What a whirlwind of a week.
Sunday we had another awesome sermon about suffering and had a chance to reflect on the fathers and fatherly figures in our lives. The church i attend this summer is small, diverse, and God is moving in big ways in the life of the congregation.
Monday my phone was stolen by someone, possibly a parent but maybe just a person who wandered into the church. It was my own fault for leaving it unattended while I trained the volunteers. I was in high hopes that maybe one of the kids had just grabbed it, but I rest confident that is not in the homes of one of my kid’s because I was making pretty good prizes for anyone who found it. Anyways, the new one came yesterday and should be activated by this afternoon.
Tuesday I was able to borrow one of my interns phones to make any and all calls. The kids and programming planned by the interns were both great, therefore I got tons of work done. I planned 2 field trips! We will be going to The Tennessee State Museum ( I’m going today to check it out, I’m kinda realllly excited!) and then we will also be going to The Frist Museum. I know most kids aren’t really into the whole museum thing, but the total cost of both field trips is $0.00 so they’ll have to appreciate what they are given.
Wednesday flew by, but our evening meeting in preparation for week 4 (which means we are one week from being half way done with this new experience! so sad) was tons of fun. My team is really coming together, cracking jokes, and, for the most part, enjoying each other.
And then there was yesterday, Thursday! Our first FAMILY FUN NIGHT! Family fun night is when we invite the kids and their families to all come to the church and share a meal with the interns, church members, and volunteers. WE had over 125 people in attendance and it was adorable to see our kids interact with all of their families. They were so proud of where they came from and really wanted to show their families off. Especially baby brothers and sisters. The interns and I got to see a new perspective of their life. Some of our kids really are their own parents and others have great parents who are just trying to make it with what they’ve been given. It’s a really diverse group.
Also this week we found out as a team that we won’t be able to do home visits which is where the team goes to the kids home and visits in a team on one family basis. When we told volunteers and church members about these ‘home visits’ we would be going on, their faces became blank. Many told me that I should reconsider. After talking to both of my bosses and them looking to trusting advice givers, the conclusion was made that it would be much too dangerous for us to visit their homes. I found out that I’m serving in the most dangerous part of Nashville where there are anywhere between 3-12 gangs represented and gang violence is higher during the summer months. It’s also late afternoon when some of the people who hang out in the projects are either sobering up from last nights intoxication or just beginning that day’s drinking bonanza. There was also fear that we would end up in a situation and have no way out, such as finding drugs in the home or other illegal material and be mandated to report it, which could hurt the relationship that we are trying to build with our families. So when the decision was made to support our relationship with the families and church we decided it might be best to meet with our families upon arriving and bringing their kids to site in the morning and picking them up in the afternoons. Luckily, I’ve also been able to call a ton of our parents and build a relationship with them over the phone.
After this week, it’s obvious that our whole team is falling in love with our kids and this summer is just starting to get good.