Thursday, April 25, 2013

Call me, Maybe?

There are a select few kids/teens who have my cell phone number.  I do this because I prefer not to be inundated with phone calls on Saturdays (regarding Super Saturday), or any other day of the week for that matter. 

The past week, I've received a few phone calls from one of our teenagers, Keyon, who just called to tell me about his day, and it has been lovely.   

I've known Keyon for a while, and used to think he didn't like me very much.  He can be quite the story teller. Once I “got wise” to his habit of embellishment, I called him out. I learned it was necessary to be very direct with him, and he didn’t always appreciate my honesty. For this reason, he would avoid telling me things and would often respond to my questions with silence.

Through all of this, I think I gained his respect. He realized he couldn't put up a front with me as he had a tendency of doing.   Now, we have good conversations on a regular basis. Rather than constantly being frustrated with the choices that he is making, I see him growing into a solid young man.

About a month ago, while we were talking about my birthday, the following conversation occurred:

Keyon: Miss Melissa.  I want to get you something for your birthday? What do you want for your birthday?
Me: You don't need to get me anything
Keyon: But I want to, what do you want?
Me: I don't know, something you think I'd like
Keyon: A dress?
Me: What? Do you know me at all?
Keyon: [uproarious laughter]

I love that he knows me. (I’m not much of a “dress person.”)  Even with our limited interactions and my perception that I wasn't his favorite person we’ve grown to understand each other on some level.

It's been fun watching him grow from early “teenager-hood” to now.  I've seen him mature quite a lot, and look forward to picking up him and his brothers for Super Saturday.  Usually, each of them has a story for me when they get in the van, and it's fun to hear what they’ve experienced throughout the week and what they are looking forward to.

Keyon has taught me so much about being open and fully present with our kids.  In the past, I may have dismissed his phone calls or stories just because I was tired or busy.  Now I love that he calls, and all that it means when he does.

~guest author, Melissa K, volunteer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Being Comforted by a Child...

Alf and Malcom

Our theme for Super Saturday this past fall was “Walking With Us.” During the lesson titled “God Never Leaves Us”, I shared a personal story:

When I was a high school sophomore, my family and I were evicted from our home during Christmas break. With such a large family, it was nearly impossible to find a place to stay. A family friend opened their garage to us for a couple nights. It was the middle of winter. While we lay on our beds made of garbage bags filled with our clothes, it felt as though God was nowhere near us. I spoke that thought aloud and my momma immediately corrected me. “God IS with us ALL THE TIME, even when we don’t feel His presence.” 

I asked the kids, “Does anyone know what I’m talking about?” Many raised their hands, others nodded their heads in agreement.  I closed the lesson and we moved on with the evening.

Later, while I was chatting with some volunteers, Malcom, a young man who had hear my story, came walking up. I remember thinking “Why is he standing so close to me?” as if he were invading my personal space. I looked down to see his big eyes looking straight at me.

“Hey, Malcom. What’s up man?” I asked.

“Mr. Alf, I know exactly what you are feeling,” as he looked down and nodded his head lightly. “I know exactly what you’re feeling.”

“What you mean, man?” I asked.

Malcom placed a hand on my arm as if to comfort me and responded, “I know what you are feeling because my family was evicted too, one time.”

WOW! This little guy, maybe 10 years old, was comforting me! Those standing there with me began to tear up at Malcom’s compassion and desire to make me feel better. I looked straight at Malcom and said to him, 

“Yes, you do know what I’m feeling but, God is always there with you. He may have allowed that to happen because he’s preparing you for the future. He’s preparing you for greatness.”

Malcom went back and joined the kids participating in game time, but those few moments he spent with me will be forever held in my heart and mind. God has great things planned for our kids at Urban Family Ministries and I praise Him for continually giving me glimpses of His power and work in their lives.

~Guest Author - Heidi, staff as told by Alf, Executive Director

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Catch up with the happenings and the future...

If you are wondering what has been going on at Urban Family Ministries....

Or you're wondering what might be coming up at Urban Family Ministries....

Here is a great way to get caught up.

April 2013 E-news

Please click on the link above and check it out.