Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 30 - Ebenezer

I have to tell you about this last week at The Party. To start with, we've been steadily gaining in numbers, and for the last couple of weeks we've had around 30 kids each night. This Tuesday was no exception. However, we didn't have the teen helpers we normally get from Western. That's because the chorus was performing Tuesday night at the annual choir festival. So we had two teen helpers - both of whom left early to go to perform.

This left us really short of helpers - in fact, our one group didn't have any teen helpers at all! This was the group of boys, whom we group together so that they can get lots of wrestling time, and other support from the group leaders. And, they were awesome! In fact, all of the kids were awesome. I can't remember another time when as a group the entire bunch of kids was so calm. They were amazing for the circle time, when we sing together and worship; this is a time that can be quite chaotic, when some kids try to continue running around. They were also extremely well-behaved for each of the centres. There was only one cup of water spilled at the snack station (we sometimes average 3-4 cups per group); and each group had less than half of the helpers we generally have.

It is so good to see the Lord working among us. I can definitely say, the Lord's hand was with us, because we've never had a week like that - and on a week when we had fewer helpers, and needed the calm, it was really amazing!

I feel like erecting a stone of remembrance to say, "Thus far the Lord has helped us."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back at Wascana School

I took the month of August off from helping with The Party. Tuesday we were back at Wascana, which was good because it was cold and rainy out. We had 32 kids I think (at least that many, it could have been as many as 35). The only helpers we had from Western were Bram and Amelia, so we were really glad they were there - we had 10 helpers in all, which really wasn't enough. A wild and crazy time was had by all (as per usual). We're looking forward to reestablishing a routine. We're starting a new series of lessons. As we had done OT last year, we're doing NT this year, so we started with the the angel Gabriel and the messages he gave to Mary and Zechariah.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Party in the summer

I'll update what's been happening since summer holidays have started.

We're holding The Party in the summer in the park at the corner of 7th and Pasqua. It's still on Tuesday nights from 6 through 8 pm. We've had pretty good weather every evening so far. The number of kids that come out is really variable however. We've had as many as about 25 or so, and as few as three or four. Last week we had about 15 at one time, but they sort of trickled away and we had about five at the end.

The program isn't as formal in the summer. We play games, and have a story, and sometimes a snack. We're primarily trying to build relationships.

This week, however is different. There's a group up from Texas to help us put on a VBS. It started this afternoon with a carnival at the park. It was a beautiful sunny day (I'm very red now). I thought it was really hot but the Texans assured us that it was beautiful weather.

We had around 50 kids out I think, as well as a number of parents. We'll have to see how many we can get out tomorrow for the first day of VBS.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Year End

Year-end Party at the Party

On Tuesday night we had our year end supper and we had 83 kids (a new record, previous high was 54!), over 40 helpers (also a new record!), and we don’t know how many parents/grandparents, approximately 15 who came. In addition, some of the parents/grandparents prepared food but didn’t come. We had good participation from the community.

We were thrilled with the turnout and the evening, it was excellent. We can build on that for the summer for Mission 6:10.

Here are some of the ways we see God working:
• Of course, the number of kids coming is a huge blessing. Many of them don’t have much food at home – some of them coming starving for food. But they also come starving for attention. Some of them, their parents are rather absent. So this is a chance to show them God’s love.
• We are meeting more and more parents and grandparents. Some of them who came Tues night said they would have helped prepare and bring food if they had known about it. We want these events to be community building times, where we do things with the parents and grandparents, not just for them. This was a good start in that direction.
• One of the teachers at Wascana School where we hold the Party is a member at Glen Elm church. She has a wonderful spirit and is a good teacher, her name is Barb Slywka. Some of her students invited her to the Party Tues night and she came. That was a neat connection!
• People of peace – we see the janitor as a person of peace. He had all the tables set up for us when we got there. We also worked hard to keep the food out of the gym and clean up after ourselves. He told me after how pleased he was that we are there, how good of a job we had done cleaning up, and that the school would want to know the next day how it went. Any time there is food, the school is concerned for the clean up, etc. He told me he would give a glowing report of the night, and also said to me that he hoped we would be back next year. This position is an important one because it can influence whether we can continue to use the school or not.
• Spiritual formation of our own people – one of the neatest things about the Party is how this is forming us. We have attracted a lot of students from WCC to help, but also several people from our own church who are new the last year, have really plugged into the party. Some of them shared how much their lives have changed since they started coming to our church, all the people they have met and the way they have gotten involved. Each Tues night, after the kids leave, we gather for a time of prayer with the staff. We go around the circle and discuss how we have seen God working. Then we pray together. This formative time has been a huge blessing.

We are all rejoicing after our event the other night. God is good!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Family Night

We had a celebration for the end of the year and invited families to come out last Tuesday. There were lots of people there. It was hard to get an accurate headcount but:
- there were at least 83 kids. (We counted 77 in the gym and I know at least 5 came in after that.
- there were at least 40 helpers. (We have to keep count of helpers because students get service horus for participating.)
- there were quite a few parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, and siblings.
So, I'm guessing that there was just under 150 people there! That sets several records! A new record for kids attending; a new record for helpers attending, a new record for total bodies there!

There was enough food as well! We had planned to have indian tacos (bannock, hamburger, sour cream, salsa, etc.) and had asked families to bring hamburger meat. We had also cooked up a bunch of hamburger meat ahead of time. The Steiners spent the day making bannock. It all went!

It was chaotic (it always is), and fun. We had a short program to show the parents what we'd been doing all year, and then everyone ate. It was raining or drizzling outside so everyone was inside, but there was room for everyone.

Next week is our final week in the school and then we move to the park for the summer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday, May 25

We had a smaller group tonight. It was cold and rainy out, which may have affected attendance. We had around 38 kids and about 22 helpers. It was pizza night, which is always a big hit. Ruth did the story of the ten commandments and the golden calf. The theme idea was Choose God, Choose Life.

Kevin, Greg and Caleb are doing great things with the boys group. I peeked in for a bit, when they were having a prayer time and was amazed.

I'm seeing so much growth, not just with the kids, but also with the helpers. We had two new helpers out tonight. Because it's the last few practices before the musical at Western, a number of helpers weren't able to come. However, the Lord continues to provide, and we had sufficient helpers.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tuesday, May 17

I think we had about 48 kids - lots of helpers too - at least 16 high school helpers, plus the rest of us adults, lets say, around 25 helpers. God is good - all the time. The mother of one of our regular attenders was supposed to be discharged from the hospital this past week. She had to have part of her leg amputated due to blood poisoning. We have been praying for her and her family, and I know that prayers will still be needed for some time now.

Ruth combined the story of Rahab with the walls of Jericho, so we're going to have to think about how to change things a little in the upcoming weeks. I don't think that crossing the Jordan - the 12 stones of remembrance will be sufficient for her to spin it into a story long enough and the week after that will need to be changed anyway. Perhaps we can add the "choose this day whom you will serve". Ruth and I will need to do some planning here.

This is two weeks now we've had five groups instead of four; Kevin and a few helpers has taken the older boys and worked with them separately instead of having them integrated as part of the other groups. That's gone very well; they get positive attention instead of just attention as we try to corral them back to the group they're supposed to be in.