Thank you for your support and prayer as I continue to serve in Florida City. I request that you might pray for me as I continue to serve each day that I may be bold in sharing Christ with the kids, families, teachers, and all of the community.
The end of summer was bittersweet because summers are always a great time in programming at Branches because we work with the children each day in learning and serving. Though the summer has come to an end I believe that this school year God is doing something new and amazing. These first two weeks (we are currently in week 2) have been exhilarating! I have the privilege of teaching art each day! Not only art but it also carries a literacy component, which is doubly exciting. Yesterday, a student proposed to Mona Lisa in his letter to her—is that not awesome?
Puerto Rico was a blessed time to revisit friends from Ponce and be reminded of the joy of mission work! What I do every day is missional and a lifestyle but it is nice to go somewhere else and experience it in a new way. There are now two new murals at McCabe Memorial Church!
Triennium was also a great time of reconnecting with old friends and leading a small group where I was blessed by High School youth who wanted to be challenged in their faith and did not settle for easy answers. There was no doubt in my mind that God wanted me to serve that small group that week; I was fortunate to be able to share what I do each day in service and about the YAV program that our church offers young adults!
God is so good! All the time!
And if you are looking for a way to further support me in ministry in a creative fashion, then you may send me gold crayons that will be rewards for good behavior or other fun little things you might think the kids would enjoy.
Thank you and many blessings upon you this day that the Lord has made!
May Mission Update
Hello dear friends and partners in ministry!
It brings me great joy to write a brief update on what God is doing here in Florida City. I recently had the privilege of organizing a second Art Show for Branches that showcased all of the talent and creativity of our kids. With art every week the children have been able to develop skills in drawing and painting and deepen their knowledge of the subject matter by learning what the elements of art are through the various projects we had through out the year. The theme was “The Art Beat” and the art was pumpin’. Many people came to the event and we were blessed with many donations to go towards paying some of the cost of summer camp at Warren Willis, which is an awesome Methodist camp that allows our kids to participate in new experiences and learn about God in a new way.
As the school year comes to an end I am preparing for all of the exciting things we get to do with our kids over the summer. Currently I am planning science experiments for a summer certification class, which will involve one dissection at the end of the summer (EW)! I also have an art class I look forward to teaching and many other activities to engage in a different way with the youth I serve in this community.
Besides the joy of serving in ministry at Branches this summer I have a few other things going on that I’d like to share and ask for support in prayer. June 15th through the 21st I will travel with First United Methodist Church of Coral Gables to Ponce, Puerto Rico with about 20 youth to serve once more. Last summer, I led a group of youth in restoring a mural that had been vandalized and this year I have been invited to design a new mural for the church! Crazy! I pray that it turns out well and that it is a good message of God’s love to the community. In addition to that mission trip, I have the privilege to serve as a small group leader for this year’s Triennium! I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to reconnect with the larger community of the Presbyterian Church and see old friends while serving and having the unique opportunity to tell kids about the YAV program.
On top of all of the awesomeness (as if that was not enough), I will be teaching as a substitute art teacher in an art studio that just opened in Coral Gables (Miami) for two weeks this summer. That means, pray for me as I commute!
God is so good to me. I am thankful that I can share many praises here with you all. May this find you well!
Love & Peace,
I want you, dear readers, to consider the great connectivity with art and education through this illustration:
I have been working with children in elementary all year in the teaching of art and have noticed a few things. First, the kids that excel in art also excel in other academic areas such as reading and writing. They tend to complain less about doing a reading assignment or other homework. They have an ability to be creative and try art out. They are still learning that they are allowed to make mistakes… that art is not in any shape or form related to the state’s standardized test (FCAT), or at least not directly. The children that have grown interest in art reap benefits in other academic areas.
This painting of Mona Lisa that I’ve shared below is the epitome of what I am trying to say. This Mona was painted by a fourth grader whom also excels in other academics. To take on the daunting task of painting Mona Lisa was her choice and she was proud with her finished product which will be in next week’s art show.
The arts are important. Maybe not only art specifically. Not everyone will excel in life with art alone- but including dance, drama, music in the life of a young student will grow them and nurture them as they learn to appreciate the freedom of expression which transcends into all academic areas. We need creativity! We need innovation. We need the arts.
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.
Hey all love-supporters!
I have fallen short when it comes to writing mission updates, and I would like to apologize. Things get crazy sometimes: like my house was broken into, I just had one roommate move out and another one move in, I have studied and become certified to prepare taxes this season once again, and I recently served jury duty in Miami-Dade, which entailed me going to the courthouse at 8 am to watch a Sandra Bullock movie (waste of time).
Currently I am preparing for the Spring Break Camp Oasis that we put on for our kids and the kids of other after-school ministries throughout Miami. Please pray for me as I prepare and for the week that I am at camp with these kids. It is a time of awakening for many youth that are yearning to know God but maybe do not see God at school or home. If you, dear friend, would like to support this work with the scholarship of a kid please let me know- it costs 300 dollars to send a child/ adult to camp but we only charge the youth 125 dollars, which they mostly fundraise by serving/cleaning and they earn that money through generous donations by people like you.
These past weeks have been difficult for me spiritually- I serve middle school three days a week and it becomes wearing. Pray for my heart to never grow embittered nor lose hope and pray for the strength to always love even when faced with rudeness. Recently, in my work with them we have decided to practice learning the state capitals! One way of encouraging them to practice learning them is through pulling a quarter out of my pocket and asking them if they know the state capital of whatever state that quarter is. If you, dear supporter, are interested in gathering up state quarters and mailing them down to me for this fun endeavor—please let me know!
Teaching Art once a week is still happening and by far the most beautiful part of my week- I have seen great transformation in the elementary children as they grow in self-confidence and art knowledge. It is a huge blessing! And recently, it has been brought to my attention that a first grade class receives art once a week in the form of a coloring page… and that breaks my heart. So, with the strength God is providing I am going to make more efforts to volunteer in a few classes at the local elementary school to teach art. I did so in one class last Friday and it was super fun!
Well, this is an update! Short and long over due! I hope it reaches you well and I hope to write again soon!
With many thanks for your support & love,