Thursday, December 17, 2009

Common Ground Update 12/17/09

A Year in review....

As I reflect on the last year I am extremely encouraged about the ways our ministry has grown. Some of the growth has been pretty drastic. Our team has grown from a staff of 3 to a staff of 9 (6 full time staff and 3 part time). We have staff focusing on men’s ministry, women’s ministry, biblical counseling (including family, marital, pre-marital, and abused and traumatized women and children), after school tutoring, bible studies, home building and renovation, college ministry at Alabama State, and other developmental areas of our community including job placement and financial crisis help. Last February we purchased an old building on 7 acres of land. We worked hard with folks all over the city to se e it renovated and begin to be used as our home base and a resource blessing to our community. It’s really amazing! Now, 100 kids show up daily during the week for our developing afterschool program. All of these kids stay for bible studies and dinner on Wednesday nights. Monday andTuesday nights we host women’s and men’s bible study. Also, thirty teenage and young adult drop outs come to our facility daily to work on their GED's and learn construction skills through the 'Youth Build' program. This year we have participated in an emergence of men being called out of gang and drug influences and into Kingdom living with Christ that has been a true demonstration of God's power. One is restoring his marriage, one got married a month ago, and two are pursuing marriage and look to be married over the next year! This is an incredible witness of God! God is truly using us together with the Montgomery Christian community as a light in this city. God is working! Thank yo u for joining in this effort at so many entrances!

a request.....

I am writing to request that you consider a year end gift to CGM. Like everyone, the economy has affected our giving. We still have $100,000.00 in renovation debt that we have 6 months to retire under a current loan. We also would love to start 2010 off in a position of strength as we forge ahead in new initiatives (and many creative ones are brewing!)

Thank you for prayerfully considering this. He is risen! I hope you enjoy and walk in that fact as we celebrate His birth over the holidays!

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Common Ground Update

Christmas Store 2009

Our store is next week. I thought I would take a minute to explain the store for you just in case you have missed our heart or have never heard the explanation of what the store is, and why we do it the way we do it. We chose the ‘store’ model rather than the ‘give away’ model because, for our context, we believe it is the most dignifying way to love our neighbors. We want to partner with parents and grandparents, rather than go around them by doing for their kids and grandkids. In our neighborhood we do have a high degree of households living below the poverty line. Our strategy is to provide a way for our neighbors to both contribute to their kids, AND be blessed by the opportunity the store offers to buy toys at reduced prices (30- 40% of the retail value). The discounts help tremendously. Last year, one of our neighbors was overjoyed as she shared that she was able to pay all her bills and buy Christmas presents for her children for the first year. We have learned a lot from the store and from our neighbors. When neighbors don’t feel like ‘charity cases’ they tend to be more open to real relationships. Many of the recipients of our store now volunteer at the store, doing everything from helping us purchase and price the toys, stock the shelves, wrap gifts, run the cash registers, and help with carrying the gifts to people’s cars. The atmosphere of the store is different also. Its fun… there is joy and real conversation and participation. It’s not an ‘us vs. them’ environment. It’s just us. Of course, we get taken advantage of. Some come to the store trying to ‘get over’ on us. Some have changed price tags out, lied, been rude and acted as if w e owed them something. But this is the exception, not the rule. The store is a blessing to our community. Last year over 300 kids received 3 presents apiece through our store. This year, we honestly anticipate over 600 kids to be bought for (if we have enough presents donated). Would you consider helping pull the store off this year? We really need toys, money, or gift cards to go towards the store.
Here are some quick helpful facts:
1. The dates of the store are December 14th-18th , from 4-7 p.m. daily. We will be accepting toys and money up until the night of the 17th.
2. The store will be held at our newly renovated building (1516 Mobile Rd.)
3. If you choose to buy baby dolls, please buy ‘brown skinned’ baby dolls.
4. You can serve with us by donating toys, helping us price toys, stock shelves, help with gift wrapping, and help carry out the loot to people’s cars.
5. If you buy toys, the age range is 1-15 years old, and you would help us tremendously if you would place a new price tag on the toy at 40% of the retail value. The price range is up to you.
6. Please call Kevin King 657-7049 if you can help. 

Basketball Court
We are kicking back off our new basketball court fund raiser as well. Would you consider donating a few bucks to complete this court? Check out the following video to see if you would be interested in adopting a few feet of our Also, please send the link to anyone you think in your address book that could spare a few bucks.                                  

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just Like Me...

This is a blog post from my friend and staff partner, Nicole, that I wanted you to read:

"Did you know that there is FINALLY a Disney Princess who looks like all of the princesses in my neighborhood?! Imagine growing up and most of the stories you watch in the movies have heroines who don't look like you......"

One of my close friends( and staff family) sent the above statement out this week in an email to some of our supporters to help raise funds to send 25 of our young girls to viewDisneys The Princess and the Frog. I immediately began to weep in tears because she hit the heart of a issue that has been around in the black community for decades. Many of the little girls I talk with in our neighborhood and beyond have self image issues (including myself). It makes it difficult, and more of a challenge to ONLY see dolls, stories, and/or your positive role models to be of another race. In the African American community many times beauty is seen as having long straight hair, blue eyes, and lighter skin. I can remember growing up not wanting to play with dolls that looked like me, simply because it wasn't what was said to be "pretty". I cant even begin to imagine what a movie like this will do to many girls that have( or had) a mindset similar to mine. That my friends makes me excited!!

We( staff wives) are just overwhelmed with joy to take our girls to see this movie. Would you please pray for out time with these girls?? Pray that the LORD would make this such a precious time together, and as my friend says, pray that each girl will long to be princesses of the TRUE KING! 

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Conversation with Bryce

I think that one of the biggest questions and concerns people have for us is about the influence of our community on our children.  I agree that it is a bit scary, but we have a high commitment to be constantly processing life with our kids, and so far, I am pleased with the results.  I thought I would share some encouraging moments with our oldest, who asks a lot of questions and is always paying attention... :)

Conversation #1: Bryce with a neighbor friend who was spending the night:

"Bryce, you wanna ... mom... dad..... sleep........?"  (who knows what he wanted to do!)

(Looking at him very seriously,) "No, cause that would be disobeying."  

Conversation #2:  On the way home from school in the van:

"I am SO thankful that I get out of school at 12:30 instead of 3!  I would have like 3 more hours of school today!  And it's a christian school, so that's good. That is a long time for those kids to be under the influence."

"Under the influence of what, Bryce?"

"Sin!  You know, the kids who get to go to bible study on Wednesday nights, that's all they get.  Then they have to spend all those hours in school under the influence.  Why don't they go to a christian school?"

How would YOU answer that question?!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Common Ground Update

Real Men Rising Up From the Ashes & a Common Ground Christmas Store
December 2, 2009
Real Men Rising Up From the Ashes

Men, rising from the ashes…..

I would like to introduce you to 5 emerging leaders in our neighborhood. All five are fairly new Christians. One of them was shot in the stomach two years ago, and returned the favor shortly thereafter. Another was serving a life sentence in prison as a third strike offender before being released on parole. Another was shot in the chest a year ago while high on cocaine, lying in a pool of his own blood; he looked up and accepted that he was going to die as he blacked out with friends and family watching. A fourth man has opened up a barber shop across from our building and struggles to make ends meet with a legitimate business while many of his friends sell drugs. The fifth man is 19 years old , is a talented young artist, and is battling the temptations of the streets and the struggle of a past of abandonment, and the loss of his mother at a young age. All of these men have grown up on our streets. They have not had the experience of the presence of a father in their lives. The ‘odds’ aren’t stacked in favor of these men. They are not ‘qualified’ to do a lot of things. They have a history of pain, violence, destruction, abandonment, oppression; and yet…. God has redeemed them.

They have a hunger for God, a deep love for those who are deceived and broken in the community, and a passion to demonstrate God’s Kingdom. All of these men are involved in a bible study that Alonzo Brown, one of our staff, is leading on Tuesday nights across the street from our facility at a barber shop. They are recruiting other men from our streets to attend the bible study. It is real…. raw… and a beautiful expression of testimony, struggle, vulnerability, honesty, and a clear declaration of the Gospel every week. We are sharing life with these men. God is teaching us much through them and the wisdom he has granted them. We are coming alongside them to offer what we can to train and ‘disciple’ them in their walk with Christ. They are coming alongside us to do the same as they share their gifts, perspectives, experiences and wisdom with us.


We sat around our office the other day and talked of what God was doing in our lives and neighborhood. I listened as they shared how God was using them to talk with young boys who come in the shop. They spoke of deterring young kids from ‘gang’ fights, of destructive decisions, and hopeless behavior. Four of the five men are now standing up as the ‘first’ generation of fathers. They are accepting responsibility to raise their children ‘in Christ’ and be there for them. One of them recently lamented, “We have never seen what a father looks like. We are having to break these patterns and learn to father our kids.” When they speak of what God is doing on our streets their eyes light up. They dream of what can happen as we live out the Kingdom of God together. They are the rising leaders. I have never seen anything like watching them share their faith in the street. It is an extreme blessing to participate with them and to be used by God to invest in them. If you want to be encouraged, come over and visit these gifted andpassionate men of God. Please pray for Charles, Corey, Jeremy, Jermaine, and Irvin. It is powerful for our neighborhood kids to see these men begin to ‘stand in the gap’ and model what real men look like. Resurrection is a beautiful thing.


 Common Ground Christmas Store 
This year will be the third year that we will have our annual ‘Christmas Store’ in the neighborhood. Will you consider being a part of it? We took some wisdom from others who have gone before us in other urban contexts and decided that we would open up a Christmas ‘store’ rather than ‘give away’ free toys to kids. Rather than going around the parents for Christmas, we decided to allow parents in our neighborhood the same joy that you and I get when we get to see our children open the gifts that we were able to contribute towards for them. Knowing that many of our parents are not able to provide much and still pay the bills, we open up a store where toys are sold at 30 to 40 percent of the retail values. We take in donated toys, money, and toy store gift cards and set up our store in the ‘hood. The ages to be bought for are 1 year old through 15 year olds. This year it will be at our new building! You can help in a lot of ways. You, and any social or business group you are a part of, can either donate money, buy toys, or donate gift cards from Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, to Common Ground Montgomery and we can stock our shelves accordingly. You can also serve by helping stock and re-stock shelves, price toys, help us go and buy the toys, help us ‘gift wrap’ toys during the store after ‘check out’ and help carry the toys out to people’s cars. Sorry, but we already have two or three feisty neighborhood ladies who run the cash registers! Trust me… they are best suited for the job. 


Christmas Store Quick Facts:
Store dates and hours: December 14th-18th from 4-7 P.M.
Location: 1516 Mobile Road, Montgomery, 36108.
Drop off dates: From now till the 17th of December (please call for coordination)
Number to call: 657-7049 Kevin King
Thank you for your prayer and partnership. I am humbled to be on your team.
Bryan Kelly Founder, Common Ground Montgomery 

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Common Ground Update

A Holy Hangover and A Christmas Store            Nov 2009
Holy Hangover

        We have now had 4 days to consider the ‘hangover’ significance of our Grand Opening. I asked myself, “What happened? How important was it, really?” I am convinced that it was and is one of the most important milestones I have ever personally been a part of. The meaning, for me, lies in the fact that so many people, from different races, economic backgrounds, family backgrounds, and other life experiences came together on the property that itself was a picture of ‘resurrection’ to celebrate it’s opening. The presence of those who participated, though it was powerful and a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God was even small compared to the actual amount of people who gave of themselves to see this building come together. So many people who reside inside and outside of our ‘hood gave of their abilities, sweat, blood, financial resources, leveraged their relationships, and kept showing up together time and time again over the last 9 months. We would pray, and the right people would continually ‘show up’. Some would come consistently and chip away, like small armies (Sunday School classes, fraternities and sororities, campus groups, singles groups, persistent individuals, youth groups, etc.) Others would show up with heavy artillery when needed. But, the constant theme was that God brought the right people, at the right time. He multiplied resources. We were able to celebrate what God was doing among us together. The building gives us the space to be creative and invest in our community in ways we had been dreaming of and in ways have yet to dream of. I look forward in the coming weeks to inform you of all the encouraging initiatives going on in the building daily. This week alone we will have just under 150 kids and young adults participating in bible studies, tutoring, and job skills training. The importance of our ‘party’ was that it represented all of our coming together to practice ’resurrection’. Nothing short of our coming together would have glorified God this way. I was able to look into the eyes of kids from all over our city and see joy. I was able to look into the eyes of so many adults from all over our city and see strength and excitement. Thank you for celebrating the opening with us, whether you were physically present or not, we know you celebrate together with us what our Father is doing among us. 

Our Christmas Store 

        This year will be the third year that we will have our annual ‘Christmas Store’ in the neighborhood. Will you consider being a part of it? We took some wisdom from others who have gone before us in other urban contexts and decided that we would open up a Christmas ‘store’ rather than ‘give away’ free toys to kids. Rather than going around the parents forChristmas, we decided to allow parents in our neighborhood the same joy that you and I get when we get to see our children open the gifts that we were able to contribute towards for them. Knowing that many of our parents are not able to provide much and still pay the bills, we open up a store where toys are sold at 30 to 40 percent of the retail values. We take in donated toys, money, and toy store gift cards and set up our store in the ‘hood. The ages to be bought for are 1 year old through 15 year olds. This year it will be at our new building! You can help in a lot of ways. You, and any social or business group you are a part of, can either donate money, buy toys, or donate gift cards from Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, to Common Ground Montgomery and we can stock our shelves accordingly. You can also serve by helping stock and re-stock shelves, price toys, help us go and buy the toys, help us ‘gift wrap’ toys during the store after ‘check out’ and help carry the toys out to people’s cars. Sorry, but we already have two or three feisty neighborhood ladies who run the cash registers! Trust me… they are best suited for the job. 


Christmas Store Quick Facts:
Store dates and hours: December 14th-18th from 4-7 P.M.
Location: 1516 Mobile Road, Montgomery, 36108.
Drop off dates: From now till the 17th of December (please call for coordination)
Number to call: 657-7049 Kevin King
Thank you for your prayer and partnership. I am humbled to be on your team.
Bryan Kelly Founder, Common Ground Montgomery 

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Party Over Here!

I totally STOLE this post from Nicole, but I wanted you all to know about this and simply don't have the time to do my own post.  (sorry, nic! love ya! lol)

Outside the gates of our ministry building is a huge sign my that reads:

Common Ground Montgomery Block Party 
Food * Games * Entertainment * Open House
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Tour of Building and Neighborhood Block Party!

I am sure I can speak for the entire staff when I say, our hearts are overflowing with gratitude to the LORD and all HE has done, is doing and will continue to do in our neighborhood! Its hard to believe just three years ago, we,(the Kellys and the Kings) were only thinking on such things to happen. We never imagined it would happen this fast. There has been a lot of trials, but the LORD has remained FAITHFUL, GOOD, and TRUSTWORTHY! What a honor and joy it has been to serve HIM!

Please pray for our time TODAY. Pray that many in our neighborhood will witness the glory of the LORD and long to have a relationship with Him. Pray as well that the LORD would bless our ministry financially so that we can continue to do the work of the KINGDOM!


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prayer requests

It is very common in neighborhoods like mine for there to be homes with no electricity or water. I must confess that knowing that precious friends and their children are going without these basic things is VERY hard for me.  

There are 4 children coming to my house tonight to bathe.  

How did water become unaffordable?  

I am sure there are many answers to that question. But regardless of your opinion, please pray for me that I will know how to help in these very difficult situations. I need wisdom and creative ideas!  

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Keeping the main thing, the main thing

After attending our annual conference with our entire staff team, I came home so encouraged.  One of the biggest encouragements was the extended time I got to spend with our staff - I really felt part of a team and was reminded that I am part of this amazing ministry.  I know that sounds kind of funny, but when I am home all day with my boys and my house duties, it is easy to forget the big picture.  My neighbors are my neighbors and the kids that come over are my boys friends.  I have wonderful neighbors and my kids have great friends - so using the word ministry seems like work, when really I have been so blessed and ministered to by the people around me.  Now, 85 kids in an after school program - that is WORK!!!  Don't get me wrong, we are all called to be ministering to the people around us, no matter where we live.  So I hope my neighbors sense the love of Christ, and his grace and mercy when they are around me.  It's just that I hope those who are looking in from the outside can see how blessed I am, and that I am not just slaving away in a place I don't want to be.  

Don't worry, I am getting to my point :)  

I have a friend who offered to babysit for me on Tuesday mornings so I can attend the staff meetings ( and then run a few needed errands).  I really think this will be a great way for me to weekly be reminded of the big picture.  I was able to attend my first one today and I can already tell what a blessing it will be.  My favorite part is the devotional time that Bryan leads at the beginning.  Let me tell you, I was SO convicted!   We read in Hebrews about the atoning sacrifice of Christ.  Bryan wanted to remind us of this truth - the cross of Christ is our CENTER.  It is what separates us from being just social services.  There is no hope for redemption of souls or this neighborhood apart from His power and His work on the cross.  Another main point, is that we can do all these wonderful, biblical things for all the wrong reasons.  We can do them to boost our own egos.  We can do them, but have no love.  We can live each day without drawing on Christ's power, thinking we can do it in our own strength.  

Will you please pray for us, that we would show Christ AND preach him?  That our motives would be pure? That we would rely on Him alone?  We would really appreciate it!

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Monday, November 9, 2009


Since I started my new memory blog about my boys, I am going to try to keep this blog more ministry specific.  I know sometimes stories will overlap, but generally this will be about ministry, and the other blog will be for all the pictures, stories, and videos that involve my kids.  Just so you know. :)

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Common Ground Update

We are in our new building!................

After over 11 years of dilapidation, abandonment, and literal darkness and inactivity there is ‘life’ on the corner of Mobile Road, Early Street, Terminal Road, and Hugh Street again. Our building, which has been a beautiful picture of resurrection, is teeming with children, volunteers, our staff, and teenagers and young adults. We finished most of the renovation and opened the doors a few weeks ago. Please come and visit us. We opened up our doors for after school tutoring and had over 100 kids show up the first day! We have now settled in with around 85 kids that are enrolled in tutoring Monday through Thursday (and Friday fun days!) and who participate in Wednesday night bible study after tutoring.
We have 5 different bible studiesthat the kids break up for by age and gender. The bible studies are going very well. Tutoring, on the other hand, needs some attention and help. We REALLY need you and/or others to come one day a week for an hour and a half or so. Engaging with our neighborhood kids will do a lot in you and to you. They are wonderful kids. Many of them are more than a couple grade levels behind in reading and math. Please consider this investment in our community and in their lives. We tutor from 3:30 to 5:30 Monday through Thursday.
The redemption of a young family………..

Charles and Yashika were deeply committed to and involved in gang-life for many years. I met Charles a few years ago and we began to get to know one another. A few months into our friendship he was shot in the stomach. He lived. Later I found out he had retaliated in like manner. Both Kevin and I have been involved in their lives for a few years now. Back in January, Both Charles and Yashika received Christ. It has been overwhelming to see their lives change in front of our eyes. They have been baptized, joined a church, and have led other family members to Christ. Charles is in incredible street evangelist. He is fearless. He recently told me, “I spent all of my life ‘going hard’ for the streets and have led many people the wrong way. Now I will lead them to God”. I have never seen anything like it. God has redeemed and gifted this man. After living together for years Charles and Yashika will be getting married this weekend! They are deeply committed to seeing their relationship continue to be redeemed as they seek God’s blessing in marriage. This marriage will be a powerful example and picture in our community. This is exactly what we have been praying for years. We are committed to andtrust God to raise-up leaders like Charles. Charles and Yashika’s reception will be held at our new building and we are going to celebrate this beautiful picture of restoration with our community! 

Grand Opening………..

Our Grand opening for our new building will be held November 19th from 5-7 p.m. You will receive an invitation later this week. Please make plans to come celebrate this defining event with our staff family and neighbors. Danny Wuerfful (former Heisman Trophy winner) will be joining us as well as many others from around our city. 

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did you know I prayed for BOYS?!

I finally typed up a story I allude to often, but have never written down...
From the time I was very young, I wanted to be a wife and mother.  I think it's because I know I have one of the most amazing mother's ever created.  

I was in elementary school and I can remember hearing a missionary speak at a mission's conference at church.  I was so young, but I remember tearing up, and knowing that the Holy Spirit was moving in my heart.  I knew I was supposed to "go".

I went on several small trips with youth groups and then in college, my chance finally came.  I was asked to be a part of a team of students going to Kazakhstan.  At that time, I was dating Bryan (a college minister) and to tell the truth, when I got to KZ, I was pretty sure I was NOT going to be a missionary there!  I don't think it was because I was hoping to marry BK and stay in the states. In fact, I knew he was open to going anywhere for the Lord.  Turns out,  the Lord just had other plans for me!  

While in KZ, the missionaries asked that we pray for the local church there, specifically for there to be more men involved in those churches.  As I prayed, I became overwhelmed by how many godly women seemed to be a part of my Christian circles, but how few truly godly men there were.  It was during a prayer time reading in the Psalms that my heart was filled with a desire to be part of raising up godly men for the Kingdom of God here on earth ( i know that sounds weird!)  I prayed for sons.  For boys. And for our churches to be filled with men who would be leaders.  

When I got back from that mission trip, that time of prayer stood out as a highlight of my summer.  It was such an intense time with the Lord and I knew He had really spoken to my heart.  

Bryan and I got engaged that fall and married in the spring.  Though we were surprised to see a positive pregnancy test that summer after just 3 months of marriage - we were not surprised to see an ultrasound at 20 weeks that revealed a BOY! 

Since then, everyone is always hoping that I will have a girl.... but I know better!  This is my calling.  And 4 sons later, I am amazed at how personal the Lord was that summer in KZ. 

But it doesn't stop there!  This is the part that gives me chills.  

We knew our last year of seminary that the Lord wanted us to begin a work of Urban Ministry.  It didn't take me long to see how much deeper this calling of raising up men for the Kingdom of God was going to go.  Our streets are filled with boys.  Young boys, who spend their free time outside on the street with no fathers in their homes.  Their role models are the drug dealers who just so happen to be their cousins, uncles, or older brothers.  They can't even imagine a life outside our neighborhood.  There is no thought of college or marriage.  No thought of growing old with the love of your life and playing with grandkids.  There is such a need for a new generation of men in my neighborhood - men who love the Lord and who will stand for justice and righteousness, and then raise their family to do the same.

And the Lord has brought them to my house by the car full!!

In many ways, this has made my life so easy!  I KNOW what I am supposed to do:  Raise my own 4 sons to love the Lord and do whatever will help my husband as he shares his faith and life with the boys on my street. To open my home for snacks, school projects, sleepovers and video games.  My prayer is that HERE, they will sense love, mercy, and acceptance, and that it will make them long for Jesus, who can give them all those things in abundance.  I am constantly praying for God to show me what other ways He wants me to engage, but for now, this is enough.  

The Lord is GREAT and GREATLY to be PRAISED! 

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Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Building Pics and Updates

Please click on over to Nicole's Blog for more fun stuff about the ministry!  Oh, and Ben says, "GOOD MORNING!"

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009


The Common Ground Ministry Building is OPEN!  We were able to start our tutoring program as well as our Wednesday night Bible Studies.  I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to see this miracle in my neighborhood.  Please pray that the children involved will know and love Jesus from a very early age and that the city will be changed because of them.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Story of Redemption, to be continued

This was written by my husband about the events of this week:

So we are in the last stages of getting our building done and it will be done this week. More than one thing has disappeared from the building over the last 6 months, but nothing too big until……….

Two days ago the cable folks came out to install our internet and phone. They informed me they needed a computer to check it out. I say ‘sure, use my laptop, but PLEASE hand to it our administrator who is doubling as a painter upstairs because if you don’t it will walk off!” They laughed…we laughed, and they said ok. Two hours later they leave. An hour after that I am giving a tour of the building and see my charger plug sticking out of the wall… and nothing else. After a search of the building and a quick interrogation of our Administrator/painter I realize I am in trouble. 

I question about 10 kids standing out front of our building and realize there are two others who left ‘in a hurry with a bookbag’ and that it had to be them cause ‘those two steal all the time’. I pile some kids in my truck and go straight to the projects behind our building to the home of both boys. Only one mom is home. I explain to her that I got no proof who did it, that my computer was stolen, and that her son is one of two I haven’t gotten to question about it yet. She informs me that she is ‘gonna beat his ass if he took it’. I then come back toward our building and see this boy walking down the street. I pull him off to the side and tell him that my computer disappeared, that I really need it, tell him there is a reward for it, then ask if he will help me find it. He first tries to tell me he wasn’t in the building, then that he was for a minute, then that he will ‘help’ me. 

That night three older friends tell me that they will get the word out and find that computer. It begins to get really funny to me cause I start to wonder if someone is really ‘gonna get a beat down’ or worse when someone discovers who did it. The ‘right’ people are now using some interesting avenues to look for this computer ( I would say ‘if you know what I mean’ but I am not sure I know what that means! ) Well, anyway, a 6 foot 4 dreadlocked ‘brother’ of mine goes up to the middle school and gets the word out to the principal also about what had happened who promises an interrogation of about 12 of the boys. So, at this point there are all types of various investigators, with various backgrounds and various sources of income all trying to get my laptop back. 

Then at 3:30 a bunch of small children try to descend on the building to run around, beg for “fitty cents” and disobey all attempts of ours to keep them out of the building until its complete, etc, you know, like any other day. Well as we are ushering them out of the gate one of the guys working in the building tells them in passing ‘until you help get the computer that was stolen back you can’t come in’. Most start jabbering “I aint seen no computer”. But after begging for a peppermint from me, two of them say, “does it have an apple on it with a bite out of it?!” I say ‘yes, have you seen it?’ (dangling peppermints! Ha!) Then they say, “and some pictures of you and your kids at a birthday party on the screen?’ I am now stunned (and dispersing peppermints like there is no end). ‘Where did you see it?’ “It’s in my house right now. (I am now making it rain peppermints) My brother stole it! (The same boy I asked about it on the side of the road, and whose mom I had talked with). I load them up and return to the same projects again. We knock on the door and the mom answers. I say, “I know my computer is or at least was in your house, these boys just told me what pictures were on it”. She started to pace around talking about severely injuring the boy who stole it and saying that she was asleep when the 14 year-old got home last night and hadn’t spoken with him yet. As the cussing and fuming intensified I looked to the little boy and quietly tell him to go up to where he saw it hidden last and get it. He disappears. I wait while the mother is still expounding on how she is gonna woop the older boy in very creative terms. A minute later I hear ‘here dat man’s commuter!’ and the little boy comes running out with it! I told the mom, “I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to take care of these little dudes… can I do something nice for them?” She said yes. 

On the way back, I see one of the thieves. I pulled over, held up the computer and said “look what I just found. You and me, we are going to talk later. You understand?” He just stood there, a little stunned. 

Think and pray with me about how I am going to use this situation in a redemptive way with these 2 boys. I think that we have a golden opportunity here, and I don’t want to miss it. 

P.S. this is the best thing I have ever typed on this computer! It feels that way anyway after having it back!

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Group 2 and yesterday's events

My mom calls these two, "Group 2"!  They are 21 months apart, just like Bryce and Ethan are.  I kinda think they will get along a little better than Group 1.  I enjoy my mornings with them and laugh when I remember the days with Group 1 at this age.  Bryan was in seminary and it was just so new to me to have 2 children.  They are so sweet and even though Levi is into EVERYTHING, he is so funny and really does love his baby brother.  
Yesterday, I offered to keep my friend Paula's 4 kids while she went to the consignment sale alone.... anyone hear the scary music in the background???  hahaha!  Her boys are 7, 6, and 4 and a sweet little 4 month old girl.  It was CrAZY!!!  8 children.  wow.  I think it confirmed that Benjamin is the LAST Kelly :)  I couldn't have done it if  Brittany (our roommate) and a teen girl hadn't been here to help.  I am not kidding about the following events:
1.  AC (baby girl) woke up as soon as her mom left and swore she had been abducted by aliens and refused to stop screaming.
2.  Levi fell off the deck in the back and was showing signs of a mild concussion.  (he is fine now)
3.  The 2 oldest boys hit each other and BOTH noses started to bleed.
4.  Bryce jumped off something and hurt his foot - we thought it was broken, but it's not.
5.  BK called to tell me that someone had backed into his truck in the Regions parking lot, and could I bring the camera.  Obviously I could not!
6.  The only reason Ethan didn't make this list is because he was in his room ALL DAY for some bad behavior at school!

Amazingly, all survived and we even enjoyed a taco salad dinner together when Paula got back.  
The crazy thing is, I am sure I will offer to do it again. :)

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Look at this staff!

The Lord has blessed us so much this year by multiplying our staff team!  We have housing renovation staff, college campus staff, women's ministry staff, administration staff and a whole family who will live here and work with our adults and kids.  I am so thankful for our team.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

Neighborhood Fun

Well, summer is over and school has started, but that doesn't mean the fun has to end!  Our backyard and family room are pretty active these days after about 3:30.  Our bible studies are starting up again and so will the tutoring program, once the building is finished.  This weekend, I hope to have some of the middle school boys stay the night and go to church with us on Sunday.  I have really been burdened for them especially and am praying that they are future leaders in the Kingdom of God and in this neighborhood and city.  I hope to be posting pictures of a FINISHED ministry building soon.  Until then, the backyard it is!

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