He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Monday, June 23, 2008

Common Ground Weekly Update- June 20,2008


Camp “Washington Park” has just completed its 4th full week! The boys decided we should
have a name for our summer adventure, so this is the name they chose. Washington Park is the
unofficial name of our neighborhood. It is home to the “Washington Park Gangsters”, a loose neighborhood gang.
Many of our young boys and older teenagers derive much of
their identity from being associated with this neighborhood and this gang even if they aren’t really involved. I have learned much about the ‘loyalty’ of such identity from those in our neighborhood. It is remarkable to me that people can pride-fully claim and defend a territory and yet care very little about the people who suffer in that territory. We wanted to continue to give the
boys ownership of the camp and neighborhood through naming the camp and creating their own ways to serve those who live in it. But, our deep desire is that these boys eventually identify with Christ and his ‘body’ above all
other ties. What an amazing grip Satan holds when he can deceive many to love and defend a neighborhood (through violent gang fights, drive by shootings, and vandalism) but not the very ‘image of God’ living in that neighborhood. As you know, our vision is to see this grip broken and see the Kingdom of God demonstrated through our boys and girls being redeemed and becoming transformative leaders in our community and in others like ours.


We have settled in with 30 boys from our neighborhood from age 6-12. We plan to continue the camp for 6 more
weeks, with the last week being a full week of camping at Arrowhead in the mountains of North Carolina. We have five components to our camp: Fun, Food, Bible Study, Community service, and character development. Throughout the week we do a LOT of fun things (skating, swimming, sports, movies, interact with church youth groups, and go on various other field trips). We have become a usual fixture at Ryan’s, Ci Cis, McDonalds, and other kid friendly restaurants during the week. Our
bible studies focus on the Creation Story, how sin has affected our neighborhood, families, world, and us personally,
and Jesus’ place as Lord and Savior. We split the boys up into two groups for the bible studies (age 6-9, and 10-12).


“Camp Washington Park” just extended to
include the girls. As I write this there are 8 young girls back in my living room participating in bible study and some
creative arts with Nicole and Delta. They went to the Zoo and to the Planetarium over the last two days. The girls are learning about the creation story in the bible, so they visited these places to help spur their imaginations about God! They have planned two days a week with the girls as a starting point for this phase of our ministry. Please pray for these girls and for
Delta and Nicole. They are also beginning a teenage girls and women’s bible study next week.


There is a young man involved in our ministry who is 17 years old and has just completed training at Job Core for
building maintenance. He received Christ through our ministry back in October. He is presently looking for a
job in maintenance and we would love to bless him with a used car in good condition. His family is also considering
donating some land to us as part of the land for our new ministry building. They own a vacant lot due to their
house burning down 4 years ago.


We still need to find access to another 12 passenger (or
more) van. We are willing to rent a van from someone who has one to spare. We also need drivers and help in the camp.
If you have some spare time throughout the week and want to come help us, please let us know…