Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Summer Beginnings

Isaiah 58: 6-11
"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. "

I'd like to begin by sharing what Capitol Hill church does exactly and why it exists. Capitol Hill Church of Christ is an inner city ministry in the impoverished area of Oklahoma City. It focuses on providing those in the surrounding community with basic needs such as food, clothes, and medical treatment. Their goal is to show the love of Christ in a real, tangible way to those who are lost and in need. The church is run mostly by volunteers who regularly attend another church in the surrounding area, but who are interesting in reaching out to those who are less fortunate. Many students at Oklahoma Christian University teach the children's bible classes on Sunday evenings and Thursday nights. Women from other churches volunteer to cook meals for the congregation on Sundays and Thursday in order to provide food to the members, and doctors and nurses volunteer their time to serve those who can't afford medical treatment.The Lighthouse Clinic is a medical clinic in the building that offers hundreds of people in the community with free treatment each month. Worship is in both English and Spanish, since the area is highly Hispanic and some do not speak any English. On Tuesday nights, the church offers free English classes as another way to reach people in the area. The children are a large part of the work at Capitol Hill. It is amazing to see how many of these children live in such terrible circumstances and are still smiling when they come to church. Our job is to teach these children about the love of Christ and what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.

I have the privilege of serving as a children's ministry intern at this church for the summer. This means lots of time with lots of kids. I am already so excited to see what the Lord teaches me through the kids and through my team. I will be teaching the preschool kids starting next Monday, May 24 until June 7 when the elementary summer program begins. There are eight total interns and two of us will each be teaching a class together. I will be teaching the 11 & 12 year olds with another intern named Philip. Summer program is 8 weeks during the summer, Mondays - Fridays. The typical day will begin around 9 am with the interns driving all over the city to pick up the 50 or so kids and bringing them to the church. We will be providing the kids with two meals a day starting with breakfast when they arrive. After songs and announcements, we will all split up into our classes and start the morning with the literacy program. Most of these children are pretty behind developmentally and need help in school. Each class will be reading a couple of different books throughout the summer and having lessons that reinforce the material. My class is a fun age to read with, and I am excited to help them learn to love reading. Following morning class we will have singing and then lunch were they will have some time to move around and be active. In the afternoon we will be teaching them bible lessons designed to fit their age group. My class is going to be going over some pretty cool stuff having to do with spiritual development and what it looks like to follow Christ. Then we wrap up the day with a 'celebration' time which rewards the kids for their hard work throughout the day. Thursday we will have outings like the zoo or the water park and Fridays we will have specialty classes the kids can choose from such as art, music, sports, science, and math. I am already learning so much about these kids and what it looks like to serve them.

It is truly incredible how this ministry allows the Lord to lead its work. There is so much need in this area, but the Lord is a big God. I believe that the Lord has plans for this community and I pray that the work at Capitol Hill will help bring His kingdom here to Oklahoma City. I cannot wait to see what He does this summer!