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. 

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