Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Does God Rap?

Yesterday was one of those days where it's so hot you discover sweat glands in places you didn't think they should be, but, we had Bible Club and Kid's Club anyway! Our numbers were down a little but there were a faithful few kids who braved the excruciating heat to spend time with us crazy missionaries sitting under a canopy in an otherwise shadeless yard to lead Bible Club...and then came up to the Ministry Center for club as well.

One 15-year-old boy showed up that afternoon who hadn't come to club at all last week. Two summers ago, he accepted Christ at club, but the last two years have been a struggle for him to grow in that decision. He arrived yesterday just before our scheduled devotion time and I was a little worried about how his behavior would unfold...it can often be, shall we say, disruptive.

Pride was the topic of our devotion that day and Jason, another staff member, was relating the concept of pride to the idea of having "swag" (being better at something than anyone else--for all those non-urban inclined folks). Ultimately he said that having pride or saying that we're the best at something means that we're not remembering that God is the best. At the beginning of the devo, this particular young man was messing around with his cell phone and not really listening. But, as Jason continued to talk, he started participating in the conversation and really focusing in on what was being said. By the time Jason ended with prayer, the boy's eyes were completely glued on him.

As we filed out of the room for our next activity he came up along side Jason and asked him, "So, if God is better than us at everything, does God rap?"

"Well there's a lot of poetry in the Bible," Jason said; "And who wrote the Bible?"

"God did," the young man answered.

Jason continued, "We don't do anything that God hasn't given us the ability to do, the only difference is whether we use it to honor God or not."

"Hmm, I never thought of that before" was the reply.

This summer our theme is "Don't Waste Your Life!" and we're talking about how to do everything we do in life for God. It was a theme that we kind of stumbled upon but I am more and more seeing God's hand in the choice.

My prayer is that this summer some of these kids might see life a little bit differently, that maybe this year the Gospel would be more real and applicable to their lives. There are a few of the boys in particular that I feel God may be working on this summer. Maybe this one particular young man is already thinking about God in a little different light...he never thought about the God of our Bible Club stories being the God of rap music too.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

St. Louis' History of Racial Tension

One of the other missionaries on staff came across this article today (picture and link to article below). The racial riots it discusses happened right in our neighborhood. Fairgrounds Park is only 3 blocks north of World Impact, Old Sportsman's Park is directly across the street and St. Louis Avenue is four blocks south of World Impact and right where Andrew and I live.


While racial riots are not the norm, violence and racial tension are still major issues here in the city of St. Louis and our community has been at the center of the turmoil over the years.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Summer Carnival

Earlier this week one nine-year-old boy yelled excitedly when handed a Carnival flyer: "YAAAAAY!!! SATURDAY FUN DAY!!! And he was right. From 2pm until 7:30pm this last Saturday over 200 neighbors from our community enjoyed games, inflatables, food, face painting, a concert and more! With all the recent rain, God provided a beautiful clear day for all our plans! 25+ volunteers from area churches helped us man the games and serve food and a local health clinic did free health screenings.

This was all done right outside our building to promote the beginning of our Summer Youth Programs and our Just for Mom's group which both kicked off today! Rain kept too many kids away today, but we are anticipating a full and exciting summer ahead of us. Thanks to everyone whose been praying for our programs. I'm continually convinced that God is a God of details and He is faithful in all things--no matter how big or small. Enjoy a few snapshots of our block-party fun....

June Update

June 1, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope each of you are doing so well! Living and serving in the city is such a neat experience and knowing that you all are praying for us gives us a peace that only comes from our soon and coming king!

A couple of months ago, I (Andrew) told you about a young man named James. He was one of the first guys that I met moving to St. Louis almost nine years ago. He finally made a recent decision to accept Christ as his Lord and Savior. It has been so neat to mentor him and see him grow. But this growth has not come without the hard times as well. He has grown in so many areas but still struggles with going back to his old way of life.

Last week was another life altering moment in the life of James. James was headed home after work one night, waiting for his second bus connection. It was dark outside and out of the blue, something potentially very dangerous happened. A guy with a gun put his weapon in the back of James' head and told him to give him everything he had in his pockets. Not wanting to test the limits of this robber, James gave him $75 of the cash he had and his cell phone. James gave the man his valuables thinking that this would satisfy the robber. But what happens next will blow your mind.

After James gave the robber his cash and his phone, the robber pulled the trigger of the gun still at the back of James' head. James heard the "click" but nothing happened--the gun jammed. This blew my mind when I first heard about it. I immediately thought that God has something big planned for this youn man's life. The gun jammed--his life was spared.

James is a brother in Christ who is growing and learning how to have a relationship with Christ. He is moving to his first apartment, working two jobs, and saving up money for his first car. James is making huge life choices. The robber that pulled the trigger that night was looking to destroy James, but the Lord stepped in and saved his life. Pray with us that James continues to see God working in his life and is strengthened in his walk with God.

Adria and I are grateful that your prayers and support are allowing us to live and serve in this great city. God has done so many things here and it seems like He has only begun to be about His business in our community. Please do not stop praying. Praying for us is the most important thing you could ever do for us. We cherish each of you prayers. God is at work in this great city and we are humbled and amazed that God allows us to be a part of learning and serving here.

All for Our Coming King!

Adria & Andrew Medlen