It was a good summer—it seems like only days ago that Chris and our middle-schoolers were cleaning and painting the walls and floor of our basement as part of scholarship work for our June camp to Kids Across America in Missouri. Those work crews are probably twice or three times the work for Chris compared to doing the job by himself, but the experience of learning to work carefully, follow directions and complete an assignment is a valuable glimpse into the world of work for our kids.
That camp was followed in July by a high school trip to Chicago. Even though some of our boys have family in that area, they still have not seen much of the city so the Willis (Sears) Tower, Millennium Park, the Dusable Museum of African American History and the Museum of Science and Industry along with other points of interest were all new experiences. As our boys see more of the world, we pray that they would gain a vision of possibilities and opportunities.
Summer days were also filled with swimming excursions, service at Feed My Starving Children, an AAU Christ’s Children basketball team and lots of long afternoons of backyard basketball after church on Sundays.
The last camp in August was our Simba Manhood Camp which has the theme of a long ago quote from Tom Skinner,” It takes God to be a Black man!” Given the great tragedy of the death of another unarmed young Black man recently in Ferguson, Missouri I am once again reminded that truer words were never spoken.
Chris spends time at camp teaching about how Jesus lived a life of love and integrity, in spite of being misunderstood, persecuted and falsely accused. As young black men in America, every one of our boys already know by middle school what it is like to be shadowed in a store or singled out for scrutiny where others would be ignored. As soon as our young men pass the age of little boy cuteness, they are treated differently by people who are often not even aware of their own bias. So, at camp they talk about the difficulties of navigating a society that can be unfair and sometimes hostile and they learn about the way of Jesus and the strength that can be found for life, in spite of the wickedness of this world. In all our summer camp experiences, we pray that our young people were able to grow in love and faith so they may be better equipped for a life of following Christ.
The past few weeks have been filled with good-byes as some of our college age friends were off to schools in Virginia, Iowa, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. We also got to say a welcome home to our friend Kyle who recently graduated from De Paul University in Chicago. He is back in town for a student teaching stint before he begins a new job as a teacher at an International Baccalaureate school in Columbia, South America. We met him in fifth grade and recall his years with us as a camper and then a camp counselor, so it brings joy to see this young man finding his way to the vocation God has for him in this world.
Thank you for your gift of
We are grateful for the prayers and support that you offer as we serve Jesus here in the city. Your gifts and prayers this summer enabled us to share the good news and the hope that Jesus offers to some of the least of these who are so very important to God.