Summer greetings from the day center.  We’ve had an exciting few days.  Last weekend, of course we all celebrated 4th of July with all the guests while they were staying at Corpus Christi.  Great food and 4th of July ice cream Sundays, and then out to the parking lot where the neighborhood gathered to shoot off fireworks which was fun for everyone to watch.
Then Sunday onto St Margaret’s where the basketball court is always a favorite of the kids.  Monday night, a huge storm blew into town about 11:15 PM.  We heard of great adventures Tuesday morning through a few perspectives about the storm last night:
* one through the eyes of a couple of parents (sleep deprived adventure stories)
* those through the eyes of a few kids (excitement adventures, including descriptions of the storm, the windows shaking, having to hang out in the bathroom with all the other families because tornado sirens were going off, the fire alarms also going off, the fire department coming, the playground being blown across the parking lot) …sounded like something out of a movie!
The summer is always a fun time, as we get more time to build relationships with the kids. We frequently have graduate kids coming back to the day center to hang out and help with the other students throughout the summer.  The day center is always an active place.  This year we’ve had several days where kids who are graduates from the program have taken the lead on some work projects on improvements to the day center.  This brings such joy to staff, to see graduates (especially the kids) come back and invest their time giving back to the program.
Tuesday morning along with the stories of the wild storm (each new detail grew the drama as the kids added their own twist to the description of the night), I also heard through the kids how cool it was to be in the program.  The younger kids readily soak up all the attention,  the activities, and the adventure of the program.  They like to tell about the fun, the food, funny things that happened the night before, stories about people they met, desserts that were extra yummy…) Alex, (the oldest of the kids at 13) said last week that she had not met anyone that wasn’t really nice the whole time her family has been in the program.
And this again points to the reason this program works… which is simply the practice of hospitality.  The difference is all the volunteers, donors, congregations of faith, people who pray, graduates who serve, youth groups who give of their time and efforts, people who donate rides to work or appointments, people who love well…. Great changes can occur in a little period of time with this kind of selfless love and service.
All families in the program are impacted by the grace filled hospitality, including those families who may not graduate directly into permanent housing.  We continue to have contact with over 90% of those who were in the program, and we see the loving impact and listen to the stories from families through the nearly 6 years FPL has been blessed to serve here in Lawrence.  Lives are touched, hope is reignited, respect is regained and all the while, the kids are having a blast and living adventures with stories to be shared about parking lot fireworks and tornado sirens, and playgrounds being blown across the street, about grill outs, and movie nights, about pool field trips and exploring churches at night with flashlights and on and on and on the adventures go.   Thank you very much for being part of the adventures and for the love shown through your service and your gifts to the families in Family Promise.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory”  Eph 3:20 (niv)