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