With a charm and humour beyond his years as a pre-teen, Confident Fellow stopped at nothing to draw a laugh from his audience whether it was one or crowds of his peers. Always ready with some sort of antic, he won the hearts of many. The problem, however, was that his identity, worth and confidence were wrapped up in the applauses, the laughter, the acceptance of others. He was driven by the admirations, bending and shaping himself to their mould. His sense of direction was controlled by the of those around him. But now, six years later now as a young man, something happened. The dormant flower now was blooming in its fullest confident, radiant and free form.
As he came down from the stage, heading off to lead the kids to the bus, I grabbed Confident Fellow, pulling him aside. Looking into his eyes, I recalled what I had seen in the past, the lost, dormant flower that he was but revealed to him what I now saw in him. Tearing up, he leaned his large frame down to mine in a warm embrace and whispered in my ear, "That means a lot coming from you, Superfly. Thank you. I love you."
Blossoming. Flourishing. This picture of beautiful growth and change, though incredible, did not come in a moment. Transformation rarely happens overnight. Instead, growth happens sometimes painstakingly slow. It takes a great deal of loving patience, grace, love, and hope-filled cultivation. And then faith in the One who makes things, makes people, flourish.
The warmth of the sun, slowly awakening the dead and dormant, promising new life and growth that is just around the corner.
- March Break was an amazing week filled with deepening of relationships, significant moments, very few discipline issues, Gospel-filled conversations and rich life-long memories. We had two incredible missions teams from Oklahoma who lovingly served and learned alongside our team, investing in the Kingdom with our kids. Our Streetleaders were INSANELY amazing! Having been my kids at Camp Hope when I started as an intern, I was blown away by their maturity, transformation and growth! Jesus does GREAT things!
- Additionally, we are praising God that ICO/CCC (the church/organization that is taking over Camp Freedom) was able to run a smaller program for the week. Despite some challenges, they were very encouraged by the receptivity of the kids and the opportunity to develop closer relationships with each of them.
- One of the dear mamas that I am especially close to is growing abundantly in her faith, experiencing a greater depth of healing and freedom as she steps into the truth of Christ and her identity. Her daily influence on her children is blossoming and transforming her entire household. What a joy to witness!
Forgiving Boy and I at March Break Camp. Six years ago, I became besties with his older brother. Having met Forgiving Boy when he was four years old, I realized he was now the age his brother was when I met him! We immediately rekindled a friendship despite the years past. Our relationship was solidified after a moment when I made a grave mistake (got the winning teams incorrect, making Forgiving Boy's team third place rather than first). In tears, he explained how disappointed he was. BUT I was able to apologize, explaining my mistake and asking for his forgiveness, all the while encouraging him for his incredible effort, his compassionate and encouraging spirit and his loving respect he demonstrated the whole week. I reminded him that God saw all of what he did all week and that's what mattered most! He lovingly forgave me, immediately letting it go! From the boy who had historically struggled with staying in program, with respecting leaders, with holding grudges, demonstrated incredible transformation and remarkable grace! Moments of flourishing!
- Continued healing in broken relationships, strained marriages and dividing lines that isolate and break down the ability for authentic community to form.
- Two moms who are neighbors and have children the same age would become friends, seeing their need of one another. One of them is an avid follower of Jesus while the other is stumbling blindly through life. Pray that the one who knows Christ would be emboldened with compassionate love and care to be able to reach out and love her neighbor.
- There is a strong rise of shootings and stabbings in Toronto, and more specifically, in the neighborhoods where we work. One shooting in particular has left our community very vulnerable as it was "Robin Banks" the face of the most prominent and rising gang in Shoreham (our Jane and Finch community) called the Wass Gang. He was not killed, thankfully; however, the heat is on in the community and we are praying against greater retaliation. Pray for shalom over our city, over the hearts of our young men. Pray for true purpose to rise from within them as they discover Christ. Pray for a rise in godly mentors for these young men! Pray that flourishing will happen despite the dead and hard ground!