made for His glory

living in pursuit of that

Posts Tagged ‘west dallas’

His (my) Girls

Posted by hrgarippa on 6 May, 2009

Last night we officially ended bible study. I’ll still be hanging out with the girls, but in a unofficial-come-over-whenever-you-want kind of way. My fearless, wonderful, dear, God-sent co-leader is due to have her baby any day now. I can say that for me the best part of this bible study this year has been co-leading it with Mindy. There were many times during bible study that the girls were just out in left field,  lost in outer space and I’d feel completely inadequate in reaching them and Mindy would finish my thoughts in ways the girls would understand…she’d reel them in from outer space. I am SO thankful for a friend like this and co-lifer (worker just doesn’t fit here).

p1040958                                                  the girls at Pine Cove

Last night at our End of the Year Celebration, Jasmine said to me… “So, Miss Hannah, when are you going to get Pregnant?”

I was mid-bite of my ginormous fajita burrito when she asked this question so I nearly choked….but once I got the food down, I said…”well baby, certainly not until after I get married….and then we’ll see about babies.”

And then Adrienne chimes in… “Oh no you’re not…you’re never having babies…I’m going to be all up in your bedroom after you get married.”

I then very *sweetly* looked at Adrienne and said, “You are going no where near my bedroom when I get married.”

After we got that settled…you know who would be in my bedroom after marriage, Jasmine says, “Why would you need to have kids when you have all of us. We’re your kids.”

Hmmm…how right she is….What a joy it is to love these girls, to pray for them, to encourage them, to be learning with them. They are very much like my kids.

p1040908                                             Jasmine and Adrienne

Please keep praying for them, and for me as I look for ways to keep them engaged over the summer. Summers can be rough around here or anywhere without much to do.

p1040902                                                                                                                                   More of my girls…Kaylene, Destiny, Octavia and Triana…

Posted in Another day in the hood, WD Kiddos | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Praise, always praise…

Posted by hrgarippa on 23 April, 2009

(Okay Okay…so I know I haven’t been around for a while. I’ve been a little busy and a lot happy.)

There is one lesson that I have had to learn over and over again here at Mercy Street, or rather in life in general. Sometimes its one step forward and two steps back (or three or four). When you’re moving forward it is easy to give all the glory to LORD, you can see His hand moving you right along. But when you’re moving back those are times when it can be a little harder to see His hand and shout “Glory Glory Glory” from the mountian tops.

But those ARE the very times when we need to praise HIS Holy name. When we need to remember that He is Good all the time, and that He has purposed ALL things for our good and for His Glory.

This week I’ve been saddened by some situations in the lives of my Girls…and then, Praise Him…He sends this sweet reminder in my devotional,

“Thank you that You plan to use for good the struggles my loved ones face – including their disappointing choices, their unwise or even harmful ways of thinking and living, and their sidetracks from going your way (as I see it – and, Lord, I know I could be wrong!).
 
I praise You in advance for the part these difficult things are going to play in Your good plan for us – in eventual deliverance and growth and fruitfulness. I’m grateful that in all these things the battle is not mine but Yours…and that the final chapter has not yet been written. How good it is that I can call on You to give me wisdom to know what to say or not say, what to do and not do…and that You live in me so that I can love with Your love, even when it’s hard. Thank You that these trails force me to trust you more!
 
I worship before You, my King and my God. I’m grateful that You command victories for Your people…and that “all things are Your servants.” You’re a God who acts on behalf of the one who puts his hope in You. Thank you that You are at work to answer my prayers in Your good way and time.
 
Thank you for past victories You have won in my loved ones’ lives – for progress and growth and answered prayer – and for the victories we will yet see in the future, to the glory of Your Name. I praise You that as time goes by, in new ways You will show us Your goodness in the land of the living.”

31 Days of Praise, Ruth Myers

So Praise always Praise.

Posted in Another day in the hood | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Spring Break 2009

Posted by hrgarippa on 23 March, 2009

So do you remember these cuties from a while ago. I was blessed to hang out with them over Spring Break. We ate Chick-a-lika (as my niece calls it). We read books at Half Price, and we talked. We had a blast. I love these dear ones.

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late_08_-early_09_070p1050607

Then later in the week I got to hang out with this sweetie pie…Miss Rissah. Big things are happening her life and I’ll tell you about them soon.

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I’ll also tell you about that sweet man who’s profile you can see in the picture up above…How he makes me smile and makes me laugh….and how he has a heart that is after my dear Savior.

Posted in Another day in the hood, WD Kiddos | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

Oh Forgiveness

Posted by hrgarippa on 5 March, 2009

 We’ve been talking about forgiveness in Bible Study on Tuesdays. It sort of came naturally, when one of the girls said, “If someone disrespects me, I’m going to disrespect them.”

 

The last several weeks we’ve talked about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. We’ve walked thru Matthew 18, the parable of The Unforgiving Servant and the girls have had a lot of questions…

 

“How do you forgiven someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again?”

 

“How do you forgive your mom when she abuses you?”

 

“How do you forgive your dad who doesn’t want anything to do with you?”

 

“How do you forgive your mom’s boyfriend who molested you?”

 

And then there is Tree*…she always lightens things up with questions like….

 

“Is it true that if you don’t forgive someone, your insides will rot and you’ll die a miserable death alone and be eaten by dogs.” Or “Is it true that when you’re sick you smell different?”

 

(We love Tree…she keeps us focused and has taught us how to steer the ship back on course after getting WAY off course.)

 

As God would have it, I attended a certain church on Sunday, that I don’t typically go to and the pastor talked about forgiveness…Although his entire sermon I don’t recommend, some of this points were good.

 

He said, “forgiveness is not an emotional decision, forgetting, reconciliation, condoning, dismissing or pardoning.”

 

“Forgiveness is…the decision to continually and purposefully commit to being driven by love.”

 

You can’t love someone when you’re filled with bitterness and rage.

 

So on Tuesday we decided to have a bonfire and symbolically burn our rage…not our bras. HA!!!

 

We asked all the girls to write a letter to God listing all the people and the offenses that they needed to forgive. We have a spot in the back of Mercy Street where we have a fire pit and we lit a big ole fire and we burned our letters, as we talked about the freedom of forgiveness.

 

Oh….the freedom of us being forgiven…as far as the east is from the west, people…God is good.

 

And then we danced around the fire and sang silly songs, made smores, and young ladies that carry weights larger than most of us have seen in our lifetimes danced in the field as light as fairies.

 

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3.13 

 

*This is my affectionate name for her.

Posted in Another day in the hood, WD Kiddos | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

aaaa lot

Posted by hrgarippa on 3 February, 2009

There is a story that my family tells, it has to do with my Uncle Chazz, and a large amount of something…the situation happened so long ago that I don’t remember what happened exactly I only remember the punch line in which he answered “aaaalot.” So now when you ask anyone in my super large family a question in which the answer is a lot, the answer is always “aaaa lot.”

So you might ask, “What’s going on at Mercy Street right now?”

Well, the answer…”aaaa lot”

Things that are beautiful, and I can’t wait to share some of these wonderful stories.

Please be in prayer for all of us…we need it.

Posted in Another day in the hood, Mi Familia | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Alive, Together

Posted by hrgarippa on 27 January, 2009

 One of the questions I’m asked a lot is,

 

“What is your job like?”

 

 or

 

“What’s a typical day like?”

 

That is a difficult question to answer. My job is about relationships. It is about building relationships, spending time getting to know people of all sorts, with all sorts of crazy stories. People are complex. You know that because you’re complex.

 

People are hard to read, they lie, they laugh, they manipulate, they cry, they move, they get sick, they change their minds, they love, they hurt, they are kind, and mean, they are dirty and messy, they are stinky and they are beautiful.

 

People no matter who they are or who they are to you are complex.

 

Sometimes you get to the heart of the complexity. Sometimes as you open your heart and they open their heart you are able to see beyond…well all the complexity. This usually takes time. And be sure it is a mutually transaction. Only to the extent at which you open your heart can you know someone else’s heart.

 

There are times though as I desire to wade through all the complexity with a person and they throw up wall after wall; I start to wonder if it is worth it. How can I ever know a person who has so many stories, who is hiding things (aren’t we all), hidden pains, hidden thoughts, hidden motives. How can I maneuver through the labyrinth of another human’s journey? I am reminded of the very thing that enables me to actually do my job.

 

The unchanging character of God.

 

This morning as I thought of all those who I desire to truly know and love, and the frustration at not being able to do that, I was reminded that it is only by his unchanging LOVE that I’m even able to take the first step at engaging these people in relationship. It is only by His LOVE that my walls start to crumble, my hidden pain is revealed, my hidden thoughts brought to light and my hidden motives made right. It is only by His LOVE that I allow others into the labyrinth of my journey and together we discover the beauty of friendship…of family…and of Love.

 

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ. Ephesians 2.4-5

 

How great it is that because of God’s LOVE we can live in community…we can live together alive in Christ.

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The fight, explained

Posted by hrgarippa on 20 October, 2008

As I mentioned in my previous post, I was stuck in the middle of a fight last week…here’s the story.

Friday the great DISD gave the kids an early release day, which means in this neighborhood they are going to be up to whole lot of nothing. I needed to speak to several kids so it was the perfect opportunity for me to get in touch with them while they were milling about or sitting in front of the tube. As I was I driving through one of the housing projects I came to a “T” in the road I could go left or right, I turned left and noticed a large group of about 30-40 people standing around and one young man with his pants hiked up to his chest…you know so he could move around and could use both hands. He was jumping around yelling this and that, and about 10 feet away another young man, his granny or mom trying to hold him back was yelling back. He broke loose and went after the other young man and they moved toward my car…as did the swarm of people…at this point me and my car were either going to become the boxing ring or I needed to back out fast.

The young men…started punching. And everyone just stood and watched, and then a car pulled up and about 5 more young men ran up…these young men where the all red. The tale tell sign of the Bloods.

Before I tell you anymore about “The Fight” let me tell you a bit about my perspective of gangs in West Dallas. I think that most of the kids in gangs are posers. Certainly there are kids that actually belong to the Crips and the Bloods…but for the most part the young men and women of West Dallas are wannabes or as the police call them…gonnabes. They act tough and wear the colors, and play the part…but they aren’t packin, they aren’t dealin, they aren’t as thug like as you see in the movies. Their parents might be. Their uncles and aunts might be…but most of the kids aren’t that hard…yet.

So…the bloods arrived…either to help or hinder, I’m not sure because I started to back out and go right. Right takes me out of the housing project, and I decided I’d come back and see the kids another time.

I came back…an hour later…and all this activity…still going on. The crowd was larger, the amount of people fighting had grown….but it had moved into the street. There was a larger presence of Blue (Crips) and Red (Bloods) and a much larger presence of kids watching, which erks me (understatement of the year).

After meeting with the kids I needed to see (who it turned out were busy watching the fight), I drove through the crowd, careful not to hit the young men beating the tar out of each other and wondered why I didn’t have Sargent Smith’s number in my phone, he’s our neighborhood cop. But then I heard someone say, “The Law’s been called.” And I saw the Fire Department and the Cops come.

That’s what it took to break this thing up…The Fire Department and the Police.

The kids I met with said, “they fight like this all time, this isn’t anything new.” I asked them why they watch and they said, “we don’t have anything better to do.”

It made me think of my early release days. I would walk home with my friends and we would build forts in our backyards…clubhouse where we would sing and make up dances…obviously this was before we were throwing parties. Most kids don’t have to encounter the kind of chaos that kids in this community encounter on a daily basis.

I pray that these kids would be able to be kids. That they would learn the joy that comes from silliness and laughter. That God would shield their eyes, their hearts, their bodies, their minds from a world that is urging, begging them to grow up way to fast. And I’m excited about some of the new ways that Mercy Street is seeking to help keep these kids…kids. I’m looking forward to telling you about that in the next couple of weeks….so stay tuned.

Posted in Another day in the hood, Hope | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »