Archive for September, 2011

September 21, 2011

What it means to know and to love


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Our intern Jessi has completed here first weeks. The shiny newness of everything is wearing off in some ways only to be replaced by things of more substance. Below are Jessi's reflections on what it means to her to get to know our clients and to begin to learn how to love them–and to begin find her own identity as intern and to apply all that she is learning on a daily basis:

After a few weeks, I do not think I am just the “new intern” anymore to the street youth. For most, there is a level of respect given toward me because I am Terry's intern. However, for many, that respect is no longer an act they put on. Rather, they have pushed that “inherited” respect to the background and have wiped the clean, which calls me to EARN respect for myself. I am finally getting to see the heart of some of the youth. Their true colors are showing. As I look at this situation, I assume hopefully that this is because there is a level of trust building. 

 

Some of the guys are no longer chatting about how they have a crush on me (information revealed to me by a female client). Instead, I imagine some of them are talking about how I ticked them off or how I am a “goody-" or "rich-two-shoes.” They are no longer hiding drugs when I walk up or resisting the urge to light a cigarette, rather they go right along as their cravings and desires arise. In addition, they are no longer saying things just to catch me off guard or get a reaction; rather they seem to speak to me as they do to any other acquaintance.

 

The same goes for me concerning them: they are no longer just this peculiar group of street youth. Although I am still intrigued by their behavior, some individuals have angered me, frustrated me, and made me not want to speak with them. Often they make me smile though, and constantly they make me laugh when they try to prey on my naivety or simply say wild and funny things. The freedom they have taken to be themselves has given me a freedom to bust out the silliness of who I am as well as a boldness in my faith in the name of Jesus Christ. I find myself being less timid in terms of what they think about me (I thank you for your prayers concerning this!) and more confident in sharing not only my identity as silly, down-to-earth Jessi, but also identity in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t bother me anymore when someone just walks away in silence or when my questions, comments, and proclamations concerning Jesus get a laugh. I find myself laughing along with them at my awkwardness but also giddy in pride to be an ambassador of Jesus Christ- knowing that even if their response was negative, simply speaking the name and truth of Jesus planted seeds into their lives.

 

I find myself needing a daily reminder of my purpose for being here. When reviewing a day with the youth I often realize my lack of intentionality. Did I continue to build relationships? Do they trust me more? Did I get to know them more? These are all good things and tools to build with. However, the most important question remains…. Did I boldly speak the truth of the Gospel and offer the saving power of Christ to them through the truth that I spoke? This is the question I am challenging myself to answer with “yes” on a more consistent basis. 

 

I ask for your encouragement and accountability in prayer for the upcoming weeks. Pray with me that I would “not grow weary in doing good” [Galatians 6:9], which is to preach the name of Jesus Christ. Also pray that I would, as Paul, “resolve to know nothing while I am with them [street youth] but Jesus Christ and Him crucified” [1 Corinthians 2:2].

 

Be blessed as you go about your weeks on this continuing journey of faith and devotion to Jesus Christ. Let not life get in the way of your first love, rather let that first love become your life and in that do everything you do to the glory of God! [My encouragement to you based on the song “Do Everything” by Steven Curtis Chapman!]

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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I'm a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
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September 6, 2011

Welcome to Jessi (Fall Intern)


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It is our pleasure to welcome Jessi, our forth intern. Jessi comes from Kansas and is taking a one semester break from her MDIV degree plan to study with us. Our interns learn how to lead a poverty-informed urban ministry through our study together and our hands on training within our ministry. SYMs goal is to train 100 leaders for the church in the next ten years, praying they will great news ministries all across the country. We have one spot open for the Fall, two spots open for spring, and three open for the summer. Here is Jessi's reaction to her first week:

I just completed my first week with SYM and am diving into the second. I am still processing my first experiences with the youth and the ministry even now as I write; yet I hope to enlighten you with what is currently in the forefront of my mind in relation to my thoughts concerning what I experienced this past week.  

 

Every day after ministry Terry helps me to debrief by asking, “What did you like? What surprised you? And what didn’t you like?”  So… you may be wondering what exactly my answers would be to those questions… lucky for you, answering those specific questions is the best way I can think of to sum up my first week.  

 

What I liked: First off, I immediately took a liking to the youth and the diversity they contain among them and as individuals. Coming into the internship it has been my prayer that God would not allow me to see and get to know the youth by categorizing their unique qualities under and secondary to the reality of them being “street-dependent”, “drug abusers”, “rebellious”, or other such “face value” things. Praise God that he has allowed me to see beneath the tough skin and culture of the street and has already given me an abundance of knowledge concerning the street culture which has allowed me to greater understand the words, actions, and hearts of each of the youths. Concerning the ministry, I like the authenticity of Terry’s approach toward the youth. He understands their needs and is bold about addressing them. To some, his approach may seem unstructured and lackadaisical, however there is truly a “method to his madness” Everything he does is for a purpose and he is constantly looking for opportunities to witness, counsel, and encourage the youth. He is absolutely intentional about every moment he is with the youth and every opportunity provided. What I liked…is that I can learn so much from Terry. Seeing the way he interacts with the youth, the respect that they have for him, and hearing a bit of the reasons for his actions has built a respect in my heart for him right off the bat. 

  

What surprised me: This is probably the most obvious one for me. I was warned and well aware of the reality of drug use among some of the youth. Still this did not actually become a reality for me until I heard prayers such as “God thank you for my marijuana, alcohol, etc” and “God please give me more marijuana, alcohol, etc.” As well as the constant conversation concerning different drugs and their usage therefore resulting in the breaking of a somewhat naive innocence in me. What surprised me…is how different my world is from so many others and how unknowledgeable I am about worlds and lives different from mine. What surprised me is that although I have known and practiced loving and serving others, in a way I have been ignorant to the idea of KNOWING others. No doubt, I have taken time to know people as individuals- their likes, dislikes, etc- such surface level things; however there is a part of knowing the culture, the what, how, and why people do things, and the essential “world” of others that I have neglected. I have read the books and listened to the lectures about being careful to truly teach, preach, and encourage based on Kingdom principles and consider the culture of those unto whom I am witnessing and to not teach, preach, and encourage based on “western” or “Johnson County” (the wealthy suburb where I grew up) principles or Kingdom principles warped by such cultures  and sub-cultures. Still yet, it is not until now that I have realized the importance of leaving my cultural values and ways of thinking and personal opinions behind and truly becoming- in mind, heart, and knowledge- a street youth in order to win the street youth (compare to 1 Corinthians 9:20-23).  

 

What I didn’t like: Finally, it was my unfortunate selfish concern of being liked and fitting in and living up to the expectations that the past interns may have left behind that I did not like. In such concerns, I have faltered in standing in and sharing the confidence of Christ and Christ in me. I have faltered in being a living example of the Gospel and have settled for portraying even a flaky image of myself. I thank God that he has revealed such things to me in my first week in order that I may, as Terry does, take every opportunity and moment at hand with the Gospel and not myself in mind. My prayer for this next week is that a boldness and security would arise in me and that I would gain the eyes of a true missionary- the eyes that see the opportunity, see Christ in the opportunity, and bring him to the surface for others to also see.  

  

As I continue on this journey, please pray with me that Christ would be revealed to the youth in me and in every opportunity. Whether we have met or not, I also ask that you would be bold enough in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to hold me accountable to becoming the answer to even my own prayers.

"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
Who We Serve   What We Do   Get Involved  Support Us   News  Publications  Ministry Needs   Speaking   Service Projects   Sign-up


Become a fan on Facebook!
Mobile? No problem: m.StreetYouthMinistry.org.
I'm a notary for benefit of clients and supporters. Ph: (512) 553-3796
Volunteer or donate (tax deductible) online
Arrange a meeting with me: tungle.me/terrycole

Follow SYM: Facebook LinkedIn Blog RSS Twitter Plaxo Etsy Etsy Blogger Google Buzz Tungle.me YouTube Google Plus