment, our teen boys will be living in the basement apartment and we will be living in the upstairs apartment. Can I hear a resounding “Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!” ? We are very much in need of a space and a home that is OURS especially with this third child on the way.
->We had a major domestic violence situation arise (see danny’s last update email) It resulted in many late nights of trying to help the family and the father who was abusing. It has been extremely taxing on the family and others who have tried to support this family of seven children.
->I have had a nearly-three-month-battle with lice that I caught from one of our kids in the neighborhood. HOURS have been spent trying to rid my head and our home of these pesty parasites, but seemingly to no avail….This has been a major lesson of not relying on self to get a problem taken care of AND the value of persistent prayer (still waiting for God to work…).
->We have had a MAJOR thieving issue this summer. My engagement ring and wedding band were stolen out of my cosmetic bag in our bathroom. One of the many kids or teens who had used our bathroom took them (our bathroom has basically been a public restroom this summer). The church offering was stolen out of a hiding place in a drawer in our home office. Thankfully we found out who did it, but AFTER all the cash was spent. Plus, Martha’s cell phone, Mark’s computer mouse, a youth on a mission team’s $250, a girl’s $80 out of her purse, and many other small things have been stolen this summer from either our house or the church property. The rings and the offering were the most devastating to our spirits. And more devastating than that is, the fact that all of this thieving has happened by kids and teens that are IN the ministry. Its not outside people breaking in…its kids we’ve opened our home and our church and our hearts to.
->Stupid things that kids do, like intentionally clogging toilets in our church, trashing the church and safe haven, standing on top of cars and breaking our church van’s windshield, etc are little things that add up to chip away at your sanity.
->The man who was abusing his family got out of jail and then tried to get back with his family, despite a restraining order. Danny went over to intervene and ended up getting pushed over twice and repeatedly hit in the face. He was sore for a few days and still has the remnants of a large bruise on his side, but other than that he is ok. We both see the sovereignty of the situation and ordeal. The 10 year old boy who usually got the brunt of the beatings, came up to danny after the father had been arrested again, and said “Pastor Danny, thanks for taking those punches for me.” At least the father is going to be locked up for a long time now, with no chance of bail and the family will be safe.
->Shortly after all the stuff was stolen and danny was beat up, I had a major break down (its become a yearly-end-of-the-summer tradition) This breakdown was not a sweet crying breakdown, but rather a hitting the wall, screaming at the top of my lungs breakdown. (followed by an hour of weeping). At 1:30 am , after the crying had subsided, danny said “pack your bag, we’re leaving”. We left the kids with Martha and spent twelve hours at a hotel to just be alone, to talk, to pray, to journal and to read. The time was refreshing and sweet, but the conflict of emotions aren’t all worked out yet. I know my own sin and selfishness played the biggest role in the ordeal, but the rawness of it is still there. Sometimes I feel that living with constant people in and out is going to turn me into a hermit by age 30. I will say this, I experienced an all new “poorness of spirit”…the feeling of being totally bankrupt of any good intentions, loving feelings, or a desire to serve anyone in and of myself. My only hope for this calling of innner-city wife, mother, laborer is the Lord incarnate IN me through the Holy Spirit.