Monday, April 29, 2013

Quotable Monday

At the end of our Youth Art Team meeting Sunday:

"What did you learn during the first session of Youth Art Team's View Finder Project?" -Youth Art Team Director

"That you can look through a little box and see a whole new world through it."  -Youth Art Team student

Sunday, April 28, 2013

youth art team casts light not shadow

Today's Viewfinder Project topic was "Shadows".  Youth Art Team students had a great time combing the neighborhood to find (and make!) shadows.  Yay, we had sun today, finally, so it was perfect!

Doug tied the lesson with Jesus who always shined light into the world and pushed back the darkness.  He never cast shadows because He was and is purely good and purely light.  We, too, as the people of Jesus, are to shine Christ's light through our words and actions and to push back the darkness in the world!  

grace gardens

Link Christian Development formed this past year with the purpose of helping to link people and places with the restoring mission of Jesus.  The geographic base of Link CDC is the Walnut Historic Neighborhood of Waterloo, Iowa, and the anchor partners of Link CDC are Orchard Hill Church and Harvest Vineyard with the support of  the Walnut Neighborhood Association.  

It is a joy to watch how God is at work in the neighborhood.  This Spring a core group has been meeting to plan "Grace Gardens".  The vision of Grace Gardens is:

*Gardening to restore people’s relationships to God and one another by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. 
*Gardening to develop community among neighbors and friends of the Walnut Neighborhood.
*Gardening to beautify the Walnut Neighborhood and create a strong sense of neighborhood identity. 
*Gardening to promote healthy eating and wellness among those involved in Grace Gardens.
*Gardening as a strategy for further youth development effort in the neighborhood.  

After a cold and rainy spring in Iowa, we landed a beautiful 75 degree day today with the chance for a little work to be done preparing the ground for one of the two Grace Garden locations in the neighborhood.

Mike uses the Bobcat to help fill gravel for a new path that is being formed to create a "corner park" for the neighborhood.  

George works to level the gravel in the central circle area that will sport a bench for  passersby  to stop and rest a spell.  

This is the other location for Grace Gardens.  Twelve raised beds just waiting to grow some delicious produce!  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday Scripture

Isaiah 30:18
“Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” 

Matthew 23:23
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

(In December 2006, I visited Kit Danley of Neighborhood Ministries in Phoenix, AZ.  As we visited, she recommended that I read through the Bible and highlight all of the Scripture passages that spoke of God's heart of compassion and justice.  In 2007, I did just that.

In 2008, I attended a workshop at a CCDA conference in which the facilitator instructed the class to work in pairs to name as many Scriptures (by reference or by text) that had to do with God's heart of compassion and justice.

The two exercises above have impacted me, and over the past five years, my eyes have been opened in a whole new way as I spend time in God's Word.  

I am going to spend Saturdays this year sharing Scripture passages on the blog, one OT and one NT, that help lay the Biblical foundation for compassion and justice; Scripture that describes God's character and His imperatives for His people.)

Friday, April 26, 2013

youth art team meets culture fest 2013

The Youth Art Team set up a table the other night at Waterloo's Culture Fest and displayed a little teaser for their December 2013 photo exhibition.  Each student from Youth Art Team picked one of their photos from this Spring's project to be represented at the Culture Fest.  Check out a few photos below:

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Staff/Board Community Day April 22, 2013

Yesterday, 50 Orchard Hill Staff/Board Members hopped on two buses and went out into our community for the day.  The three objectives of the day:

1.  To lay the biblical foundations for the following principles of serving:  Christ-centered, relational, wholistic, development.

2.  To listen deeply and look more broadly around our community.

3.  To build our staff/Board relationships and to have a fun day together.

Here's a peek at our day together:

 We hopped on two of Dolly's party buses for our excursion. 
Travel time offered a little chance for conversation, a multi-cultural awareness survey, and taste testing fun foods from Mexico and Bosnia.

We started the morning at the River Loop Public Market in Downtown Waterloo.  

Over some pastries and coffee, Julie Kiefer spoke about the Public Market, we did a diversity exercise, and we read/discussed part of John Chapter 4...Jesus and the Samaritan at the well.  

Who do we spend our time with?  This exercise helped us examine the levels of diversity in our relationships.

Across from the Public Market is the Youth Art Team's peacock mural.  

Heidi shares the foundational principles of Youth Art Team.

Our next stop was La Cosecha Hispanic Vineyard Church in Downtown Waterloo.

At La Cosecha, we listened to pastors, Jorge and Nuriz, share about their calling and  ministry to their congregation.  

Next, we were off to the Salvation Army for lunch.  

The Salvation Army provides a community lunch five days a week.  We joined other guests for a meal together.

Faithful servants at the SA lunch line.

After lunch, we stopped by the Salvation Army's Family Activity Center and listened to Lindsey and Megan share about the after school and summer programming available for the young people of the community.

Tim B. interviews Rick, one of the chaplains at Tyson Meat Packing Plant.  Tyson's is a faith-friendly environment, and Rick shared about his ministry among employees...many of which are immigrants to our community.  

Judy M. shares with a group about the journey God has taken her and George on with relocation into the neighborhood.  

Emma shared about Christ's work in her through the loving support of Christian Community.

Stained glass window in the new Almond house dining room

The group took a "Before" tour of the home recently purchased by Mike and Laura.  They also prayed in various rooms of the house.

Brian shared with the group about the Jobs for Life ministry that he leads.  

We closed out the day with worship and closing remarks in the OHC sanctuary.  

Fuzzy joined us to lead us in worship of our great God and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

partnership prayer walk

A sunny and wonderful morning to gather with friends from Harvest Vineyard and Orchard Hill Church to share pancakes together and to prayerwalk throughout downtown Waterloo.  Prayerwalking is such a powerful way to connect us with God's heart, to bind us to each other, and to grow God's heart within in us for our community!  We closed by saying the Lord's Prayer while stretching out as far as we could across the 4th Street Bridge...a sign of Christ's power to reconcile across divides and as a commitment to build bridges through our partnership!  Thanks to God for Patti and Brian, members of our partnership team who planned this powerfully good partner experience!

Monday, April 15, 2013

more pictures from Haiti

Oh, the children.  Their beauty was everywhere.  

We had the pleasure of getting to know Evelin as we served beside her family to pour a concrete floor for one of her neighbors.

The top soil is so thin in this region of Haiti.  Just below a thin layer of dry dirt, is a soft limestone that seems to go forever as you dig.  Despite the difficult growing conditions, UCI is modeling and teaching ways to farm successfully.  They have a whole garden of cabbage that are growing and thriving.

Elakin is just one of the teen boys that is a part of the church and the missional work  of UCI.  I look forward to seeing his faith and leadership develop in the coming years.

Sustainable food sources for local Haitians is a priority for UCI.  You see potatoes, carrots, beets, and greens  here about to be cleaned and made into something delicious for the team.

Darwin, a member of our team, worked alongside three Haitian friends all week as they cemented posts around the perimeter of the university.

A beautiful phenomena one afternoon...a perfect sun dog ring around the sun.  

Larry, my dad, is sitting here with Nelson, an ex-witchdoctor who has become a follower of Jesus and  is sharing Christ's love with his community.  

The bakery in Bohoc has the most delicious bread...especially when eaten  warm from the oven.  

My daughter Sara's favorite part of the trip was playing with the primary children during their recess time.

Jimmy, right, teaches his brother, Favo, how to build cabinets for the University cafeteria kitchen.  Jimmy learned the trade in Port au Prince and has been working with some of our team this week as well.

UCI has recently hired an accountant.

Team members stop and pose here with the principal of UCI's primary school.

Arivol was a fantastic friend, brother in Christ, and interpreter for us during our stay in Haiti.

These little guys, as well as most of the children, loved the camera and  loved seeing themselves right after  a picture was taken.