Wednesdays with Miriam and Andi

January 9th, 2011 — 10:01pm

Andi and I got a new challenge: teaching the teenager class on Wednesday nights. We both love the opportunity to serve there! At the same time we are very aware of how we depend on God and how we need his guidance and his spirit to get the class moving.

It’s his vision to see our girls become women who are confident in God and know how precious they are.
Since we just started to work in that class, it is also very important to us -and one of our current aims- to gain their trust and to build strong relationships with them.
Sometimes it’s not easy, and we can’t tell where the girls are because they’re having a hard time opening up. Especially when all the girls are together, it is hard for them to “out” themselves.

So a few weeks ago, when we went caroling, I was at the homes of two girls that come on Wednesdays. How much it meant to me that both came up to give me a hug!!

At another time, a girl came to me and just wanted to talk about things that hurt her. When she tried to start she just burst out into tears.

There are more stories like the two above. I’m so happy and excited that they are slowly starting to share about what’s going on inside and to trust us.

Please pray for God’s blessing upon this class!


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Christmas gifts and carols

December 21st, 2010 — 6:42am

About one week ago we had a Christmas party at kids’ church where all the kids got their own Christmas present. It was crazy. Most of the kids were excited and cheered (especially the little ones). After they all ate we came to the present part when we tried to make them all calm down and sit down–hard work :) Once they did, we sang a Christmas song together: “Away in a manger”.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this article. The moment that all the kids had sat down and begun to sing together really hit me. I think we had over 200 kids squeezed in the sanctuary. Seeing them all singing along was a great blessing to me. It showed once again what an awesome place Agora is–for the kids!!! How great is that: Rough kids, who most likely did not even know this song before they first came to Agora gathering together to sing a Christmas song in celebration of Jesus’ birth, and all in the sweetest voices!
May God continue to prosper and bless Agora and most importantly the hearts and lives of the kids!

Thats it, bye-bye.


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Little Servant

December 20th, 2010 — 5:30pm

This weekend I was so blessed by a little girl who has been coming to church for the past few weeks.  Her name is Ranaja, she is 7 years old, and the cutest little girl!  Ranaja is always running from one staff member to another giving hugs and giggling infectiously.  But besides being a sweetheart, she is also a great helper.  On Saturday night she asked to work like many kids do, butecause we often have so many kids who want to work our policy is that they can only work for 10 minutes so that everyone gets a chance to earn a little extra money.  Ranaja worked her 10 minutes in the kitchen, but when Meghan told her she could go Ranaja begged to keep working.  Meghan told Ranaja that she wouldn’t get paid for any more work thinking that would stop the begging (as it usually does).  However, Ranaja was not at all discouraged.  She replied, “You don’t have to pay me anything; I just want to help!”  Ranaja proceeded to help in the kitchen for 45 more minutes.  She was so excited to be able to help.  When I walked in she announced that she was going to “stay until its all done!”  Ranaja did just that, she helped until the kitchen was clean and then she ran to the sanctuary to ask Pastor Rich if he needed any more help in there.  She spent several more minutes helping out in the sanctuary.  She was laughing and beaming through all of this and announcing how much she loved helping.  This little incident reminded me of what service is all about.  The Bible says, “The Lord loves a cheerful giver.”  When we give of ourselves with a smile and joy (just like Ranaja) we bring joy to God.  What a blessing for Him and us!

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Songs from the heart

December 20th, 2010 — 11:10am

I was pretty worn out and tired the other night when James and I went to pick up kids for church. Physically and mentally, I felt too tired to be much use to anyone.

We had gotten the kids into the van, and some worship song started playing on the radio. All at once the kids began singing along as loud as they could.

God used this moment to speak right to my heart. Once again he showed me clearly how special and wonderful it is that we here at Agora have the privilege of working with these kids. And, that God equips us again and again with new strength and pours out love for the kids.


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What kind of Transformer are you?

December 20th, 2010 — 10:59am
We see kids come, and we see kids go. The longer a child is at Agora, the more you get to know their “story”. Each child that comes through those doors has a story of their own to tell. Many times they do not open the book for you until a chapter of their life is lying in shreds.
One particular little boy has been a real blessing in my life. God has taught me so much through dealing with the “chapters” that take place in his life. Patience is just one of many things that Christ has been able to teach me through this little guy. Many times it is hard to see the work that is being done in these kids lives because we just get so caught up in the moment.
A few weeks ago, this little guy was having a rough night and just couldn’t sit still or listen. So finally Pastor Rich, James, Paul, the little guy and I sat in a circle and just began to talk. The topic was “TRANSFORMERS”.  Of course this grabs his attention being he LOVES the movie. As the conversation continued, we talked about “good” transformers and “bad” transformers and why each receives that title. Not only did this have his attention, but the Lord also grabbed a hold of me.
What type of transformer are you being turned into? One that is of the life that Christ has for us? Serving one another out of reverence for him and walking in the grace that he said is enough for us? Or is it a transformer that is self-serving and not walking in the light but in darkness?
Each day his mercies are made new.

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News from Little Gems

December 20th, 2010 — 10:28am

There are days when all I do is run around keeping the little ones from biting and scratching each other. After all, they’re at that age when they start to play together and engage one another…and sometimes they end up having a little accident or two.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that it makes it all the better when one of them comes up to me for a hug or wants to hug me or give a kiss. It’s so sweet that most of the time the other children come up to me, one after another, and the whole class ends up in one giant, hugging pile.


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Don’t Forget

October 25th, 2010 — 3:38pm

After spending years working with inner-city children, I sometimes find myself becoming numb to the issues that our children struggle with.  I know that abuse, neglect, and addictions are all there, but it quits hitting me quite so hard; in short, I come to expect it.  Whenever that happens I find that God places children or teens on my path with stories that remind me all over again of what our children face each day.

Three times in the past weeks I have had some painful reminders of the difficult things our kids at Kid’s Church struggle with.  A few weeks ago I saw a young girl standing against the wall, arms crossed, and lower lip out as far as it could go.  I could tell something was bothering her so I asked her if something was wrong.  I was not expecting an answer because this young lady doesn’t normally admit that anything is wrong.  But that night she opened her mouth and explained through tears that her Mom had left two days ago and hadn’t come home.  The girl had no idea where her Mom was, why she had left, or when she was coming home.  She was frightened and confused, as any child would be when a parent left them without any explanation.  The girl also went on to tell me that her Mom has a new boyfriend (a frequent occurrence).

Another incident happened when a teenage girl approached me and asked if she could get my advice about something.  I was taken aback because this young lady never shares her personal life with anyone.  I was even more shocked by what she told me.  She told me that her mother is an alcoholic who becomes very abusive towards her when under the influence.  She shared that she is afraid her mother will kill her.  Can you imagine?

This past weekend, I was chatting with a little 8 year old girl about everyday things such as school and what she likes to do.  I asked her if she had any brothers and sisters at church.  She answered that they used to come but don’t anymore.  When I asked her why they no longer attended Kid’s Church she said, “They moved far away.”  At this I realized that her parents must have recently separated.  She went on to say that one morning her mother told her father to, “Get out” that he, “had to go.”  Shortly after finishing the story the girl asked me how I would feel if my brother and sister were taken away.  I replied that I would be very sad and I would miss them.  She replied that she would feel “mad, angry, and a little upset.”

I don’t know the reasons behind this separation, or why Karen’s mom left her young daughter for two days without ever saying where she was going or when she would be back.  What I do know is that I cannot imagine dealing with these problems as a young child.  Divorce, neglect, and abuse are all things that the children we see weekly deal with daily.  I thank God that my parents provided a loving home for me to grow up in; however, it is now my responsibility to allow God to work through me so that these children can experience the loving “home” God has for them.

Thank you Lord, for the much needed  reminder.

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Sermon – 09_26_10

September 27th, 2010 — 2:18am

Click here for September 26, 2010

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Sermon – 09_19_10

September 27th, 2010 — 2:14am

Click here for September 19, 2010

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