I finally have a few minutes to sit down and share details from our mission trip to WeWillGo Ministries in Jackson, MS. See previous posts for more photos.
Early Saturday afternoon Ned arrived, hauling a trailer with the swingset donated by Pat and her girls. He got to work right away setting it up. The rest of our team wasn't due to arrive til later that day, so I had spent the day at Karen's while she was at work. A couple hours before everyone else was to arrive, I decided to make myself useful and head to WWG in hopes to snap some photos as the swingset was being erected. When I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find it already up! I did get to help clean it up a bit. I also met Meagan, one of WWG's missionaries as well as the McLelland family, a sweet family moving to WWG soon. Their kiddos were the first to get to play on the new swingset. I had fun visiting with their cute little 7 year old chatterbox, Merry.
She, her mom, Meagan, and I walked down the street to invite one of the neighbors, Alicia to bring her children to play on the swingset any time she wanted to.
On our way to Alicia's house, we passed a girl sitting on the porch railing of a house in much need of repair, as is the case with most houses down there. We said hi to her and she barely lifted her head in acknowledgement.
When we got to Alicia's, an older woman and man were sitting on the porch drinking beers, listening to music. The woman was on a cell phone. An adorable little boy was on his bike on the sidewalk. We asked the man if Alicia was home and he went inside to get her. She came out with a sweet baby girl on her hip. We introduced ourselves and invited her to bring the kids to play any time. We then asked if we could pray with her about anything. She said she'd just gotten out of jail and had been drinking again. She wanted to stop, so that's what we prayed. She extended her hands to us, so Meagan grabbed one and I grabbed the other, then I felt that precious baby's hands on top of mine as I held her momma's. Such a sweet moment. Meagan prayed for a supernatural detox, for her chains to be broken, for her to see herself as someone of value - as a dearly loved child of God...
She thanked us, and we started back for Restoration House.
On the way, we noticed the girl we'd said hi to on the way to Alicia's, still sitting on the porch railing, head bent over a notebook, writing. Again, we stopped and said hi. We asked her name. She barely looked up and faintly said, "Ashley". She looked like she was stoned, barely lifting her head, much less meeting us in the eye.
I noticed a stack of colored folders next to her on the porch and asked her what she was working on so intently. Suddenly a light came on in her eyes, she lifted her head, looked me in the eye, and shyly said, "I like to write stories." Meagan asked her what kind of stories, to which she replied, with a hint of a smile, "Sometimes funny, sometimes scary." I said, "I like funny, but not so much scary!" She grinned and said she also writes poetry. Meagan told her she also enjoyed writing and had minored in poetry in college. She told her where she lived and invited her to come down to visit some time.
I wondered how many people have just walked on by Ashley in her life, as if she didn't exist...we didn't get into any deep, spiritual conversations, in fact, we didn't even offer to pray with her...we simply stopped for the one. We simply noticed her. We simply showed her she mattered...
I found myself crying out in my spirit, "Oh Lord, show these beautiful girls their true value and worth...awaken their dreams...break the chains holding them back from fulfilling their destinies..."
When we got back to Restoration House, everyone sort of went their separate ways for a little while to attend to various duties, and Ned and I went to Victory House to put together a bunk bed.
Later the rest of our team arrived, Meagan and the McLelland's returned, along with another WWG missionary, Emily. We blessed the swingset, praying that it will be a place of joy and laughter, a place where kids can simply be kids...that God will use it as a place for His love to be shared...that it will be surrounded with angels, so there are no injuries while kids play on it...and other things He brought to mind...basically we dedicated it to be a tool of ministry.
Thank You, Lord for showing us how simple and practical it is to Love The One and love the one...