Our God is awesome and yet we are continually dumbstruck by His power as He prepares the path before us! We praise God for His goodness.
Grace Falls’ Pastor Buff McNickle and Pastor Alonzo Johnson of Northeast Community Outreach continue to partner together to reach the hurting of the northeast as they combine their experience, gifting and resources to spread the Light and love of Jesus Christ.
This has been a tremendous week as we have been invited to host School Spirit Week activities at William H. Ziegler School in the Frankford neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Principal Spina and the teaching staff have graciously adjusted their schedule to accommodate us as our team helps students to celebrate the end of the school year through fun activities, while teaching valuable life-lessons.
We recognized that God was preparing our steps when we discovered that the ThinkOrange.org materials that we subscribe to for the Children’s Gatherings at Grace Falls also have materials that have been developed for use in the public school system!
Using this valuable resource this week, we have been featuring a character trait, animal and color of the day. Activities and discussion-stimulating opportunities have been developed to build on the traits of Hope, Individuality, Self-Control and Friendship.
With the help of summer interns Taylor and Jenn, plus volunteers Kyleen and Toby of Kentucky, Ed of Florida, and Vallie, Allison, & Catherine of Alabama, the students have been allowed to take a break from their school work, appreciation has been shown to the teachers and support staff, and everyone has seemed to have a good time!
Principal Spina indicated that he would love for the team to paint a mural of the United States in the school’s recreation area. Members of our crew prepared the outline and then each teacher selected a student to represent their class who would participate in the painting process. Principal Spina explained that “ownership” eludes most residents in this community, so it will be important for these students to feel that they own this artwork and will treasure the investment they have made by contributing.
Early in the week, the Student Leader Team was invited to a pizza lunch. When asked what their greatest concerns for their neighborhood were, comments included:
- Graffiti on the walls and the dirty streets made their neighborhood feel depressing.
- Because it is not safe to play outside, one boy told how his father has set up a basketball hoop in the basement so his dad could have a safe place to teach him to how to play.
- At least seven of the 15 students had witnessed a shooting.
Yet, through simple activities such as bouncing a beach ball to one another, several students expressed that they had never had such an exciting time at school! They also cheered and laughed as teachers were invited to participate in a dance-off!
- Please continue to pray for this team during the remainder of the week.
- Pray that the students will remember the valuable life-lessons being presented.
- That trust will be established and deeper relationships can be built in the future.
- Pray especially for the activities on Friday as the team meets with 8th grade students and cast a vision for their future as they prepare to enter high school.
- Pray for provision as we have incurred greater expenses than anticipated.