Monday, September 29, 2008

Community Helpers

One of my favorite things I get to do every week is hang out with kids that live in one of the government housing communities in the town where I work. Many of the kids are dirty, smell bad, wear clothes that don't fit them, and I never know when they've last had a bath. But they never cease to melt my heart. I love these precious angels.

On Sundays, we go to the community building in their community and hang out with them for a thing called Kids' Club. We love on them, play games with them, give them a snack, and tell them about Jesus and his big love for them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we gather together for Homework Helpers and invite the kids to get help with their homework. We've been doing Homework Helpers for just over 2 years now. And it's amazing the work that God is doing-- I've been around this community for almost 3 years now-- 3 years ago, almost none of the kids were in the grade they were supposed to be in. They were getting held back, were in remedial classes, and were just struggling in school. Sure, some of the kids are still struggling in school. But last year, not one of the kids that comes to Homework Helpers was held back in school. I cannot even tell you how exciting that really is for me. For them. For their families.

One of the things we've been doing lately on Sundays is being intentional to challenge the kids to serve others-- to serve those in their own neighborhood. So one Sunday per month is dedicated to doing a service activity together. We've made cards for the shut-ins in the neighborhood-- and had the kids hand-deliver them. We sold lemonade to raise money to provide homes to homeless families in Kentucky.

Yesterday, we picked up trash in the neighborhood. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of trash that litters the streets and sidewalks of this community-- cigarette packs and beer bottles are everywhere. Coke cans litter many of the front yards. I almost dreaded telling the kids what their project was for the day. Who would be excited to pick up trash?! We gathered the kids together and explained to them what we would be doing. We reminded them that when we serve others, we are serving God. We reminded them that we have a responsibility to take care of the earth God created, and picking up trash was one way we could do that. We shared with them some other things, and off we went.

I've never seen a group of people so EXCITED to pick up trash. They were having the BEST time with it. They were smiling, and practically stumbling over one another to be the one to pick up each piece of trash. It was great. And as we marched through the neighborhood, there were residents sitting out on their front porches-- drinking sodas and throwing the empty cans down on the ground. The kids raced up into their yards to pick up the trash that had just been thrown down. All while exclaiming with glee, "I'm a community helper! I'm taking care of God's earth!"

There were other kids outside playing as we walked around cleaning up. They looked at us with curiosity-- I mean, we were REALLY having fun! One little boy practically fell off his bike when he saw us coming, wondering what it was we were doing.

I definitely saw Christ in those kids yesterday. And I wanted to share it with you.



Angela said...

Awesome Kelly! How fun to spend your day serving and watching God's children serve the Earth. How inspiring they are.

Shannon said...

This is a beautiful post. You seem to really have great kids, and I'm glad you get to work alongside them to help God move in a big way, in a place where there is big need.

Becca Barnes said...

Great post! I read it just the right time in my brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for giving me a hint of the passion you must feel.

Shannon Goran said...

Kelly - I miss the kids so much. I'm excited things are still going strong and picking up trash in the neighborhood was a brilliant idea! Keep the updates coming from Kid's Club and Homework Helpers. David and I finally put up a 'contact us' page on our blog - hope this answers your questions.