Milwaukee Update 4
Flexibility has been the theme of this week. it seems we go to bed each night unsure of what we will be doing the following day. The weather changes every two hours making it difficult to plan. We have been making decisions on the hour according to what we are dealt. It is never desirable to be reactive as opposed to proactive, but in this case, we do not really have a choice. We only had half a work day today. We sent the groups back to Adollum and the school. There is so much work to be done at both places, but with the rain it limits what the stduents are able to do. They have made the most of it though. While one group worked on finishing what we started at the beginning of the week, another group prepared one of the floors for future groups by organizing everything on the floor into categories and placing it throughout the floor. The place looks great. It is not what they were hoping for, but once again, the students have been great about not complaining and doing whatever they have been asked to do. Such a great group! The real fun happened late afternoon through the evening. Thursday evenings are the community cookout night that Next Step puts on each week. The kids in the neighborhoods get so excited for Thursdays! The bouncy house is a huge hit, the hot dogs are devoured within minutes, and our students are swarmed by tiny people from the moment they arrive until they leave. We played football, tag, bubbles, face painted, sang songs, danced and were human horses for a three and a half hour period. The students were tired, but loved every minute of it. I think they would go every day of the week if it was offered to them. The neighborhood kids were begging our students to return on Friday. Unfortunately, we will not be able to. We don’t get to see the larger picture. It is difficult to understand how God is at work, or what he is doing as he ministers and loves through us. It is fun to take part in bringing God’s Kingdom, but only being here for a short week does not reveal much. That is why it is so much fun to here stories from those that have been around for years. It gives hope, and it gives a reason to continue serving. Here is an example. The neighborhood where we hosted the cookout, played with the students, and sang worship songs was not such a welcoming place a couple of years back. In a couple of years this neighborhood has gone from having the highest neighborhood crime rate to completely dropping off of the map in the city of Milwaukee. The youth pastor at the church informed us that this past year the church received an award from the FBI, because of the dramatic drop in crime, and the restoration work in the neighborhood. Talk about a story of God’s redemption. We get to be a part of that work!