Luke’s Weblog

July 26, 2008

Social Justice Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — lcreswell88 @ 4:59 pm

At this point in the project it is getting ever more difficult to share what is going on. This is some real stuff. This is not a retreat from life, or a break from reality, or a spiritual mountain top experience. This is LIFE, the way I should be living it. I wish I could share what the Lord has shown me this week, I wish I could explain the lessons and the trials. I have a hard time spending a week stretched to the max, fighting back the tears, praying for strength, and longing for my friends and family, only to write down some of the neat things I got to do without any context for them to make sense. But if you are curious about those neat things, here you go:

1) I hung out with many AIDS patients and I helped them with odds and ends around the house.

2) I hung out with a bunch of x-cons, went to a narcotics anonymous meeting, and stayed the night at a half way house with them

3) I spent some time each day with a sweet 99 year old lady named Winnie. She was the best.

4) I helped out with a food dive for the AIDS Support Network. That was tons of fun, we got way more food then expected.

5) We hit the streets selling tickets for a bbq that is today at 3 for the Gryphon Houses that we are putting on for them. (That is the name of the half way houses that i stayed at)

6)Most of our time this week was spent driving around and helping clients of the ASN and SLO Hep C.

7) Every night after a full day of these events we would have a special guest speaker come to our little camp. All of them had AIDS. One was an Indian Spiritualist who started the Gryphon houses. One was a lady that was heavily involved in Rwanda during the genocide. The other was a very very very successful gay man who climbed to the top of his profession only to see it slip away because of his disease.

Prayer Requests:

Last week in Mexico i got e-coli, a sinus infection, and a chest cold. I got plenty of anti biotics but i am still not 100%. At one point 8 out of 10 of us were sick. Please pray for continued healing.

Its hard for me to call everyone and talk on my Saturdays, if you want to call me for any reason and talk please feel free to call, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email, voice mail, whatever and I will be able to get back to you today before 3, or sometime next Saturday.

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July 19, 2008

Untitled

Filed under: Uncategorized — lcreswell88 @ 4:28 pm

I have a feeling this is going to be a short one. My spirits are pretty low right now. I will start from the beginning:

On Sunday morning we were woken up at 5 a.m. for a quick meeting. At this meeting we were told that we had 15 minutes to get everything ready to drive to Mexico. The drive there was very smooth, it took only six hours and I was able to sleep from Pismo to Thousand Oaks. After figuring out car insurence and monetery exchanges we headed accross the boreder about 40 more minutes. I am pretty sure that we were still in TJ. I had no idea how big that city was! I always thought of it as just a border town, not a sprawling city with over 3 million people. Our destination was Mexico Caravan Ministries.

We spent our time in a “dorn room” that was a bit bigger then my bedroom but had like thirty bunkbeds stacked 3 high. We had Bible study and worshiped there, and then each day we went out to build a house. There are three great things about building houses. (1) It is such a tangalble ministry. I could SEE what we did. One house, one day. The day starts with nothing on the ground, and ends with the familly having a house, it’s such a great feeling. (2) There is nothing more manly then hamering nails on the roof of a house. Getting super sweaty and hammering, sawing, and all that great stuff just gets me all worked up. (3) My dad was a carpender, and for a second there as I was on the roof overlooking the valley I wondered to myself how many similar views my father had. How many times has he worked up a good sweat nailing down some roofing paper and stoped to look at the view. Deep down every time my dad showed me somthing he built wheather it be a house or restaurant or somthing, I kinda rolled my eyes. Because looking at the finished structure I could not see the sweat, dedication, time, energy, and sacrafice that he put into it. But as I left the first house at the end of day one I wanted EVERYONE to see it. I wanted to have everyone drive down and look at that little 12′ x 16′ one bedroom “house”.  I wanted to show people because of my sense of accomplishment, the fact that it was for a poor familly was just icing on the cake.

We repeated the proccess on day two, then that night I had another sleepwalking escapade. I had a dream and flipped out so I ran out of the dorm room into the hall. Once i got into the hall i couldent figure out where i was at so i just kinda hung out there for a while till my heart stopped racing. It wasnt till i saw the “hombres” sign that I remembered where I was at. The next morning I got details of things that I didnt remember, like yelling “WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING!” Oh and the best part is when I woke up I realized I had a nice bruise accross my forehead from jumping out of bed and hitting my head on the bunk above me. Good times.

Then it all went downhill.

Day three I woke up floored. Whatever you want to call it, “montezumas revenge,” “the combo”, the throwups and downs. At any rate I havent been more sick then this in a  long time. Bedridden, only to get up to use the bathroom. I missed out on the last two days of the build. Thankfully I had two other sickies to commiserate with.

Its been a hard and grueling week. It sucks being sick, I missed out on so much stuff. I cannot handle eating a hand full of cheerios for the fourth day in a row. It was a challenge to stay positive while laying on my bunk, but it did provide a good time to read and memorize some verses. The Lord is sovereignly good, that is what helped me get through this time.

Well, it was a little longer then I originally thought it was going to be. I left out some details that will make for some great story time later. Please pray for healing and strength to give next week my all.

July 12, 2008

A new heart for the homeless

Filed under: Uncategorized — lcreswell88 @ 5:11 pm

This week has been the hardest, most challenging, and greatest of my life.

On Sunday we were debriefed on the weeks activities to love the homeless, be the homeless, experience the homeless, and REDEFINE the homeless. The week was so long and busy that the days all melt into one mega day. I think the best way of wrestling with this is to just give you snippets…lots of snippets:

I sat with a man who did not look homeless. He did not act homeless. He had a great life, a wife and three kids, and a great job. In 2006 all but one of his daughters died in the same month. He lost it and went crazy, he lost his house, his job, his friends, and his family. I spent the week with a homeless family of 5. I spent time with a lady who had a 4 year old and a 6 year old. There was a man who was a truck driver. He got a DUI, lost his license and instantly was homeless, driving was his livelihood. Went to a couple different shelters and day centers everyday. We walked from one to another. We ate the slop that people donated. We washed the stained and ripped clothes that people donated. It was the crack attics and the mentally disabled that hurt the most. It was the single women with children that made you cry. But in the midst of all of the sadness there was a community. They looked after one another, helped one another. Dignity. Dignity is all they need. Building a homeless day center next to a sewage treatment plant is not dignifying. Giving people the crap that you don’t want is not dignifying. Its a God-awful cycle of having a homeless shelter that brethalizes and not having a detox center in the county. Its the vicious cyclical nature of the beast. These people need community and family. Oh and they find it. They find it in the homeless community, so they stay in the homeless community. Don’t get me wrong, I met the chronic homeless. The man that looked at me and said, “sure I could stand behind a cash register, but its easier for me to collect social security.” What is the just community’s responsibility? I talked with an elderly man outside of the shelter who couldn’t get a bed because the shelter was full. I made some stupid remark like “Theres just not enough beds,” he shot back with “I don’t care, I go to cities with no shelters, where there are shelters there are homeless”.

The mentally disabled, impaired, retarded, whatever you want to call it. What if you lost the thing you loved the most, the place you loved the most, the person you loved the most. What if you lived in a creek under a bridge. Crazy? Yeah i would go crazy. So what do you do? Give them money? Not always. The solution seems impossible especially in light of Mark 14:7 “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.” They do serve a purpose in society. Every society has a homeless community (kind of a bold statement but i think its true in one way or another).

The bottom line is that it doesn’t take much time or effort. We took some homeless kids kayaking in Morrow Bay. It might be the only time they will ever do something like that. We brought like 5 gallons of pudding to a homeless shelter, some of these people have never gotten dessert at the shelter. Almost all of them are so open and so loving. A little time, a little effort, a shoulder to lean on, and an ear to hear, this is what they need.

This week was hard because the group was divided. One group went to SLO and the other to Atascadero. I was in the latter. Within our Atascadero group we divided even more. In the midst of the 16 and 17 hour days I was told I was staying the night at a shelter with one other girl from our group. It was AWESOME. We took care of the kids served dinner, and hung out with the men (who were surprisingly open about their drug addictions, jail times, ect. I didn’t even have to ask, they just poured there heart out.) Unfortunately I did not spend the night at the shelter as a “client” but as a chaperon. This job as it turns out requires staying up all night. The original plan was that Hallie, the girl i was with, would stay up until 2 am, wake me up and then i would be up from 2 am on. Unfortunately she got scared of being up and walking around the shelter by herself so i ended up staying up all night( I got a nice nap in from about 12 to 130). Around 4 I had my tenth cup of coffee that tasted like bark and dirt. It was a pretty interesting feeling being this 20 year old boy walking people to the bathroom, to their car, or watching after them on a smoke break. I had that place on lock down! Hahaha, but they didn’t need it. It was a privilege for them to be there and they knew it.

I don’t really know what more to say. I couldn’t recall all the experiences of this week even if i wanted to. I am tired. Everything in my body hurts. I wasn’t able to shower this week. The conditions at camp are pretty ruff. But the truth is, I WOULDENT HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. God has me just where he wants me and I LOVE IT!

My goal for this week is to look at someone (mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, whatever) and think what it would be like in their head, to walk in there shoes, to live their life. Because all I see is flesh deep, we are library’s of knowledge and experiences. We are hand crafted works of art from God.

I love you and am praying for you.

July 5, 2008

Camp Good News

Filed under: Uncategorized — lcreswell88 @ 7:16 pm

Once again…where do I start? I guess with… I AM HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE.

Last Sunday our crew woke up bright and early to head out to FBC. We spent the entire day serving in different capacities each one of us a different task. It was really great because although it was my first sunday at FBC I felt at home being an usher, greeter, ect. I was a bit hesitant at first about this church that I had only been to once because  I am so used to an awesome Sunday morning at my church. I couldent have been more wrong! It was one of the best sunday services ever! I absolutly love that church.

At the end of the service the pastor asked us to come up infront of the congretation, say a few words, and then he made us availible for others who needed prayer. We spent the whole day at the church and repeated the whole thing for the evening service. It was so awesome to see who asked us for prayer after the invitation. I had the blessing of praying with the paster, students, a professor, and many others. It was a full day to say the least.

Later that night we had a quick meeting of what the next week would look like (it was pretty exciting to know the plans for a WHOLE week, normally I dont even know when my next meal is). We were informed that we were going to be camp counslors at an elementry christian camp called camp good news.

We were all VERY excited.

Tons of food, a bed, showers, AND a pillow? YESSSS! I was a camp counslor for five awesome 7 year olds. It was the longest week of my life! I had to aprove of their every move, pour their milk, and tuck them in.  But on a serious note, I really grew to love those little butter balls and it was hard to see them go. It was hard knowing that Jack was going back to a broken home. It was hard knowing that Logan’s familly is not believers. It was hard knowing that Justin is going to get picked on. I saw myself in those boys eyes. I saw Jesus in their eyes. They tought me more then I tought them.

it is hard to cope with the reality of the evil in this world. There was a 6 year old boy named Joseph at camp. He and his sisters were molested by an unrepentive father. You could see pain in Josephs eyes and the serious psychological issues that will take years to get over. Joseph was only one kid that we knew had been abused, I know that there were plenty more that we just didnt know about.

The week was hard but fun. Bible songs, swimming, hiking, playing games in the field, devotions in our cabins, and eating a ton. It was non stop from early morning till night. It definitly was a great time to love these kids, have fun, and prepare for the next week.

Because forth of July was on friday, camp ended thursday night. Our group and some other staff were allowed to stay at camp thursday night without all the kids. The next morning we drove from camp to pismo beach for our next adventure. We made a tun of brown bag lunches with PB&J sandwiches, granola bars, fruit snacks, and water to go give out to homeless people and talk to them. Pismo was a zoo. Thousands of people were there from all over. We thought that would mean a lot of homeless people too. Well, after about four hours of walking and not seeing soul, we realized there was not one bum around. That was the lowest part of the day. How many homless people have I passed in my life? How many people have asked me for change and I didnt give them any? And here I am with sandwiches in my hand dying to give them to some one and no one is there. The question then becomes, Lord what are you teaching me? Show me the lesson in all of this… and He did.

After a few more service atempts at Pismo (which no one wanted to have anything to do with us), we started a caravan back to SLO. On the way we saw an elderly man walking on the side of the road in the middle of no where. I was riding shot gun and bearly saw him out the corner of my eye, we stoped the car and ran out to greet him. He was an old mexican man who spoke almost no english. What we did understand was that he was walking to SLO and he had already walked about twenty miles. He was hungry and had blisters from his sun burns. We gave him water and food and despretly wanted to drive him somewhere but our car was packed with five of us. We quickly decided to leave two people on the side of the road so we could drop off Rafael and come back and pick up the members of our other party. I stayed in the car with Kate who was drivng because I was the only boy and the girls wanted me in the car with this stranger. He was very thankful and I tryed to talk to him about Jesus but I have no idea how much he understood. We droped him off at a vons and we have no idea where he went or where he was going to sleep that night. It was a pretty intense and  a pretty awesome experience, God had us all right where He wanted us.

We then went to downtown SLO with our remaining lunches and talked to some interesting people. A veitnam vet, a train hopper who travels the states, a crazy lady, and a couple people that just needed a friend.

Well that leads me to today, i am exhausted, and hungry. I pulled a muscle in my leg and i am doing all i can to rest now, cause who knows what I am doing on monday. It feels pretty bad and it has been getting worse because I am walking so much. Please keep me in your prayers for that.

I really miss you all and I hope that all is well.

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