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Monday, October 20, 2008

Keeping the Dialog Going On Poverty

I posted here on how God was leading our family and what God was leading us to do as it relates to fighting poverty in our world. I received this email from a dear friend on some really cool things their church was doing to fight poverty and share the love of Jesus in tangible and powerful ways in their community. I asked if I could post it and they graciously agreed.

This is the kind of thing the Church and people of God need to do more of in our communities, nation and world.

"Hi Seth and Kelly!

Thanks for this great story! We have found poverty right here in the town next door. We are involved with sponsoring about 30 kids with an after school program. This all began with the Episcopal Church that I go to observed that there were all these children in the streets after school let out and had no where to go. Both parents were working and very tired when they finally came home after dark. The church had a room and hired a teacher/actress and another woman to walk the kids from school to the church and there FEED them a good meal and then help them with their homework, then play time until their parents can pick them up. There are computers that were donated where they learn computer skills as well as English. The Mothers have also been learning English.

Other older kids come one day a week and are "big brothers and sisters" to the younger ones. This has been a real bonding for them all. Adults also show up to help with individual homework. Money must be raised to pay the teachers and buy the food provided. We have house parties and invite the community to get involved financially as well as with energy. It has been a tremendous success. Graduates of the program come back and tutor. There is a summer program here too to keep these kids engaged and out of trouble during the months they are not in school. They learn to swim... make things.... become productive. It's been fabulous to watch grow. Our Pastor is a woman who did this same thing down in Hobokin, NJ after 911. She took a drug area and a deserted dog-filled-poop lot and had the Church buy the land and the community built a fabulous meeting place to gather the kids. They even had a dance room with a ballet bar and a wall of mirrors and the Dancers form NYC come to teach the kids. How about that for teaching self-esteem!

This church has also gotten us integrated with the Muslims here who are building a temple. We were invited to their construction site and asked to tell them about Jesus and found that they were most interested with the concept of the Trinity. They are coming to our church soon as well to tell us about Mohammed. Last week we meet for Bible study with the African Methodist Evangelicals (AME Church). We've had two meetings with them at both our churches.... a great way to get to know our neighbors. It's been fantastic, these encounters.
I'm really glad you have found this avenue for your family to get involved too!

Go and do likewise.

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