Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Love by Action

Orange buildings, dusty sidewalks, brownish green grass, uneven sidewalks, the cutest kids I've ever seen, tagging, smiles, hugs, cheers, songs, Bible Verses, and soccer. These are the things that come to my mind when I think of Wyvernwood in LA.

I was sitting in the shade against a tree journaling and watching the CSM kids interact with their new found friends. This girl named Jenny (from Wyvernwood) came up to me and asked me if I wanted to see her writing journal from school. I said sure and I began to read. I got to read it for about half an hour because it was pretty in depth.

I got teary eyed as I began to read that Jenny wants to change her family and her neighborhood. Jenny has watched her siblings be involved in gangs and treat her parents badly. But Jenny doesn't want to be like that, instead she wants to write so that someone will hear and understand how bad gangs are and how much they influence families and break them apart. I sat shocked and amazed to see, that right before me stood a 9 year old girl who wanted to change something that she saw as wrong. So she wrote about it so someone else could read it and pass it along.

It's weird because I was one of the people who read it and now I want to pass it along. We go on the prayer tour every week and we talk about the gangs in LA and how they are very prominent and very much their own culture within LA. Yet hearing those statistics and seeing the tagging only goes so far. Yet when I look into the eyes of this 9 year old girl and see the hurt that has come into her family because of gangs a new realization sets in. I start to realize the real practical damage that is going on and I see the world these kids are growing up in, and my heart breaks for them. I just want to hold them in my arms and say, "You are awesome and it's going to be okay." Then I realize that while it's nice to do that, it's also nice to love by example and action, and show them that there is another kind of love. There is something that goes deeper than fighting and hating. There is something that stings more than words. That is love, and the only way sometimes to show the love of Christ is through our actions and simply telling the kids that we care and we think they are great.

I may never be able to fix Jenny's world but I can encourage her to pursue her writing dreams and to tell people about the things she's been through that she doesn't want other people to go through. Life is about the small things, about the moments we take to show love when we just don't understand why we can't solve all of the problems. It's about being Jesus in our actions and our smiles and our words. My prayer is for these kids to see Jesus this summer, so that they can understand true love that will prevail over these problems that they are going through. So that they can see that there is another option.

God is working and it's amazing because God is good all the time!

-Mandi, CSM Los Angeles City Host Summer 2008

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