I never once imagined that I would end working with kids. I played teacher as a kid but I also played doctor, super hero and WWII spy. ( In a way it’s understandable to see why I enjoy writing fiction so much!). But working with kids as a career? NOPE. Or at least that was what I believed. Until I met my friend Mary Ann who works with Greater Miami Youth For Christ in a program called KIX ( Kids in Christ). It is an afterschool program (among several ) that reaches into a few neighborhoods throughout Miami. Through my friendship with Mary Ann, I started to volunteer off and on over the years. Helping out with homework or being there for the teen program on Friday nights.
Last year though, I was offered a position as staff. It was an answer to a prayer, a second source of income and feeling the God moment in it. Have you ever had a moment where there was no hesitation to say yes because it just felt right? This was one of those moments for me. I knew I was going to say yes to this and I began work with the second and third graders three days a week.
Let me tell you something, it has been the hardest job I have ever had but by far the most rewarding. These kids they just get into the heart. One in particular reminds me of myself. She has a bit of imagination and I see the story teller emerging in her. I get her, I was her at her age. I lacked confidence in my abilities with Math homework ( and I’ve only just begun to encounter this Core Math stuff too). Working each day with my girl is one of the highlights of the day. Seeing that moment when she gets it, especially after fighting hard for the answer is a victory. Her victory.
I have been told that God qualifies us for the work He needs us to do. This is why this time in my life could not have been planned by myself. I did not feel confident in being able to do something like this in my life. But God is greater than my doubts. This is where my trust in Him comes in for my life. Trusting Him in this place has been a huge lesson for me. I’m still learning and I’m not the greatest every day but there is grace in this work. As I learned a few years ago, work is worship and worship is work.
The desire and heart of Greater Miami YFC ( and YFC nationwide and international) is to reach the youth. Kids and teens in communites of all kinds bringing the love of Christ into their lives. The neighborhood that we minister in is one of the largest Habitat communites in the country. It is a tight knit community that often has dealt with crime and violence. A few weeks ago a young lady was shot in the face by her ex boyfriend waiting for the school bus. She survived but she may lose her right eye.
This is the reality of what these kids deal with day in and day out. But by being able to come to KIX afterschool or for teen events gives them a respite. It gives them a place to point to and say there is safety and love inside that building. I am grateful to get to be part of it. To plant seeds of hope in Christ and loving on these kids. I look forward to the next victory my girl has this coming week.
I would love it if you could dear reader take a moment to click on the link for Greater Miami Youth For Christ to learn more about what we do in our vast city. Perhaps you would like to get involved with your local chapter or even donate to KIX ( just look for my name under the donate tab). Most of all I would like your prayers for this neighborhood and many like it through out our country. For these kids to find a place of hope and love in the name of Christ.
I am learning about this thing called the Purity Movement. This idea that if we just do or do not do certain behaviors then we will therefore be pure. That somehow, because of the way I behave or dress this in turn makes me more pure. It is a concept to wrestle with, this idea of pureness. That somehow we can achieve it if only we do not do this or that.
This shows a belief that what we do outwardly cleanses what we struggle with inwardly. Instead of what God does inwardly working outward. I see this idea becoming more of idol. That one is only worthy because of their actions and not because of who they are in Christ.
But none of us are pure, without sin. In fact, the more Christ like we become, the more our sin is revealed to us. I know this to be my journey as a Christian.
Lauding this concept of purity is in part saying that we have no need for Christ, for the work only He can do in us. That others who perhaps do not dress or abstain from the same things as others are not as worthy of him. Or in turn saying you more worthy because of your outward behavior.
But what of the heart? The deceitful heart? Or the mind or spirit? We can all look put together on the outside. Say all the things, do the right things but still be a mess on the inside.
It does not say we are made pure, but we are made new in Christ. There is a reason for this, for only Christ was pure. We are made new, leaving behind our old selves.
We are to strive for Christ. Always for Him. I think it better to be careful of our use of such words. To perhaps rethink what we are really saying when we say these things. How exclusionary it can seem to others. When Jesus calls us to be inclusionary.