Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's All Worth It

Last night was really rough.  Really rough.  In the last blog post I told you a little bit about CREW. CREW is a weekly youth gathering that serves as Keller Park Church's youth group. CREW was pretty difficult last night.  I had to break up a fight, ask a student to leave(and actually get him to leave the building), do constant crowd control, and persuade students to leave after CREW while they had a giant cupcake-throwing war outside with some unwilling participants.  By the end of the night I was spent.  After CREW, I spent several hours brainstorming new programming and techniques to get kids to listen and behave.  By the end of the night I was feeling a bit sorry for myself....wondering if all of this was actually making a difference.  I sometimes find myself in a place where it all seems for not.  

Then today happened.  

I took Stella to ballet class and when we returned home, I found this on my front door.
The index cards read: Carrie Anne Badertscher, You have made a great impact on our lives.  All the things you have done for us.  We want to give something back.  We want to show you that you are appreciated and that we love you.  We have something for you at Michelle's.  We really hope you enjoy it.  This is to show you how much we care.

As I walked through my house, I noticed index cards taped in various spots.  One on the couch that read, "the first time we cried together."  One on the table that read, "first time you encouraged us on school" and another on a picture in the back room that read, "a place we call home."  So many memories written on index cards.  My heart was full and so were my eyes(full of tears).

After I finished reading the cards, David said it was time to go to Michelle's house, which is right around the block from our house. (Michelle helps me lead the girls' discipleship group.  She and her husband live in the neighborhood.)  When we arrived at their home, Nene and Asia were standing at the door.  As they welcomed us in, I noticed this poster on the wall behind them.  
I can't begin to explain how I felt.  It was all just so overwhelming.  We hugged and then they made fun of me for crying so much.  I must have looked like a hot mess.  They quickly ushered me to the back room where, soon after entering, people jumped out from behind furniture and from within closets and yelled, "surprise."  It was then that I started to cry the ugly cry.  Families from church, UME students, volunteers from CREW, my discipleship girls, they were all there.  We munched on snacks the girls had gotten together and watched the kiddos run around with great delight.  It was a rich time of fellowship. 

After the families left, the girls had a special dinner waiting for the five of us.  On the dinner menu was: taco salad, movie popcorn(they actually went to a movie theatre and just purchased popcorn), sour patch kids, and Pepsi.  All my favorite things.  We laughed and reminisced about that past two years.  

The evening ended with the girls reading letters they had written about our time together and memories we have shared.  

I have never experienced a night like tonight.  It was truly one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.  The girls had planned it all and kept it all a secret.  They put a menu together, secretly got house keys from David, invited families from church, and taken time to write out their thoughts.  They blessed my heart in a way that it has never been blessed before.  

Every tear, every frustration, every late night, every knock and phone call, every difficult night at CREW.  It's all worth it.  Thank you Nene, Asia, Haley and Michelle for reminding me of that.  Thank you for loving me like you do.  I love you all desperately.  My cup runneth over.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Normal Week?

Over the past several months, people have often asked what a normal week looks like for us. I'm not sure there is a normal week, but from Fall to Spring we certainly do have a weekly schedule that is consistent from week to week.   

For about a year now, David has been working part-time as a stonemason.  He is currently working four days a week and stays home on Tuesdays with the girls while I work at the church preparing for CREW.  This schedule is working well for our family.  He is home in time for evening programs while being able to provide financially for our family.  His income is used to supplement the funds we raise as missionaries.  As we begin our third year in Keller Park, we have found a good rhythm for the neighborhood and our family with plenty of margin to stay emotionally healthy.  Whew.  We're happy about that.

Here are some of the programs that remain consistent from week to week, broken down by the day of the week.

Sunday-Every other Sunday morning we host a neighborhood breakfast before church. Neighborhood kiddos come at 8:45a and we eat breakfast at 9:30a.  Between 8:45a and 9:30a, the kids play Xbox, Nerf basketball, or just visit while we cook breakfast.  Their favorite things to eat are: any kind of breakfast meat, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs, and breakfast burritos. After breakfast, we all walk to church together.  

Monday- On Mondays, I (Carrie) lead an all-girls discipleship group.  David is home from work by 5:15p and I leave by 5:20p to pick up three girls from a local high school.  Group is held from 5:30p-7:30p.  We work on homework at the beginning of our time and then dive into conversation.  This discipleship group has far surpassed my expectations.  The girls are diving into the Word daily and are memorizing Scripture like champs.  They have made themselves accountable to one another and are encouraging each other to take steps toward Christ.  We are currently studying James 3 and learning how to tame our tongues.

Tuesday-  Our church youth group, CREW, meets every Tuesday from 6:00p-8:00p.  CREW is designed to be a safe place where students come together, experience community and ultimately take steps toward Christ.  I spend the majority of the day on Tuesday planning and programming our Tuesday evening sessions. I really enjoy leading CREW.  Students are faithful in attending and we have a fantastic group of adults who serve as small group leaders. We are currently working through a series on Identity.  (Thanks to the generosity of so many, we serve a dinner meal to anyone who comes to CREW)

Wednesday- After Stella's weekly ballet class, which she absolutely loves, we host dinner for anyone who wants to come.  We work on lots of homework (lots and lots of homework) and then set the table for dinner.  We, as a family, really like Wednesday evenings.  It's a great time of relationship building and laughter.  What do we serve for dinner? Anything I can find in my freezer or refrigerator.  What are their favorite things to eat? Tacos, lasagna, chicken and noodles with mashed potatoes, and homemade macaroni and cheese. They also look forward to desserts on Wednesdays.  I try to make something special for dessert after this meal.

Thursday- On Thursdays, we hold a homework time/computer lab/open basketball/Bible study at Keller Park Church.  From 4:30p-6:30p, the students work on homework, use the computer lab and play a little basketball.  From 6:30p-7:30p we hold a Bible study, open to any 6th-12th grader who would like to come.  This is a new program and is gaining momentum. (We serve some kind of substantial snack during this program) 

Friday- Day Off.  We try not to schedule anything on this day unless something comes up.

Saturday- Random activities and events. 

This is how we spend our week! We love what we do and are blessed to do what we love.

People have also asked how to financially support our family and ministry.  Pastor Ryan at Keller Park Church set up an easy way for individuals to give.  In the right margin of our blog is a green DONATE button.  If you would like to give financial support to Keller Park Ministries, you can give through the blog and it goes directly into our account at Keller Park Church.  

A GIANT thank you to everyone who has prayed for us, given financial support, cooked a meal or cookies, or volunteered for various programs.  You are appreciated and are very much a part of what we do in Keller Park.