Sunday, April 27, 2014

Exciting News for Aggie HYPE

As today was the last Aggie HYPE of the semester, I promised
my class that we would celebrate with snacks of their
choice. So we feasted on Hot Cheetos, Takis, and popsicles.
What a great note to end on! 
God is faithful. He truly is! About a month ago, we, the Aggie HYPE volunteers, received some alarming news. The news: we didn't have the funds to send our kids to camp. Regardless of what brought such lack of funds doesn't matter, but what does is that in that moment we made a conscious decision to trust that the Lord would provide. I love opportunities such as this one. I love waiting to see how God will provide, especially monetary funds, because it truly practices a great deal of trust and patience. With this said, we didn't receive the news that we needed approximately $4000 and then proceed to sit back and kick our feet up. No, quite the opposite. We began writing letters, contacting businesses, and brainstorming ideas of how we could raise the funds we needed to send 40 kids to camp at $100 a child within less than a month. After receiving such news, I remember going to lunch with a few of my best friends. When I told them the news, they immediately began giving me ideas of how to help raise the money, and names of people who I should contact. I'll admit as the clock began to speed up, I was worried that we wouldn't have enough to send all of the kids to camp. I surely didn't want to have to look a child in the eyes and say that due to lack of funds, they wouldn't be able to go to camp. No, that would break my heart. So instead I prayed, I prayed, and I begged God to provide. I was confident the money would come from somewhere, and slowly but surely it did. Today we received some very exciting news, we fulfilled our budget needs…and more. WAY more! God is faithful and every single one of our kids (of age) will get to go to Camp of the Hills this summer. We even made enough money to cushion our budget for next year as well. Like I said, why do I even doubt or stress when God constantly shows his faithfulness? I've attached some pictures of my 2nd graders that have truly become my own children this year. Thanks to God, and to the many supporters of Aggie HYPE, some of my kids will go to camp for the first time. I am overwhelmed with the support and love shown to my HYPE kids, and I ask that you will join me in praying for them as they have an opportunity to see Christ through a week at summer camp.
Tony has truly grown up to be quite an athlete over the past
two years. Earlier in the semester, I was able to go watch
him play basketball and let me tell you, he is probably the
only 2nd grader I know that can make a 3-pointer!

Alayna-I promise you that no one will ever make you
feel as special and loved as this sweet girl.

JJ- I have so many words for this boy, because he has stolen
my heart. He started out as one of my trouble makers,
I kid you not, and he still likes to give me a hard time. Yet,
I have seen him grow and now he loves to be praised
for his good behavior.

How can you not smile when you see this little boy? Don't
worry, I didn't give him negative points for posing
on the counter haha :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

"You're too ugly to love…"

Like the title says, my heart broke when such phrase was yelled into my face. No my heart did not break because such mean words were directed towards me, but my heart broke a little because of the girl who said them. Such a little girl has been hardened by the world, and I know that with the ease of the phrase it has been one that she's heard before. Before I get ahead of myself, let me give some background.

Yesterday started out as a typical HYPE Sunday. When my 2nd graders got to my class though, I knew it would be a challenging day. The rainy weather had kept them cooped up in their homes, and then with the sugar I supplied, I realized and watched as I slowly lost control of my class. Even with extra helpers, some of the boys were getting out of hand. Yet, as soon as things would get too far, I'd reign them back in, at least for a few minutes. Finally after reading the story, coloring, and sugary snacks, we met up with the other classes in the church parlor to watch a movie. Once again, my boys especially were bouncing off the walls at this point and with no gym or playground I knew things were about to get crazy. Most times we, the Aggie volunteers, embrace such enthusiasm. Yesterday was different because there is a big difference between crazy fun, and aggression. Quickly evident that all control was lost, we decided to load the kids up and take them home. It was clearly apparent that we as a whole were struggling. Some of the boys were getting rowdy and picking fights, and left and right volunteers were trying to separate kids. The bus was worse. Confined to a moving bus, the boys broke out into a fight and we quickly broke it up. I at the time was sitting at the front of the bus, and we decided to separate the boys. So a volunteer sent one of the boys instigating the fight up to sit in front of me. Thinking things had simmered down, I felt myself ease from the tension. Yet, as soon as my shoulders began to fall into place, I saw a little girl charging down the aisle to give the boy in front of me a piece of her mind, well actually her fist. Another volunteer and I quickly made a barrier with our arms, which angered her even more. She began kicking and screaming, so I did the only thing I knew. I picked her up and sat her in my lap embracing her. Trying to calm her, I kept a tight hold as she tried to bite, kick, hit, and pull my hair out. At the moment I did what I thought was best, and kept her in my arms to prevent her from hitting the other kids, but she was beginning to rage. She was screaming all sorts of things, to which I just kept repeating that I loved her, Jesus loved her, but such behavior was not going to be tolerated or allowed. Then she said it. "I HATE YOU! You are too ugly to love!"

Thankfully my self-confidence doesn't rest in the opinions of angered 3rd graders, but at the moment my heart broke. I hurt because with the ease of her words, and the anger in her eyes, I knew that she had heard such phrase before. Now I don't know who said it, or if it was even directed to her, but nonetheless my heart broke that a little girl would ever have to hear such an awful phrase. Yesterday was a difficult day at HYPE, and trust me usually HYPE days aren't full of such aggression and craziness. But in such moments of frustration, I still know that I have a purpose in this ministry. We are called to be difference makers, and I pray that in such moments of fighting that maybe that little girl will look back and remember how we, the volunteers, treated her. We didn't yell insulting things at her or hit her or any of the other kids fighting, instead we still showed love. Biting my lips, and holding back tears, I let a little girl take out her frustration, pain and anger, and instead I hope she saw Christ. I know I did. I saw myself in this little girl, fighting against the good, so filled with fury and frustration. Even when I get frustrated or fight God (figuratively), he still is there to embrace me, to calm me down. He forgives me, and never takes his arms away from me. So while it was easy to get caught up in what was a 'bad day' I look back and see it as a learning opportunity. I see myself in my kids, and I thank God for the lessons and the way he reveals himself to me in this ministry. I ask you all to join us in praying for the HYPE ministry. Pray for our kids and their families. Pray that we as volunteers will have the energy and strength to keep encouraging and loving on these kids. In particular, please pray that God will provide for this ministry as we are in the midst of fundraising to send our kids to camp.