Sunday, October 4, 2009

One month down, purpose revealed

When I stepped out in faith to take the job that I didn’t even know the exact details of, I know it would be bigger than I could see in the moment….God just keeps on surprising me!

One of the first students that I met when I moved to Tacoma, Shakilya, is now a senior at SOTA. I used to teach her dance in the after school program I worked in four years ago, and she used to attend
Sozo with me. She has a few classes in the building where my office is so I get to see her multiple times a week. She is such a strong leader and highly called by God to shape and influence the lives of children all around the world. She will be one of the kids that I know will join me in Africa someday!! Shakilya has been one of the many girls that I have been praying for to run with Jesus in this city and we have had a continued discipleship relationship over the last few years. I see it as a miracle that God would allow me to be in her life at her school.

This last week, Shakilya had an explosion of anger at school and wound up getting in a fight with one of her dance classmates, Taylor. She and Taylor were pulled out of their dance classes and sent to the counselor’s office. One of the principals of the school approached me, knowing that I have had a relationship with Shakilya, and asked if I’d take her as my office assistant twice a week….um, of course I will!!! I’ve been praying for an opportunity to have consistent time with Shakilya over the last year and a half, because she’s been a little distant, and now God has directly answered that prayer.

The next day, the counselor and both of the principals asked if I could find mentors for all three girls – Shakilya, Taylor, and Shakilya’s friend Iona who got looped into the altercation. I was able to introduce myself to Taylor and she lit up when I walked into the room. I asked her if she’d like a mentor to talk to and start taking care of some of the stuff that’s going on in her heart that has kept her angry. She was eager to get a mentor and I even talked to her about starting to volunteer with
Kids Sozo, another ministry in Tacoma that reaches out to elementary kids, since she loves to dance and likes kids. I was able to ask Shakilya and Iona if they wanted me to mentor them and meet with them once a week.

The coolest thing is that one of the principals, my boss, asked if I could set up a system through
Sozo to filter SOTA students into a mentor relationship when they get into trouble at school. I pretty much flipped out of my seat when he asked. He said, “This is why it’s so great that you’re here at SOTA; this is what you wanted with ministry, right?”

So, God’s handed me the keys to take the young artist at SOTA that are opposed in so many ways and usher them into a mentor relationship with adults that will love them and that I already work with through ministry! Wow, wow whoa!! God has set this whole thing up and I get to be a part of it!

I must confess, I feel like I have no idea how to get everything done when I go to work and then the Lord throws me things like being in charge of making sure kids get loved and mentored when they have an encounter that forces them to face what’s really going on in their heart.

I really need your prayers in this season.

I am hoping that you will join me in the front lines through prayer.

I've been meaning to ask each of you to be a prayer team for me...and I'm just now getting around to it!

I love the heart you have for me and I am so grateful to God for each of you and your commitment to Him.

I am looking for wisdom to know what to do in those situations at the school. This week I saw the principals and the counselor all looking to ME for wisdom and to take action with kids that they aren’t quite sure what to do with – and the kids that I get SO excited to enter into relationship with! I know my wisdom comes from God and I trust Him for it.

Please pray for my finances. God has provided more than what I’ve asked him for and I want to make sure I honor him with what he’s given me. I am specifically asking God for money for art supplies to take into Remann Hall, iTunes gift cards for music, money to take girls to dance classes, and food money to take kids out for milkshakes and get to know them.

I would love your prayers in protection from accusations from the enemy of God. I know he tries to steal and I’ve seen ways that people have looked with a skeptic eye at why I love working with teenagers so much, and I’ve been told that I need to “careful” when working with teenagers and to keep my distance. Please pray against this scheme of fear that wants to keep me held back.

Thanks for sticking with me in all this, I know that I am loved and supported by each of you.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Moving on to a new season

I have fun news to share with you all:

It nearly goes without saying, but I would never want to withhold the truth that all the glory in my life goes to God! He is overwhelmingly good, truly faithful, and my Lord :)

I’ve been working the last three years at Tacoma Art Museum with a promotion last year into my position on Community Programs Coordinator. I’ve been working diligently and growing in my new position over the last year, all the while continuing to dream about the vision God gave me nearly two years ago. I’ve since realized that just because I had the vision right away didn’t mean that I would see the full picture right away – this is why I’m so thankful to have Jesus as my guide and not just do what I think is best!

In this last year, I’ve been faithfully seeking God for what He would have me move into after the museum. I’ve pressed in more than ever into the Sozo ministry of Tacoma Youth for Christ (YFC) along with teacing arts to the girls in Remann Hall, the juvenile jail in Tacoma. After a powerful Holy Spirit encounter, God pressed me into places where I’d realized I was afraid to allow my heart to love because of fear. Now I can see myself really pressing in to loving kids, no matter the risk or the cost. Why? Simply because that’s what Christ is willing to do for me and He deserves these kids.

I had found myself sitting at my desk at work dreaming about being outside of the museum and in the city, with the kids and the lives of the broken hearted. I stand on the promise of God found in Isaiah 61, He has anointed me to bind the broken hearted and heal the wounded. I would say in the last few months my desire to move forward into ministry has become overwhelming. I’ve been asking God for the timing of my departure at the museum, and waiting patiently and expectantly for my release. I am relieved with joy to say that I have made the decision to leave the museum and dive into ministry in the city. Now, unsurprisingly, God has a better plan than I could come up with!

Eventually I think I will start raising support to continue working part-time in ministry. God has been SO faithful to provide an amazing opportunity to supplement my income as I transition into this new role. I’ve been offered a position within the city as an arts coordinator – basically I’ll be coordinating arts programs and classes throughout the city within various community centers, schools and businesses. I'll be working through Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) and Metro Parks Tacoma. They called me before I even had to go searching for a part-time position, and it’s very clearly hand picked from the Lord for me!!!

I am very excited about this new position and I’m looking forward to having more time during the day to meet with young people for discipleship, mentoring and introducing them to God’s creative love through the arts. Some of you got to hear about my vision for Freedom Arts, and I want to assure you that vision is alive and ready to be fully launched in God’s timing. I’m confident that my new position and schedule will be more strategic than I can see right now.

I definitely wanted to keep you informed on the events of my career and my life. This is the first of other correspondence that will allow you to stay tuned on the life of Melisa!