Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stop Hitting Snooze!

Well... I managed to FAIL Epically in updating this regularly this summer. :/ sigh. figures. oh well.. I've spent the past week and half home in McIntosh. I'll be heading off to Hattiesburg in a few hours.

But for now, I'll share with you what I wrote in "my brain" AKA my journal the other night. It was really challenging to me, especially as one who is very good friends with my snooze button! I hope it is as encouraging and challenging to you as well!

<1 Timothy 1:19>

"Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked."

-Paul instructs Timothy to cling to his faith and to keep his conscience clear. These are very wise words for young (and old) workers. Both in the ministry, and [ those who are not] as well!

It is so easy to get caught up in the tasks of life and forget the most important things! Thankfully God built us with an alarm system that goes off when something is not right.

Problems arise, however, when we choose to ignore that alarm. Just like hitting "snooze" too many times can lead to falling behind in your day, ignoring our conscience can cause major setbacks in our spiritual life. Ignore it too many times and you are liable to sleep straight through your alarms eventually.. And no alarms means not being awake + alert to what God has for your life. Not to mention, you miss out on so many amazing opportunities! No matter what, your faith will eventually suffer, and even shipwreck!

Moral of the Story? --> Cling to your faith + stop hitting snooze!

Friday, July 2, 2010

PTL for Foosball and "gay" rap music

It’s amazing how God works. Just last night I was frustrated, and feeling like I wasn’t really doing much around here. I know I’m doing a lot. I mean, we clean bathrooms, we vacuum, we work gym shifts, we clean and organize things, we work the food program. It’s not necessarily that we aren’t doing anything. I was more worried about doing anything of lasting worth. The carpets will always get dirty again, the pantry will be full and unorganized within a month or two. The toilets will get stinky again in 2 days. I’m more concerned about how people are changed by us being here.
I guess it’s almost selfish of me to expect people’s lives to be changed just by us being here, but isn’t that the point of being a missionary? Somebody asked me two weeks ago how we could call ourselves missionaries if we weren’t preaching. After all.. the missionaries in the Bible preached everywhere we went. Yet what are we doing? We are mostly cleaning toilets.
Needless to say, I’ve been a little frustrated and confused. I haven’t really known what to think about the whole thing….

But all of that changed when I started my gym shift today. I knew that there was some people downstairs, but didn’t know who. A few minutes later, Jacob, Gabriel, Richard, and Wesley, 4 of my youth boys, came upstairs from playing racquetball. These 4 are some of the ones I have the most trouble with, and the one’s I really have wanted to get through to. Well… I think I might actually be getting somewhere. I was minding my own business, working at the desk, when the boys came and begged me to play foosball with them. Technically, since Marlee was working somewhere else for the afternoon, I’m supposed to stay at the desk.. But honestly, I didn’t really care. I put my stuff away and went and played a few games with the boys. Jacob, Richard, and I killed Gab and Wesley, but then Jacob left and they beat us. Obviously my skills were not the reason we were winning before. Haha. It was great though.

Afterwards they showed me the creature-ish thing they had built out of the duplex blocks before I had gotten there.. then they were playing with some other stuff we had, while Wesley tried to refresh my memory on how to play Spades, and critized me for my “gay” rap music. Lol. I reminded him I was a white girl, and definitely not from the ghetto.. baha! By the time 3 rolled around and they were supposed to leave to meet somebody they were dragging their feet and wasting time. :)

God is good. That is all I can say. I know it wasn’t really much, but it meant the world to me. It was God’s own way of showing me that I really am in the right place, doing the right thing!

I know they put on a front because they are “too cool” to admit they have fun or are listening whenever they come to our events.. but I guess we are finally getting somewhere with them. Praise God. I hate that my time here is so short. I wish I could be here to set up a more permanent program for these youth. They need it so bad.

Marlee is looking to come back as a semester missionary starting this fall. She will be here till at least December, but I have a feeling she will stay longer than that. I pray that she will be able to continue the Youth on Fillmore program in some form or another whenever she comes back. I know that she will definitely try, so I feel a little better. It still breaks my heart to think that I am here, doing what my heart yearns for during the school year, doing what God has called me to do.. and I have to walk away from it all in 5 short weeks.

I know it is all in God’s plan, and I have to go back and finish what I started back in the Burg.. but I long to be able to do this “for real”.. to not just do it for a few weeks before going back to “real life”… I’m so ready for THIS to be real life. Sigh…

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Great Tomato Epic

Soo… as promised, I now bring to you the infamous tomatoes story!!

So as I mentioned in a previous post, Marlee and I received a large amount of produce, etc from the food program our first Tuesday here. Among that large amount of produce was an entire crate of tomatoes. Once again, I have no earthly idea WHY I accepted a 15lb box of grape tomatoes, but I did none the less!! Have any of you ever SEEN 15 lbs of grape tomatoes? Let me show you a picture to help you understand..

So anyways.. once I got this gastly amount of tomatoes home and into my fridge it began to set in just how many tomatoes I had on my hands! I immediately started eating them. I had a cereal bowl just full of tomatoes for dinner that night. The next night I bought cottage cheese to help me eat all the tomatoes. The next day I made sauce for Marlee and I, in fact, enough sauce for two meals! And yet, even after all of these attempts, along with daily throwing away a good amount of already wrinkly or rotten ones… It still appeared as if I had never so much as touched that silly box. I was at a loss! I had no earthly idea what to do. Every night I would get them out of the fridge and throw more away. But sadly, even with eating them on top of salads, I still was only getting rid of a handful (if that) at a time!

Come to find out, when Marlee told me she would not eat many, that was Marleespeak for “I won’t eat ANY”. Maybe I just imagined the ‘M’ in front of that. Sigh. So then I tried to gift some on to all of my neighbors, only to find out that I possibly might be the only person around here that eats fresh tomatoes!!

Finally I decided to just make a motherload of sauce and freeze it all. So that is what I did. 3 pots worth of that wretched sauce I made! There was enough for 4 pots, but I didn’t have enough pots. Then I also had some saved aside for lunch on Sunday to go on top of the salads.

The good news is that Sunday rolled around and I was able to use about half of the sauce to feed all of my hungry guests I had invited over. The bad news is that I never got around to making the rest of the sauce, and the salad came with tomatoes already in it. So we ended up throwing the last 2 lbs or so of it away. Sad times.

Needless to say, when I bought some tomatoes a few days ago for a recipe I was shopping for, it definitely hurt me a little inside.

My latest task is to figure out how to use two huge slabs of chocolate that we were gifted last week. Earlier this morning I was offered an enormous amount of carrots. I refused. I’m proud of myself. I did however give in to 1 tub of yogurt. But I convinced them that there was not enough room in my stomach, nor my refrigerator for the entire case. I think they have made it a game to see what all they can get rid of by sending it over to our place. Sometime last week Marlee accepted a partial block of roast beef. Yes block.. like what they have in the deli cases at the grocery store! Sigh.. oh well.. it is kinda fun. :)

Be good yall. Don’t accept bulk items from strangers!

~Kat K.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week 1 = CRAZINESS!!


Well.. sorry it’s been forever since I updated! Life got a little crazy around here! Starting last Wednesday we finally got a list of things to do and a semi-schedule. Most of what we were given to do included cleaning and organizing things. Over the next three mornings (Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday) we managed to vacuum the sanctuary & foyer, clean all 6 bathrooms/locker rooms, vacuum and dust all of the offices, classrooms, and the library, and then we also vacuumed/swept/mopped the whole FLC Gym. That was just in the mornings! We also worked a few shifts in the gym, had worship practice, worked out a few times @ LA Fitness with Roxann, and went to Bible Study.

And then of course there was the Walmart adventure! Wednesday afternoon, after we finished our morning work, we decided it was time to brave phoenix on our own and make a Walmart run! Problem #1, no vehicle. Problem #2, no sense of direction for either of us. Sooo.. we went to John, who graciously lent us his truck. Problem #1 solved. Then he drew us a pretty detail map of how to get there, and helped us understand how the phoenix streets are set up. Good stuff. Problem #2 semi solved. We still had very little sense of direction, but we were better off then, than we had been before! So off to Wally World we went. Thanks to John and his lovely little map we found it quite easily! We spent a good bit of time going through walmart stocking up on the things we weren’t able to get on our trip to Costco the week before. Then after we checked out and found the truck (which took a little effort, not gonna lie!) we traded seats and I took the reins for the trip back. Unfortunately, the map did a great job of getting us TO Walmart, but not such a great job getting us BACK from walmart! He didn’t remember to write the name of the road we were supposed to turn off of. We knew the street AFTER, but not the actual street. But we thought we figured it out pretty well, but I made the mistake of thinking that the street was at the light. Well, it wasn’t. it was the street before the light. No sweat, I said, we’ll just turn down Roosevelt and find 15th, no problemo. Ok.. so maybe it was a problemo… the light was at a funky intersection.. you know the ones with 5 roads, not just 4? So I accidentally turned down some other street, NOT Roosevelt. Trying to keep it cool, I immediately started reading road signs to see if I could figure out where I was then. Within less than a minute we saw the McDonalds we had visited the week before, so we knew we were still close, but not quite in the right place. But it didn’t take us long to find 9th Ave and get ourselves back on track. Really all we did was make a big circle around the church. And in the end we made it back all safe and sound!

We did become the highlight of Bible Study though, since everybody found it quite hilarious that the interns A. took johns truck, and B. got lost in PHOENIX. For those of you who don’t know.. phoenix roads are set up VERY simply, so technically it should be pretty hard to get lost around here. But then again.. it is Marlee and I!

Haha.. so yeh. That was pretty much our week last week. On Saturday night we went to a Block Party for the Spanish Church, and then went out to dinner with Ed. Then Sunday we had church. I have officially been recruited to sing on the Worship team, so that was fun. Marlee taught Sunday School for Danielle, and did a pretty good job. Then after church, we had John, Roxann, Danielle, Jack, Jerri, and Ed over for lunch. It was really nice, and a good chance for us to kind of make up all of the stuff that they have been doing for us. We’ll probably do it again at least one more time before we leave..

Yesterday was a pretty chill day. In the morning we hung out with john watching youtube vids (haha), and then later went back to the apt to work on some stuff for the Youth on Fillmore event Friday. Then later that afternoon we came over to the gym to work our shift. After gym shift we went to ladies bible study at Mrs Debbie’s house. We got to meet some other young ladies that are closer to our age. They are all married and have children, or are pregnant, but it is nice to meet some people that are not twice or three times our age!

This morning was the feeding program. It went pretty well. There was one man who got all mad. He said he was being cheated, blah blah blah.. called all of us “Unchristian”. Meh.. oh well. Basically what had happened was, he showed up at 8 to get in line, and there was one lady standing at the gate, and then “50” boxes lined up behind her. But when he tried to get in line behind the lady, in front of all the boxes, the people who owned the boxes eventually showed up and told him he had to go to the back of the line. He said it was not fair and unchristian for them to put their boxes in line and then not stand there themselves. But the reality is, and this is what John and everybody else told him.. this is the way that they have been doing it for years! People will come as early as 2 in the morning to put their boxes in line, before coming back the next morning to get in line again. It’s just how it has always been done around here, and one guy isn’t gonna change that. Especially since he isn’t in any authority, he is just a member of the program. The sad thing is that he put up such a ruckus that he ended up being asked to not come back. How sad is that? I mean, I understand being frustrated by that kind of thing, but if you aren’t going to change anything, then let it be! And don’t make everything hard for everyone else. And ESPECIALLY don’t fight us so bad that you are asked to never come back! Sad Sad.. He even threatened to call the police on us, because we wouldn’t do anything about it. Sigh. I have to say that there definitely was a quote of the hour that came out of it.. He was outside yelling @ Pastor Jim and John and everybody and telling them that they were unchristian, blah blah blah.. and somebody looked at him and said, well, you are acting pretty unchristian yourself! His response? I’m not a Christian! Well.. at least he’s honest! Ha. Anyways.. I guess it’s his loss.. Other than that it went off pretty well. Similarly to last week, we ended up with so much stuff still left over toward the end that we were giving people 2 or 3 of each thing, and we had so much bread left over that they were just allowed to take whatever they wanted, whatever they could use, or give to their friends/neighbors.

All in all it’s been a good day. A good week really! Hope you guys are doing well!

~Kat K.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"The loaves and fishes"... or in modern times "the pizza dough and jimmy dean sausage patties"


I know I start off almost every single post with “wow”.. but that is about all I can say when I start out to write these things! Today was especially “wow” though!

We started off our day very early… 5 30am! Yikes! I didn’t even get up that early to leave for the airport! Sigh.. nyways. We had to be over @ the church bright and early at 6 30 to start preparing everything for the feeding program.

Upon our arrival, (which might I add was pretty prompt considering the hour!), we were put to work individually bagging loaves of bread, as well as bags of bagels and rolls. I thought we were doing pretty good, till they started bringing in the boxes from the truck! Let me tell you… they just kept coming, and coming, and coming! Between 6 45-8 we went from about 5 trash bags full of bread to countless milk crates, as well as palates upon palates of prepackaged buns, rolls, loaves, and everything in between! If you ever wondered how Jesus fed the 5,000, I am here to tell you that I have a sneaky suspicion that Church on Fillmore was involved!

On top of the bread that had been donated by the bakeries… there was another interesting thing that was brought to us to bag up.. dough. That’s right.. frozen bread dough.. ranging from small breadsticks, to large breadsticks, rolls of all shapes and sizes, loaves, buns, and even pizza dough! It was nothing short of unique and hilarious! Even the “Fillmore Normals”** said it was strange for even them to see that! By the end of it all we definitely had caked on dough all over our hands and shirts from the crumbs mixed with ice chips. Oh yeh, and our hands were pretty cold too! Haha..

After we FINALLY were able to finish bagging bread (with the help of about 4 more volunteers!), I got a chance to step back and look around. As we were bagging, I had noticed all of the men bringing in crates and boxes and all kinds of stuff and placing them in different places around the room, but it had never really registered with my mind what they were bringing in, and how much! All I was concerned about, honestly, was whether or not that stack of crates or boxes was for us to divide up too! Not to complain, or be ugly of course.. but in my mind, I was just thinking that at the rate we were bagging, next to the rate they were bringing in more things to bag, we were NEVER going to finish in time!! Haha.. but we did.

Nyways.. moving on.. we finished and I looked around only to find that the rest of the food line had begun to take shape as well! Before us in the line was all kinds of frozen meats and random other things.. I mean, everything from lbs of jimmy dean sausage, to microwavable breakfast sandwiches, to frozen juice, to hot dogs and brats, to frozen pizza’s, gigantic blocks of cheese… you name it, they probably had at least one of it up along the line somewhere! There was also a huge stack of assorted pastries.. again, everything from elmo birthday cakes to donuts, to gigantic carrot sheet cakes, to hostess snacks.. all kinds of fun, sweet stuff!

In my mind, as I looked around the room, I was thinking that for as much food was there, it still was not much considering the amount of people that were supposed to be coming through the line in just under an hour. Well, little did I know that I was only seeing a small part of the food line!! Ah yes.. step outside, and you find the entire PRODUCE section! I’m telling you, they had the sidewalks of the other side of the church completely lined with palates and crates and huge boxes full and overflowing with produce! They had cabbage, and cauliflower, and peppers, and corn, and potatoes, and green beans, and cherry tomatoes, and regular tomatoes… all kinds of stuff. It was incredible. It seriously looked like a farmers market out there!

Anyways.. so we settled in for a few minutes break before we had to get back to work. I washed some potatoes for the volunteer’s lunch.. and then it was time to round up for prayer. After prayer, Marlee and I were once again blown away by a new surprise! WE got to go through the line and get food for ourselves! What?!? Haha. I guess all of the volunteers get to go through and get food for their families.. so Marlee and I grabbed some boxes and before we knew it, people had thrown enough food in our boxes to possibly feed the 5,000 ourselves! Ok, maybe not.. but to two little girls who had been happily living off of tuna salad and peanut butter sandwiches and cereal for the past week.. yikes, it was CRAZY! Craziest of all, I have to say though.. is the fact that somehow.. I’m still not completely sure how.. but somehow I ended up with an ENTIRE CASE of cherry tomatoes. Yes dear friends.. and entire case! I’m talking, 15 or so lbs of cherry tomatoes. I have tomatoes to feed an army. Or at least the Kendall family for probably a month! And the funny thing is that I’m the only one who eats them! I even tried to give some away to Roxann and John, and they wouldn’t even take some! Good gosh this should be interesting… I guess I need to find some pasta and start cooking homemade sauces or something!! Sigh.. I don’t even know.

Ok, moving on.. soooo.. after we went through, then it was time to roll! At first the families were trickling in, but then before we knew it, it was a steady flow of families making their way around the outside of the room and out the other door headed off to produce. It was amazing. I seriously almost started crying a few times. I wish I could have set up a video camera of this.. maybe I will some day. We’ll see. But for now, let me just say that it was incredible to watch. Families, ranging in age from infants all the way up to grandmas and grandpas, and I’m sure even a great grandma or grandpa even all came in groups. Each person old enough to carry something had some type of container to hold all the food in. For as much food as Marlee and I ended up with, we turned down about half of the line, just because we didn’t need it! So yeh, we saw everything from laundry baskets, to shopping carts (or buggy’s or whatever you call them), to rolling trashcans, rolling coolers, strollers, cardboard boxes, plastic totes, grocery bags, cooler bags, luggage carts, red flyer wagons, backpacks… just about anything that would hold a decent amount of groceries we pretty much saw go through the line.

For as diverse as the food and containers were, the people were just as diverse. I already mentioned they ranged in ages, but also in languages, races, nationalities, etc. I’m pretty positive I even saw a Haitian couple go through the line. I would almost bet my right arm on it, but I didn’t get a chance to speak to them. The line was moving too fast, and before I realized what I was seeing (and hearing!) they had disappeared out the door.

And for as much bread as we had, there were definitely times when I thought we were not going to have enough! As it turned out, the pastries went first, and were eventually followed by the bread and dough that we had bagged up.. but as for the prepackaged bread products we ended up with probably ten or so palates left over..

amazing. Absolutely amazing. I’m still trying to process the whole thing! From the moment we got here, people had been warning us of how crazy Tuesday mornings are, etc, etc.. but really, we were just blow away not by the busyness or the craziness, but at how many people were being touched in such a short amount of time! They said that almost 400 families came through the line today. 400 families.. include parents, children, grandparents, cousins, you name it. How AMAZING is that? And yet, how SAD is that? They say that when this program started 25 years ago, they only had 90 families. And even up until a few years ago when John came, it was only 175. But over the years, and as the economy has declined, it has increased more and more. Yet God is faithful and continues to provide food, even in great abundance of what is needed. It is such an incredible reminder that God is still in control, and will take care of our needs, no matter how down life gets..

After lunch and a quick nap was our first shift in the gym, or Family Life Center, or FLC, or whatever you feel like calling it.. Thom Tom came and showed us the ropes. It was fun, but not much to write about. After that we got to go with Roxann to LA fitness.. ha. Wow. That is a whole other post, let me tell you. Too funny.

Anyways. My laundry is done, and I’m sure most people have tuned out long ago. I’m mucho tired. (Like how my Spanish is improving? Ha) so I’m gonna go grab my stuff outta the dryer and head to bed. Night loves..

~Kat K.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nothing like sitting in the breezeway with a nice cup of Chai..


Wow.. first full day @ Church on Fillmore. Today had been a pretty chill day. They pretty much allowed this day for us to get settled in and rest. So we got to sleep in late. Then when I got up at like 10ish I worked out for a little bit, emphasis on the little, and then got dressed and had some breakfast. After breakfast I got to spend a good bit of time just reading the Word and making some note cards for some stuff I’m trying to sort out in my head (ha). Then I rested for a while before grabbing a peanut butter sandwhich and heading outside to find Marlee.

I found her outside visiting with some of our sweet neighbors. So I sat down and joined them. It has been a gorgeous afternoon. The breeze is definitely blowing through our breezeway. For the longest time there was the steady hum of a helicopter as it flew around and hovered over the protesters that are marching a few blocks down. According to our neighbors I get is has been the people against the Immigration bill marching this afternoon, and then the people for it will start marching at 6 this evening. So I guess we will see if the helicopter shows back up later or not.

There is a monstrous American flag flowing in the breeze about a block away, and it is absolutely gorgeous. On the backside of our apartment buildings is the downtown skyline. Last night as we were getting ready to walk back across the street from John and Roxann’s house I was just standing there staring at it. It is so beautiful, and I can’t get over how close it is! It is such an awesome reminder of exactly what we are here to do.. to do INNER-CITY ministry! And inner-city we most certainly are!

I’m not really sure what the rest of the afternoon holds. It has been nice to sit outside. We’ve gotten to meet a lot of our neighbors as they come through, especially as they come to check their mail, since the mailboxes for all the apartments is in front of ours! They are all pretty sweet. Most of them are all elderly and retired.

I suppose I’ll sign off for now. Not much else to report. Peace out peeps! Don’t do anything overly stupid today!

~Kat K.

Giant stores, Giant salads, Giant expectations!

[This was from last night.. I just didn't have internet to post it]

Today was a crazy day, but very good though. I started off going strong, and got up at 6 to workout. (yay me!) I biked for about 2 miles, and ran 2 on the elliptical. It killed me, but it also was refreshing in a way. Not to mention that I jumped in the pool for a few minutes after! Best way ever to cool off after a workout!

Afterwards I got cleaned up and finished packing before we headed down to breakfast. Man.. once again. Breakfast’s at the Hyatt are fantastic! Their fruit is so fresh and tasty! After breakfast we checked out, packed the cars and headed out..

At orientation we crawled onto the couches for our first meeting and talked about being stretched on the mission field with Crystal. After that we circled up with Jeff again to talk about expectations, both good and bad. He started out his session talking about William Carey (the guy) and used his “Expect great things from God, Attempt great things for God” quote.. I’ll admit, I kinda died a little inside. I can’t seem to get away from Carey. Ha! Nyways.. it was a good session none the less. Afterwards we got to meet our supervisors for a few minutes before going outside to talk about “girl issues” with Crystal. Then some tasty Chick-fil-e with our supervisors and then it was time to say goodbye and hit the road. YIKES!

We were both excited but very nervous still as we climbed in the van and headed downtown. I had a headache that was starting to form, but I didn’t have any ibuprofen because I forgot it at home. So needless to say I was pretty quiet as I took in the sights. When John said that we were practically in the shadows of the sky scrapers he wasn’t kidding! As we drove through the middle of all of the tall, downtown Phoenix buildings I could feel my stomach begin to ball up in knots. I was SO ready to just get there already! But it wasn’t long before we arrived. I recognized it immediately after all of my google maps stalking that I had done previously, but seeing in person is a whole other story!

When we were told that we were living in an apartment, I expected something the size of the Johnson apartments. Come to find out, this place is HUGE! John and Roxann told us that it had actually been two separate apartments that were combined into one.. so we each have our own bedrooms and bathrooms. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had my own bathroom except maybe for a few days while waiting on my roommates to move in or after they moved out this year. So weird! Then we also have a nice little kitchen nook and a HUGE living/dining room area. And if Marlee didn’t mind cooking in a closet, I suppose we could each have our own kitchens! HA! Open the “closet” behind the tv and voila! There’s another kitchen! Too funny. They closed it off when they took out the wall between the two apartments.

After John and Roxann left we proceeded to unpack and get settled in. We even got a chance to rest for a little while before we went grocery shopping. Roxann took us to Costco.. Good Gosh that place is HUMONGO!!! PLUS it is inside a mall. How wild is that?! I was blown away. Not to mention my headache had exploded into almost full-on migrane by that point, and my migrane pills that I finally ended up finding/taking hadn’t kicked in. But hey, let me tell you. You can find a lot of protein by just eating the samples around Costco! By the time we left I felt much better.

So then we came back and put our groceries away before heading off to meet up with John and Eddy for dinner at Oregano’s. Let me tell you.. I ordered the jr salad and it was bigger than any full size salad I have EVER had! And their pizza’s are huge too. I’m pretty sure they ordered a medium, and it was definitely the size of Mama’s big giant pizza’s she makes for the boys! It was crazy.. but super delish!

After dinner we went back to their house and watched Facing the Giants. I had never seen it before. I still kinda have the same feeling about it as I do towards the other movies by these people, but it was a good movie nonetheless. After the movie Eddy walked us home and we were ready to crash! After we spent some time praying for each other, I curled up and read for a while.. now… time to catch some zz’s! :-)

~Kat K.