What a day!

by Cheryl on September 25, 2007

Today was FULL… I met with one of our sweet volunteers from Big Fish Club this morning, and then drove to Star Ranch Golf Course in Hutto for our Golf Tournament Camp Nikos Fundraiser. It was so fun to greet the 60 golfers coming in to play and send our kiddos to camp. : )

Then it was off to NYACC at 12th & Chicon St. to set up for our “Big Fish” After School Program… God recently sent me a wonderful volunteer Program Facilitator! George moved down from California 3 weeks ago after hearing about MP from a friend and checking out our website. (www.mpaustin.org) He will assist in carrying out the Big Fish Programs (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays after school – and also Thursday evenings). But George had training for his new job at The Four Seasons today, and will on Wednesday – so I set up and such before going to pick up the children from the 2 Elementary schools in the neighborhood: Campbell and Blackshear.

As I was leaving, my 3 After School Mentors showed up to pray and prepare for the children. I put the key into the ignition of our white 15 passenger van, and… nothing. Dead as a doornail. No lights, no beeps, no… nothing. Argh! I’d be late to pick up the children – God, you’re in control! One of my volunteers jumped the van with his Land Rover and gave me enough juice to start up and back out before it died again.

I abandoned the van in the parking lot for my little Mazda and sped off to pick up the children. Now, if you know me very well – you know that my sense of direction is WEAK (if present at all) in this brain God hand-crafted for me. That granted, I have successfully navigated the neighborhood all last week for pick-ups and drop-offs at the beginning and end of each program. Are you proud?

It might have been the pressure of the moment, it might have been because I kept turning the map in my hand around to follow from the “right” perspective, or it might have been a spiritual preying on my directional weakness – but I made an amazing amount of U turns on my way to both schools…. and back….. (One reason why I am not the ideal candidate for “bus driver”… Any volunteers?)

First stop: Campbell Elementary. Charles wasn’t waiting for me as he usually does. The teachers said he would have to stay after school for tutoring Monday – Thursday till 4 0’clock to pass the TAKS test. Charles has had a long history of involvement in the after school/ summer programing with the REALife Center before us. He is “a regular” – and in great need of positive male input and modeling. My heart sank.

Next stop: Blackshear. The kids piled in and we chatted about their day as I turned my neighborhood map around again, marveling at how I did this all last week. Does it make sense to you?

Our time with the kids was sweet and personal. After homework, Miss Linda brought her guitar in, and the kids sang along – passing around small fruit-shaped “maracas”. One of the girls who lives with Charles struggles with instant anger fits. We made friends this past summer, and I enjoy watching her light up when she comes in to join the program. She knows that she is loved here, that she is wanted. When she slams the door in my face, or storms off with a cloud of “hate you’s” – I think of how many times I’ve turned my back on God. How many times do I ignore His presence, and come back later to find His unconditional acceptance? Loving Sandra is a way to thank God for who He is to me – The LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. (Exodus)

Nay Nay is one of the cuties who joins us 4 days a week:

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