Friday, December 17, 2010

Imaginary Feast Slideshow

Slideshow for PATH (click on this)

This is a project I am doing for PATH fundraising event.  This project is about Mayra and Wilbur who is staying at Path's family center.  Its just a min and 25 sec video.  Check it out!
: )  Maybe you could donate some money toward this fundraising event.

People's faith and taste buds changes.

I am eating cucumbers, dipping chips in guacamoledrinking egg nog, and my relationship with God have gotten closer after the last 4 months in LA.  In the previous blogs, I have mentioned how I am so thankful that God gave me opportunity to serve him and be a witness to others and he is teaching me new stuff that I never thought of.  I never though in this mission (YAV) program that I will do mission work and design work together and I have been told it was very unlikely to find that dream in this program.  I never lost faith in God but I allowed to listen to negative information from people. God proved us all wrong. I am doing the dream.  God listens and God already knows what best for you in HIS own time and HIS way, not our own time or our own way.  I have listened to people's stories and God opened the gates for me to understand what they are saying. For some reason, I still have a hard time understanding my roommates, but have no problems understanding the people outside the apartment from homeless people to the people I  just met randomly. God opened my ears.  God knows blueprint of my life, I don't. My faith have grown stronger from the lessons I have learned from God for the last 4 months. Nobody and I will never will understand the entire mystery of God but we can gain stronger relationship with him through our daily lives. My friends back home have asked me "Am I scared, homesick, bored in LA?" The answer is No.  Of course I miss my family and friends back home.  But I have been welcomed since I have arrived in LA.  God had this plan  and he gave me a trail to meet and form friendships with people. I have a LA family, church friends, and  friends from work or sport games. They have offered help if I needed it. I am so happy here.  I have always been independent back home and here that have tested my boundaries in a foreign land  that I never been before. God gave me directions and a mouth to speak clear to ask people for advice if I got stuck. I am truly comfortable in this environment. God gave me opportunities to enjoy and have fun while I am here in LA.  I never thought I would talk to Robert Dowery Jr or shook hands with Denzel Washington 2 months ago. But the real celebrities are the people who have prayed for me, supported for me, and leaned a hand.  My director, his family, my family, my LA family, my prayer partner, my church from home and in LA, my friends in LA and back home.  The number one celebrity is God of all times. He listened and still listens. In the first sentence, of this paragraph, I mentioned cucumbers, dipping chips in guacamole and drinking egg nog, I hate those things but since I been in LA, my taste buds have changed.  I love guacamole, egg nog, and cucumbers now. So 2 things changed for me, a closer relationship with God and taste buds. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

God knows best.

Matthew 21:16-22 KJV

19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
 20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
 21Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
 22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

At Hollywood First Presbyterian church, I started to get involved with the youth group about in late October. Well me and youth pastors decided it was right time to tell my story to kids after they seen me few times.  I gave my testimony to the middle school and high school kids along with adults in the room on Sunday morning. I had a power point set up and was little nervous of the kids might not understand me. I done lot of praying before this, asking God to speak his words, not mine and teach me to speak slow as I talk. After I gave my testimony, I asked if there was any questions? Kids and adults started to raise their hands and asked me about my hearing, mission work, what I am learning so far from God in LA, and etc.  It was all great questions.  I understood everyone's questions. : )  There was some answers that came out of my mouth that I never thought of it before I spoke as I was answering their questions.  I didn't realize that during the testimony.  I truly knew it was from words of God. My director Matt asked some good questions about my hearing so I could explain clearly about differences of hearing aids and implants and my struggles with it in the past and how God helped me with it.  Some asked me missionary questions. At the end, David (co-youth pastor) asked to pray for me and kids surrounded me and put their hands on me as David prayed. I will keep on being a helper and christian leader throughout the year with the high and middle school kids of the church. I enjoy every minute!    Oh yea, David told me that a boy came up to him and asked why do I talk funny?  David thought of telling him in his own words  about it but then he said Kyle will be talking that today and you can ask him questions. Then David said to me it was the right time for you to tell your story to the kids. The kids are noticing you more at events and on Sunday mornings.  God is Good and God knows what is best. 

POSADA (A Christmas festival originating in Latin America that dramatizes the search of Joseph and Mary for lodging.)
On December the 13th we are having POSADA event. 
So we and neighbors will go to 3 houses in the neighborhood and knock on their doors and ask if there is room available for us? (All the 3 owners of their houses will say no) The fourth house we show up will be the community house and the host will let us in. We will see 2 of our neighbors dress up as Mary and Joseph and plastic baby Jesus. (we reenacting the birth of the baby Jesus) 
We will have desserts and sing Christmas carols in Spanish afterward.  The dwellers from the past years, done that every year. Last year, they had over 40 neighbors showed up and walked with them as they knock on the doors. I am really looking forward to that. 

Gift Store 

We are having a gift store at the community house for kids to buy something for their parents on Dec. 14, 15, and 16 in the afternoon. We are purchasing many of these items, and will open a store for the kids to buy them at a reduced price or with service. We are asking for volunteers to help us out to help the kids wrap presents, make sweet letters from the kids to the parents, and help with the budget. Last week, we talked to the kids and been finding out what they want to give to their family if they could afford it. So we going shopping this week to get the stuff and have it at the store when the kids come. 

I ask that will you please pray that POSADA and Gift store event go well and bring this neighborhood closer together for Christmas and bring joys to their families. Also please pray for me, my housemates , Matthew, and volunteers as we try to get all of this ready to go before the deadline. 

Saturday night, Me and my housemates went to Matthew and Darcie's Christmas party. A lot of my church friends was there. We chatted, sang songs, told jokes. Good times!   About a month ago, we discovered that Matthew (our director) was in a music video few years ago with Five For Fighting on youtube.  So we been planning on what will be the best way to tell Matt that we seen it. So on that night at the party, Josh played his guitar and I played the bongos and rest of the housemates sang 100 years by Five For Fighting in front of Matt. It went great. Matt was laughing about us singing the whole song. The adults was asking about why we were singing that song to Matt and we told them. LOL

Just click on it and at 0:44, 0:59 you can see Matt on the tree. 

I hope y'all are doing well!  God bless!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful For Opportunities

2 Timothy 1:7
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Last Wednesday, I worked with the outreach team from PATH. The outreach team goes out in certain parts of LA and find homeless people. So at 8am I arrived at the office with my 2 housemates Josh and Robert which they been a part of outreach team since September. We found out that someone who is a huge supporter of PATH, brought few hundred jackets along with gloves to give away to the homeless.  Her name was Mrs. Getty, I recalled of hearing good things of what she have done for PATH and she was one of the 32 honorees we honored at PATH's gala event this past October.  So we went to a church called Blessing Sacrament where the jackets going to give away. The church gives away free breakfast 4 times a week to the homeless. On Wed, they are normally closed but on the 24th(Last Wednesday), they opened up to give away jackets and food. There was about 120 homeless or more lining up outside the fence waiting to get in. There is a school on the church property and the kids from the school helped out give away jackets as we (outreach team) helped the homeless find their way out of the church as they got their jacket, gloves, and food. Each homeless person that came out of the back door of the church, we greeted them.  Sometime we started a conversation with them. I seen mix emotions of the homeless people's faces as they walked out. Some excited, sad, or frustrated.  Some didn't want the jackets, so they just got the food. There was a friendly cop that was with us and he asked one homeless fella, why didn't you get a jacket? The homeless fella said you will find me too easy. Too big of a jacket!  Ha Ha.  Some were thrilled to get jackets. Some came in with shopping cart filled with trash bags full of stuff or a backpack with stuff tied on the ropes of the backpack. I was introduced to a homeless man who worked for a long long time. PATH did some research on some stuff for him awhile back and ended up getting some benefits for him cause he worked for so long. So this week he will have his own apartment and paid for because the benefits.  God is Good. 

Thursday morning, Thanksgiving day I went to PATH building of Hollywood to take the homeless to Pink Taco for Thanksgiving. When the homeless was lining up, I hand them a waiver paper to sign so we can take pics, etc at this event. If they didn't sign it, they couldn't get on the bus. Over 100 homeless people went to Pink Taco.  Pink Taco was a mexican restaurant.(Not a Taco Bell type)  This was the 2nd time Pink Taco did this for PATH.  It turned out to be great. While I was there, I took pics and talked to most of the homeless there. I listened to their stories. Some of them have said life is gonna get better soon. I know it, they said. They enjoyed the food. There was 2 guys was giving me a hard time for being for the Saints while they were for the Cowboys while we watched the game for little bit.  
They are enjoying the food and the conversation.

People lining up to get back on the bus to head home. 

About 3:30 I came home, and met up with the rest of my housemates and neighbors for thanksgiving. My housemate Alex threw a thanksgiving party for the neighbors from 1pm to whenever. Over 40 people came. I met new and old friends from the neighborhood. 

I made my nanny's peach cobbler for the event.  We had ton of food from church friends and neighbors beside the dishes we made on our own. My parents sent in few boxes of cans and my housemates's families wired in money so we could use it for thanksgiving event for the neighbors.  God is Awesome!

I am thankful for opportunities that God have given me here in LA. He taught me to see things in a new way.  Everybody take things for granted and I know I have. I have seen homeless lived out in the dirty streets where they face no protection from weather, lack of food, lack of friends, lack of shelter, lack of money or job. All they need is a shelter, a job, and food.  We need a cell phone but certain kind of cell phone or grape juice but certain kind of grape juice. We take things for granted in ridiculous ways. Its stupid. Some of you might argue at the fact that we worked hard to get good things and we deserve to have stuff that we can enjoy. Yes but think of this, do we need it to survive?  Are we gonna get to take it to Heaven with us? No.   Does this mean, I am going to get rid of my macbook or my truck or stop using it for awhile? No. But since mid September I started to not take things for granted seriously and I am thankful for God showing me this in a deeper way. In past mission trips where I have seen poverty for a week and felt the effects from their stories. But that tend to wear off after few weeks after the mission trip. Now I am seeing poverty every day and seeing the people out on the street asking for food or money.  I have  better understanding for poverty now and want to find a cure to fix this. Christmas is coming up, we all be at home catching up with families and friends and be warm while there are people who will be sleeping or staring at the traffic while on the street in cold weather. My stomach hurts when I think about that. I wish I can just clap my hands and all the sudden, everybody in the world have a home, food, and families. The reality part is that there gonna be people out in the street no matter what. 

I ask you please to pray for homeless that they find warmth, shelter, food, and love through the holiday season. Pray that the homeless shelter help them start fresh again in their lives. Pray for the people who are volunteering their time to help out at the food banks, homeless shelters, fundraising, and helping the homeless during their holiday free time. Pray for the people who gonna travel during the holiday to their families safely and for the ones staying at home. Pray for my friends who are in other countries doing mission work for a year. 

I am thankful for my parents who raised me in church and taught me that God is first before anybody or anything.  I am thankful for opportunities that God have given me to see his glory shine. I am thankful for my housemates, my director Matthew, Matt's family, my FPH church friends, my prayer partner Brandon and LA friends that I met this year. I am thankful that God still listens. I am thankful whoever made sweet potato pie with pecans for Thanksgiving and its was good.  I hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  God bless!   

Monday, November 8, 2010

Listen to the People

Hello friends and family!  

Its been 2 weeks since I typed my last blog.  I have been praying for few days of what I should type on this blog. So here it is. 

On Oct. 28, Me and my housemate Robert was heading to West Hollywood to check out a free movie that I won through a contest. As we were getting there, Robert was telling me about his job with PATH. He is on a outreach team which go out in LA and search for homeless people. What they do is, offer a ride to hospital if they are hurt , offer advices,  give a bag of food, and let the homeless know that there is a shelter called PATH that willing to help them start a 2nd chance at life.  They do alot of thing to help the people. Robert brought up something I never thought about.  A lot of homeless have lost their self esteems or lack of courage to seek a job. Why?  What if you been out on the street for months or years, and people stare at you as they walk by or never talk to you  and just ignore you. You will feel hopeless and think that if I try to get a job, that boss will ignore me just like the people walk by me on the street.   So one of the things the outreach team do is meet the homeless and start a conversation with them. That will help their heart heal and become stronger and realize that not everybody is the same. The outreach team try to see the same homeless person few times every month so that person know that the outreach team haven't forgot about them. So the homeless will gain confidence  and make a effort to get a job. There is some homeless that are lazy, some who can't help that they are in this situation, and some who are trying but not aware of shelters like PATH who willin to help them out.  LA is a big city and its our job not only help the homeless but spread the word about us and what we offer to help the homeless a 2nd chance at life.   As we were getting close to the movie theater, we saw homeless man walked by at a stoplight in West Hollywood. Robert said a lot of homeless people come up to West Hollywood in the morning cause there is churches who give away coupons, gift cards, breakfast sandwiches for free every morning. Then after that, they go back to hollywood or downtown LA.     

A few weeks ago, there been 10 or 15 homeless people living the hills of Hollywood near the Hollywood Bowl.  There are houses on those hills.  There been complaints that the homeless is starting to build fire on the hill. There is trash forts that they build on the hills. Basically, the people with houses on the hills can't get fire insurance because of what the homeless is doing on the hills.   So the sheriff and his team was going to take down the homeless shelters down and force homeless to move or accept help from the PATH's outreach team.  So the outreach team was with sheriff and his team.  The sheriff  team took down shelters and 11 out of 15 homeless seek help from outreach team and they took 11 to PATH shelter and helped them get clean up.   Please check out this article about this homeless situation from my friend Joel who is a CEO of Path.  This will tied in with this story. Just copy and paste. 

The War Against Homeless Sweeps

 My housemates and I have changed the schedule around tutoring and recreation with neighborhood kids about 2 weeks ago.  Instead of all 6 of us being there on Tues., Wed., and Thurs. from 5 to 8.  We ended up doing where 2 of us will have our own afternoon to do tutoring and recreation with kids one day a week.  For example, Me & Robert in charge of Wed afternoon from 5-7:30,  Alex & Brady in charge of Thurs., etc.   My housemates like it that way, I don't care either way. I love being with the kids even if it not my afternoon to be with the kids.  My director told me back in May in the interview chat, that he wanted us to have our own time to rest and do what you like to do for fun because there will be a time where we will get frustrated or fill up with emotions of what we do every day helping the homeless.  I haven't reach that point and I hope I won't.  I love every minutes I have spent with the kids and with people in my office at PATH.  I enjoyed learning from them and hearing their stories.   
God is Amazing!

At PATH, I have finished up adding over 900 names or businesses that donated items/money to PATH into a software program called SAGE.  The program organize the names with addresses, phone #, email, etc.   Its help us and my bosses so when PATH do another project or fundraising event, we have that data where we just sent out emails or letters to the ones who have helped PATH in the past.  I also been working with my media design partner Paul, where we created a few logos for PATH's partners and I come up with ideas to make that logo pop out from colors, texture, sizes, pictures, fonts, 3-D or art.  Its been great learning new stuff from Paul and he have been teaching me how to work with a new program called Firework which design websites.  I normally used dreamweaver or basic HTML to make websites.  I am learning the trade and tools from this job.  Its have been a blessing! This past week, my housemate Brady who work in the same building as I do, his boss Andrew saw me the other day, and told me that he heard that I am the best of what I do in computer stuff. I laughed and said I don't know if I am the best, but I try my best.  He just smiled and said good, I talked to your boss Jeremy and he is okay that I can borrow you for now. So the next day  I had papers of signed names of homeless people who have used our program for showers, meals, phone calls, etc. As I was reading the names and list of things they used at PATH and I was typing at the same time.  There are some people that can't write. There was names that you couldn't even read. Andrew said just come up with best name that you think might fit in the names you can't read. So if you ever writing a letter or signing your name with info for something, write good, not horrible. Sometime someone will have to read all those names and type it into the computer. It will  make that person's eyes little easier to read as they type.  

Let me explain this Doors / Young Adult program require us to do for year.   
- Complete 32 hours a week with agency 
- Start a tutoring /recreation program in afternoons with neighborhood kids. 
- Read over 6 books related to christian stuff  over a year and teach of the 2 books out of 6 to the housemates.
-Be involve in a church every Sunday.
-Do community service with your housemates once a month in the neighborhood. 
I don't have the whole list what Doors require but here is some of the important ones above.

One of the cool things, my director Matthew has done is that we all have a prayer partner that we meet few times a month.  We had a dinner with few possible prayer partners to get to know them about a month ago. Few weeks after that, me and my housemates deicded that Matthew should make a decsion on who is best for who.   Matthew picked Brandon to be my partner and we connected.  He actullay go to Hollywood Pres. so I see him every Sunday. He is carpenter and does frame work and finshes on furniture  and stuff. He have worked for Extreme Home Makeover Edition for 2 years and traveled with them. We have a lot of stuff in common and we shared our testimony last Tuesday afternoon and it was awesome. His wife is from TN and a UT grad so finally somebody I can talk to about UT Vols. lol 

My director Matt had given us a month and half to search for a church. I have checked a few churches. LA Reality, Ecclesia , and Hollywood Pres. Church.  I have prayed and seek advice from my parents and my director Matt. I have decided to go Hollywood Pres. church.   About 2 weeks ago, I knew how the routine schedule was going to be week after week for me.  I have been praying and thinking about being a part of a younger youth group of middle or high school kids. I  had a chance to be in a position of a leader role with youth group at FPC of M'Boro for a year when I was in college. I loved it and enjoyed being with the kids.  I had that feeling in my heart that God wanted me to do that again. So I done few emails and conversations with 3 youth pastors at Hollywood Pres. and did a final meeting with them last Thursday. I will be a part of the youth group as a leadership role helping out the middle and high school kids on Sunday mornings and random events on Friday nights. My pastors want me to try for a month as a trial to be sure that I am not overwhelm as I do have responsibly with Doors program. I am very excited and so are my youth pastors. I have met few kids Sunday morning and started few conversation with what they like to do.   I ask you to pray for me and my communication that the kids will understand me. 
God is Good!

We had our Fall Festival at the community house to welcome families and kids in. We had games set up, paint faces, pose goofy behind a sign as a clown, give-away prizes, art drawings, and fill up plastic glove with popcorn. It went great. I printed 62 flyers out in the neighborhood and came back with 4 left in my hands.  We been planning for this for 2 weeks. It was successfully well done and prepared.  There was more new kids and families that came than the regulars. Which that was great.  Few kids bob for apples!
God is Awesome!
The entrance to the Fall Festival

She won a guitar. Oh yeah, that is my roommate Brady behind her as a banana boy. 

Almost every weekend, Me and my housemate Josh go to a park and play Ultimate Frisbee with friends that we met at the park and other places.  Its had been a blast meeting new people.  Last Saturday, we played for 3 hours.  About a hour before it was over, there was no more players in white t-shirt left to take our spot if we need to catch our breath. So we ran back and forth for hour with no sub. Lol  I had a blast.  Josh's feet hurts so bad, he was limping for the rest of the evening.  
                                            The park where we play Ultimate Frisbee. 

On Halloween night me and few of my housemates and friends went to West Hollywood to a free halloween festival. We saw a lot of crazy costumes. Over 150,000 people was there. The police closed down sunset blvd for few miles for this event.  It was fun but that was my one time experience for me and won't do it again.
                                              Here is us as somebody else for one night. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greater thing have yet to come And greater things are still to be done in this City.

Hello friends and family! 

My roommates and I have a group of college or high school students  come visit and do mission work for a week or a weekend. A group of students come mostly in the spring and in the summer to do mission work in LA.  Just last week, a group of girls came and stayed at the community house. They were from a boarding school in Texas.  These girls had been in trouble with law or with their family in the past.  Most of the girls I talked to, told me that their mom or dad had no choice but send them to boarding school or to jail. A girl named Dorothy have saw my corlear implants, and sat beside me as I was talking to Paul which he was a director or the boss of these girls. She started to sign language to me, I laughed and said hey, I don't do sign language. I read lips very well and can hear. So we open a conversation over deaf stuff and corlear implant stuff. She have told me that she had a hard time studying foreign languages in school, so she took sign language and love it! She deicided to do volunteer work at deaf school somewhere in Texas and communicate with deaf students.  She did that for a year and half. That was the first night they stayed at the community house.  So every morning and after work, I see the girls and talked to them. They had worked at homeless shelter folding clothes one day and another day, they served food to homeless on skid row. One of the girls, she want to be a part of the YAV/Doors program like me and my roommates are doing. They asked us questions, why we doing this, why LA,  and they think it is so awesome that we are given a opportunity to do this.  I answered their questions and heard small part of their life story from the past and how boarding school helping them out and get a 2nd chance at life again. At boarding school, they don't get no internet, if they want to email their family, they have to type their email letters, then give their disc drive to the staff, and the staff will take that disc drive and email the letters to the parents.  No phone calls, a few visits, and no communication with their friends from outside. Back to Dorothy, On the last night before she left, She opened up about her past. She had hit her mom and was with the wrong crowd. She didn't wanna be with her parents all the time and get in trouble with the law. When her mom decided to sent her to boarding school, Dorothy hated her.  She said after the first week, she missed her mom so badly. She wanted to call her. The staff wouldn't let her. As a few weeks goes by, she regrets what she have done and wished she could be with her family all the time. She finally got to email and call her parents every now and then. She said boarding school have a church and she got involve with it. She felt closer to God and understand that she didn't have to do what she did in the past. It was pointless. There is more to this story than what I am typing. She will graduate in Dec. and want to go to community college close to home for a year and then transfer to a big college to do journalism. She said when she go back home, she knows her friends will be there, but she knows what is right in her heart and family come first.   Sadly, I couldn't leave any contact info for her to keep in contact with her.  The staff wouldn't allowed it. 

                                                                The girls and the staff

A few weeks ago, when PATH had a gala event in Beverly Hills, we raised over 280,000 dollars to help the homeless. Gala event was successful. Me and Paul did the photo shoot during the event and I did the slideshow.  Here is a video slideshow of the gala event.   (Copy and paste it on the browser.)

Last weekend. my roommates and I went to Forest Hills on a retreat with Hollywood Pres. Church. It was amazing meeting people and listened to their stories.  The guest pastor Scott Scruggs spoke on trusting God, knowing who hold your future, and God loves you. He provided me notes of the sermons of the 4 sessions he had.  The last night, Pastor Scruggs talked about getting rid of your sins. Start a new path. No sins from the past will hold you down. Let it go! God got greater plans for you than you know. So after the sermon, we all got a small wood pad and wrote of our sins on there. After that, we all went to a outdoor theater where there was a fire, and we threw the wood pads into the fire as we sang hymn songs.  

I bounded with my roommates closely and God closer. During the day, we did rock climbing, high adventure trail, hiking, and freesbie golf.  We listened to my director's wife Darice's testimony. It was uplifting of hearing her story of how she overcome the mountains. As we was coming back home from the mountains, we got a flat tire.  We got 4 brand new tires after 3 hours of waiting. Awesome!   

My work at Path and community tutoring with the kids is going great! In the previous blog, I talked about the young man who was doing bible study at the community house. Well me and him had wonderful conversation about God and how he works in mysterious ways the other day.  At the end of the conversation, we both mention the names of who do you want to pray for.  I mentioned of the Chinen miners and he wanted me to pray for his family.  The next day, is when the few of miners finally got out of the hole.  I am glad they are safe! God is good!

Every Monday, we have a community day with roommates and the director. During the day, we do small part of worship, then discuss on the book that we been reading currently, then we do some activity from going to the beach to preparing food for the aids victims.  Last Monday was our personal day off, I felt God was speaking to me to do something for the homeless on my day off during the previous weekend. So on Monday morning, I went to grocery store and got 1 loaf of bread, peanut butter, snacks, and  10 mini bottles of water. So I got 10 bags of peanut butter sandwiches with snacks and a water bottle each.  I also put a paper in there that had a story of Matthew 14:22-34 It was about Jesus walking on water and Peter sinking cause he lost his trust in Jesus.  I put a paragraph at the end talking about trusting in Jesus and that God loves you so much, that he gave his only son to die for us. No matter what you done in the past, God still love you. Just trust him!  So I went out and gave away 3 bags to the homeless that was out on the streets on Hollywood, Sunset, Vine, Gower, and  Santa Monica Blvd. All 3 of them thanks me and one of them look at me and said what am I doing? I said here is some food. He kept  staring at me like he was puzzled about this moment. I just smile back at him and said God bless you. As I walked away, I turned my head to look at him, his face buried inside the brown bag.  One homeless lady was so excited, she couldn't wait to open the bag. It was almost like Christmas day opening presents.  The rest of the 7 bags, I took one each day to work, just in case, I see a homeless on my way to give a bag to them. I don't know why God was speaking to me over the weekend to do that. But I know this, those people who got the bag, at least they have a meal and a bible lesson on that day. 
God is Awesome!

There is greater things have yet to come to this city and I have already seen so many things of God's glory since I been here. I know there is more greater things to come to this city! God is good!  I am learning so much from the people I have met from homeless, neighborhood kids, my bosses, church members, and more! 

 Please pray for my dad's family and my Aunt Linda. My uncle and my Dad's brother in law passed away this weekend.  

God is Good

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

God is love

There was a young man sitting at a park right after he got out of jail.  He got in trouble for a few problems that he did in the past. As he was sitting there thinking, a tourist just sat down beside him.  The tourist  and the young man started a conversation. The tourist was talking about God to the young man. The young man just listened to him. At the end of the conversation, young man got a bible from the tourist.  The tourist left and the young man decide to read the bible and give it a try.  He could not put it down after he started reading it.  The young man started to realize that God is always there and will heal your heart,  heal your relationship with family and friends no matter what you have done in the past.  That was a year and half ago. The young man has changed. He has accepted Christ when he was little but after jail, God got to him.  Every Tuesday, this young man comes to the community house and has a bible study for neighbors and anybody is welcome to join.  Last night, I heard his life story and  he tied in his life story with the bible story of Psalm 27: 1-9. He explained clearly and made sure everybody was on track with him.. I saw God's glory all around him.  He was full of happiness and praising the Lord. We need more people like him in this world. I listened to him asking the people questions, have you ever been afraid? He will bring up bible verses without even reading the bible. God has done great things for him since he opened his eyes to see God's light.   The young man decided to start having bible studies last year at the community house and people came. Last night was the first start of bible study.  (I won't mention his name just in respect for him. )

 At the community house, we have tutoring and recreation time on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5:00 to 8:00 for the kids and teens.  There will be kids already there once we get back from work.  All of us work at different locations with same agency except for one. I have been meeting new friends from young kids to teens.  They all like to play basketball or soccer.  I been playing 2 on 2 in basketball with new friends. I won every time with my teammate. : )   When its about closing time, we walk the kids home. Almost everyday,  I been greeted by a neighbor or one of their kids as I head for work or whatever I was going at that moment.  I only been here for few weeks and getting to know everybody on the block.  God is great.  There is gang problems and drug problems in the neighborhood. This neighborhood have a community house they can come to and hang out with their friends and us and feel safe and enjoy life.

   Matthew 22:37-39 

 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
 38This is the first and great commandment.
 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

In my past blog, I have talked about the agency I have been working with called PATH. (People assist the homeless)  For right now, I am doing graphic design, website design, and photography work in the administration office at PATH with the development team.  This year is the 25th anniversary for PATH so they are having a gala event to celebrate PATH and honor the people who have helped PATH. We have a online auction set up for people to bid on items from electric guitar signed by maroon 5, vacation trips, lakers tickets, etc.  We also having a live auction at the gala event too. All the money go to PATH to help the homeless.  Me and my teammate Paul that is also a designer have been doing all sort of work from making ads for corporate business,  make pictures and upload pictures of items to the auction website, typing the detail of the items,  fix typo stuff on internet, etc.  Guess what??? I love it!!!!  I will be at the office doing graphic design stuff everyday till the Gala event is over.  After that, I just be doing graphic design stuff at office in the morning and in the afternoon, work behind the desk registering homeless people in, doing paperwork with them  and interacting with them. I am looking forward to that.   The workers and my bosses at PATH have been so good to me. God is incredible.

For the last few weeks, I have done a lot of talking to God, praying, singing christian music and praising the Lord.  Last friday, me and my roommate Alex, we went to Beverly Hills that night to check things out and get to know each other more. As we got into the crowded metro bus to go to Beverly Hills, it was full. After a first stop, there was seats available,  Me and Alex sat whatever we could find a empty seat. Shorty after that, there was a old lady with shopping bags came up and about to hold the metal bars with one hand and using the other hand holding the bags as the bus about to move.  I got up without thinking, and let the lady know she can take my seat.  The bus was full again. There was a lady came on the bus after 3rd stop, standing along with me. There was a drag queen that was sitting there, got up and let the lady took his or her seat.  At the next stop, there was a old man came on and a young man around my age, got off his seat and offer his seat to the old man.  So there was me, the drag queen, and the young man standing with one hand on the metal bar,  I was grinning ear to ear after what I witnessed of what those strangers did for  the old strangers.  I started praising the Lord in silence as I stare at out the window. I was thinking of the lyrics of "How great is our God" and "indescribable" till I got to the final stop in Beverly Hills.    I am praising more and more to God than ever. I am not in the habit of it, I am just thirsty of God's love and wanting to know what God going teach me in this journey in CA.   I am not here because of me, I am here because of God. God called me here to do mission work. I already seen God's glory in the neighborhood, at work and out in the streets. I know I am here for right reasons.

  One of my fears, is that I might fall off God's path and understand my own ways and not his.  I hope it will never come to that, but if it does, God will guide me and help me overcome that mountain.  He done that before and I witnessed God did that to my friends and strangers.  God is always there.  At this moment, I am gonna to pray and gonna put this in writing so you can see what my heart is feeling.

This life is not my own. 
To you alone,  be the Glory
To you alone, be the praise
Everything I say and do
Let be all for You, God.
God please watch over my roommates and my new friends and the people that i will meet . 
God please keep us safe and on your track. Please continue to take care of my family and friends back home. Amen 

God is great! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I randomly met a stranger who is now a friend.

I just came out of the bank heading back to my house.  I got lost and realized I was going the wrong way. I retrace my steps back to the bank and found my way to the right direction.  I asked 2 different people where was Rosemont street?  They both pointed out in 2 different areas and not explained in words how to get there.  I was sure I was going the right way but wanted make sure by checking with someone.  I asked the 3rd person for direction to Rosemont street. He said its just a street over. I told him thank you.  As I about to walk over the street with my bike, the man walked along with me and started to talk about God. He said God is always been good to me and I know his spirit live in me.  I quickly smile at him and said yes sir.  He kept praising about how great God was as he kept up pace walking beside me.  He told me that  he been looking for a job.  He been out of work for 8 months.  He have a place to stay but need to find job, so he can keep up the rent and buy food to eat 3 meals a day.  Then he said but today is a beautiful day that God created and I am glad to be in it. He asked me am I looking for a job? I told no sir, I have a job at PATH that help homeless people.  I just moved in to LA last week to do mission work for a year here. He asked me where I am from and why I came here? I replied back that I am from TN and felt God called me here to do help people. He started to thank me and thanking God for me to come here to help people who need it.  I stopped walking and introduced myself to him and he introduced himself to me. His name was Bob.  I told Bob that Path have a department that help people find jobs.  I couldn't promise that he will get one, but it wouldn't hurt if he will check Path out.  Bob started to get emotional and told me his friends couldn't help him out much more and he was glad that I told him about Path and that I became his friend.  Bob said God got a plan for everybody and God put you here in this moment to help me out.  "Praise the Lord!", Bob said.  I told him God is always good and he knows what best for us and he knows how many hairs we have on our head.  He is our king, our father, and the one that gave his only son Jesus to died for us.  Bob said yes sir, I believe in Jesus Christ! Bob continued to talk about Jesus and God as he walked with me all the way to my house where I gave him a Path card and house phone number for him to call.  We talked for another hour outside of the house sitting on picnic table.  I listened to him talked about his life story and the history of Abe Lincoln on how he freed the slaves.  Bob always smile every time when he finished a sentence and you can see the holy spirit in him.  I asked him how is he able to survive for last 8 months? He said God kept me going.  My friends did helped me but probably won't be able helped me much longer cause they need the money too. Bob said I am short, have few missing tooth, 61 years old and a muslim. It is hard to find a job at this age, but no matter what I  have been through for last few months, I have prayed every night and keep God first. Bob quickly smiled and I smiled.  Bob said he noticed that I have the holy spirit in me and sees that I have done great things for the Lord and he will continue to put me in right track.  One of my roommates  Alayna came in and I introduced Bob to her and he was thanking her for being here to help people. Bob continue to praised God and talked about how great God is.  I noticed I had to go to a board meeting in a  hour so I quickly stop him and told me we have to go get ready for a meeting.  Bob took my hand and put his forehead to my hand and said may God bless you.  He said he will check out Path on Monday and he will call if he need help finding direction.  That was on Friday.  Monday morning, my roommate Robert told me that Bob called this morning wanted better direction to get to Path and Robert helped him out. Bob wanted to talk to me but I was not able to hear on the phone.   At least I know he is trying to get to Path this morning and I hope Path will be able to help him.

As I been thinking about meeting this  61 years old short muslim man and he told me which way to go but I was already sure I knew I was going in the right direction. Why did I stop to ask the third person?  I can't answer that for now.  Why did Bob started to talk about God to complete stranger that just ask for directions? I do know that God had planned for Bob and me to meet. The way Bob was praising God and how glad he is to be in God's world. Bob influence me on how happy he was, even  he didn't have a job and no food to eat because he had no money and he didn't let that problem rained down on his faith for God and Jesus. Bob said he prayed every night. There are people that I met, who don't have a job or who are in trouble but hardly ever heard them praising the Lord or try to keep their faith running strong.  Everybody is different in the own way with their faith. Some are private or open to the people about their love for God.  Its just neat that once he told me where to go, he started to talk about how great God is.  

This story kind of tag into the story of what Jesus told to the lawyer in Luke 10: 25-37.

Luke 10:25-37 

 25And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
 26He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
 27And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
 28And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
 29But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
 30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

I went to 3 different people to asked directions. The third person helped me and I end up helping him too at the end.  I smile cause I know La is the right place for me and if I wasn't here, who will help 61 years old man find a job? God is always good and God got a plan for everyone.  It doesn't mean you gonna be helping somebody right this moment but God knows the time and the place that you might end up influence someone by your christian faith and your love for God.   Just open your heart to God and let him in.  

PS I understood every words Bob said. : )   God is GOOD!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 1 & 1/2 in LA


For the last week and half,  we have been busy meeting people and getting to know how to get around in LA. Last week, our Hollywood director went over our handbook of rules, expectations, logistic consensus decision stuff.  Two new roommates joined us few days later.  Alayna from SD and Josh from Indiana. So there is 6 of us living together in LA!  They are awesome christians!

We all did interview with agency.  I had a interview with 2 agencies. (Convant & Path)  I did a interview with Convant that help homeless teens.  The interview went well but I did not feel like it was the right part for me to do.  Basically, the position they had for me to do was computer work 90% of the time and maybe I might work with teens 10% of the time.  So if I did do it, I would be organizing of the people who donate to the Convant in the computer program.  Me and my director Matthew talked about it and I told him I will have to pray about it and see if God is challenging me to do something different than what I expected to do.   Shortly after the interview, Matthew got email from PATH, that there was a position needed for someone to work on their website in the morning and do tutoring with kids and helping the women in the afternoon.    I quickly grinned and said that is it! Next day, I met with my new boss at Path and gave me more details of what I will be doing.  I will be a part of development Path team and coming up with ideas how to bring the word out about PATH with using their website, twitter, facebook, etc, and working with kids and women in the afternoon!   I will start working on the 14th.    My boss gave me a tour of the Path building and explain what their goals and desires to do.  Path agency help homeless people who want to start living a better life. There are 3 floors. There are beds and 2 kitchens on 3rd and 2nd floors for men and women. There are 91 beds altogether.   Path give them 6 to 9 months to live there and help them start living a better life.  There is few departments on the 1st floor to assist the homeless for those who living at Path or those who come in from the outside.  There is a clinic, barbershop, pathfinder (find jobs), and few other departments.  All of those are free to homeless.  I am really excited to interact with children and the women in the afternoon!!!  God is amazing!

On 9/3  I drove the van with my roommates and Matthew to Griffin Park. Matthew show us where the city of LA is, ocean, Laure Canyon, etc.  
Hollywood sign

City of LA

After the site seeing, we had picnic at the park and listened to Matthew's testimony. It was a great story and learned how Matthew overcome mountains in his life.   God is great!

For the last few days, me and my roommates been learning the street names and knowing how to get there from there. We been to the beach.  Sunset and Hollywood blvd is just few blocks away from where we live.  We been eating dinner with few guests that invited us to join them for last few days.  Eating dinner with Kerr family was amazing! They are a part of Presbyterian hollywood church and they support of what we do.  They have traveled across countries to preach and help people all their lives.  It was great listening to their stories.  After dinner, Mrs. Kerr asked us to read a part of the chapter in romans.  It was about serving God. Mrs. Kerr asked us what we think about it and what do we accept the hardest will be for us? Each of us told our part. I told the Kerr family that I hope I become more closer to God each day and stay on his path and understand his ways, not mine. Then I was trying to tell her  the verse of Proverbs 3: 5-6.  I didn't even give her a clue and she just said 
5Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
         6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Then I said yes, that is it.  She just smiled and went on listening to rest of them.  Then she did a prayer for us and remembered each of our names and our concerns as she prayed for each of us to grow stronger in God.  It was great to get to know the Kerr family.  The next day, 2 former young adult volunteers invited us to eat dinner with them.  They live on the same street as us.  They told stories about what they did few years ago and gave us tips as well.  

Matthew showed us around this past Tuesday by subway and train to chinatown and downtown LA. We went to a organization called Home Boy that help former gang members to get a new start in life. The Home Boy organization have classes of certain majors for gang members to learn and graduate with degree.  They also have cafe and bakery where former gang members make the food.  

This morning, we went to Project Angel Food service that prepare food into TV dinners for people who have aids and problems in their lives.  We worked from 8 to 12. I did all sort of stuff.  I cut up 14 pans of lasagnas, seal the sarawrap over 400 TV dinners.  There was few deaf men there helping.   I worked with one of them and he was thrill to communicate with me with sign language.  Even I only know little of sign language but I was able to figure out what he was signing.   I think there is a deaf school in LA.  I been seeing some deaf people in the area. 

Please pray for me and my roommates as we start to work with our agency on the 14th.  

God is Good!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Young Adult Volunteers of 10-11

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

YAV orientation in New York

Hello guys!  The orientation in NY went great!  There was 78 grad students there being prepare for their journey to Kenya, Peru, South Korea, Northern Ireland, India and in the United States like Miami, New Orleans, Nashville, Tucson, San Antonio, and Los Angeles.  We stay at this place called Stony Point.

Our schedules each day was bible study, morning/night worship, topic discussions related to what we might experience, and we have small group. Small group was that everybody split up in a small group and discuss what we thought about today lessons etc.  There was a YAV staff person for each group to talk to and listen. Each of those staff have done YAV mission in the past. My staff person was Becca.  She ask these questions to us like what was the lowest point, highest point, do you agree with the today lesson, etc.We all shared our views. We were the smallest group than the other groups, which it went great for me. In my small group, there was 4 people from different sites (Tucson, San Antonio, Miami, Orleans, and me LA.

We had different topic lessons each day. There was pastors and missionary speakers that spoke of the sermon and gave us questions to discuss in small group later on.
Discernment 101 (twice)
 Race and Power in Mission
Interpretation of your experience
What make you tick?
Partnership and cross-cultural experience
Communication and conflict
Culture Shock and gender issues

On Wednesday, we had seminar fair and I got some great advices from employees of different seminaries. As most of you know that I got accepted to go to Louisville seminary this fall but I felt that God was calling me to do mission work first and hopefully he will help me make a decision when this mission almost over.  There is not a missionary degree but there is a master of Divinity for 3 years.  There is a new degree called Religion of Arts or Master of Arts that is a 2 years. I am glad I got to talk to with different people and speak to few YAV staff that is already in seminary and get their ideas.

In Morning and night worship we learned how to sing few songs in different languages.  For example EWE THINA (E~WE  THI~NA)   meaning we walk his way.  When the music being, we started repeating EWE THINA over and over. At first, I thought it was weird, but after that first day, we sang it again and started to get that burst of energy saying EWE THINA. Its kept remind me, we will walk in Jesus's step.  We going to do it God's way, not ours.  So on the last day heading to the airport to depart, I got up in front of everybody in a full school bus. I said we got 5 mins before we hit the airport, let sing EWE THINA!  So we did. EWE THINA, EWE THINA, EWE THINA.

On Sunday morning, me and my roommates for LA went to a small Presbyterian church about 45 mins away from our retreat. Each of us spoke about where we from, what our degrees, what is YAV program is, why we going to Hollywood, and what we going to be doing there.  We got commissioning. They welcome us with open arms.  The church had lunch for us. It was delicious!  It remind me of my church luncheon!

On Monday leaving from NY to Chicago to LA was a long ride.  I got to know more of my roommates.  Just before we landed in LA, I told Brady that was a long flight. He said yep, Then I said "but the good news is that I save a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico!"  Ha Ha

Thank you for those who are sending me emails, comments on facebook, and keeping me in your prayers for the last few weeks!   Please continue to do so, that makes my day! : )  Hope you have a wonderful day!

God is Good!

Friday, August 6, 2010

A funny story

The light turned yellow, just in front of him.  He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection. The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration, as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer. The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.  He took her to the police station where she was searched fingerprinted, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.                
After a couple of hours, a policeman approached the cell and opened the door.  She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.
He said,  ''I apologize for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do'  bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday-School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Chris tian fish emblem on the trunk, so naturally...I  assumed you had stolen the car.''