This week we moved to our former camping location, behind a sweet little church in a rough part of Phoenix. There are several families from S America in the area, and this church does an outreach to them twice a week, with food, clothing and a church service. Thursday nights, starting this time last year, the Pastor's wife began holding a children's program at night. I helped with this several weeks last year, and returned to it a few nights ago.
The kids were excited that I had come back. This weeks lesson was based on the scripture, "Children are a gift from the Lord." The kids memorized it, won little prizes for their answers, then did a worksheet. The code pictures helped them fill in the blanks for a secret message, "God loves my family." A 7 year old girl beside me finished unscrambling the code, turned to me and said, "This says God loves my family, does HE?" I told her, "Yes, HE loves everyone in your family." She said, "Are you sure?" I said, "Yes, I'm sure, even if your family doesn't know it - HE loves them." She laid her head on my arm and said, "Oh, good!!" She sincerely did not know this truth.
Friday we were invited to lunch by the Director of the Teen Challenge in Phoenix. We met several of the men in the program, and briefly heard a few of their stories.
The Director has such passion for the people he serves. People in all different stages of recovery, each one has assigned duties, and required community projects, along with advisers and incredible support from leadership.
In their workshop they have come up with a beautifully designed wooden cross decorated with barbed wire, lashed with indented stripes and burned with the Teen Challenge logo ... they sell them at Quartzite's Largest Swapmeet on the AZ CA border and to visitors - they gave us our pick. We spoke there in Chapel one morning last week, and came back to meet the Director yesterday.
I'm hoping to help them start an ETSY store to sell the crosses. They are definitely ETSY quality, the guys loved the term, "Up-Cycling." As they feel like that is what recovery is doing in their lives. They pick up old beat up furniture from yard sales and flea markets, and dump sites, and cut up the wood for the crosses. Some crosses have bolt holes still in them, from their former lives, others have impressions of drawer knobs, or indentations from damages ... the guys say that these marks show the former life, (a little reminder of the past).