Nov 13, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Mark 16

Good morning, SHINE girls! We are finishing up Mark today, and heading straight into the gospel of John tomorrow! Yay!

Today, we continue with our SHINE girls serving stories. Let me just say this: I know there are many, many of you with serving stories! I would LOVE to hear them all some day. These are just from a few of my friends that are in my everyday life. :)

My friend, Erin, is sharing her story today. I know you will be blessed, inspired, encouraged and spurred on today. Grab your coffee, a blanket and snuggle up to her story.

My story
by: Erin Spinks

Last year while driving my children to school, I would pray with them/over them that God would USE us THIS day to be the hands and feet of Jesus.  Each of my children(I have 4) have a different gift.  I pray their specific gift over them so that they hear how I believe God can use them-example, I pray for my Mae girl’s helping hands. 

 Anyway, I would pray this for them and then talk to them about the people God would have in their lives that day.  That just today they could be a gift to others by simply offering a smile to everyone they passed.  I would say, “You may be the only smile that someone sees or you may have the words today to change someone’s day.”  “Find something you can do to show God’s love to someone—you can always find something good in a person.” 

  I’m not sure if they caught on, but by me changing my morning routine, God started to change me.  I would think through out my day about how to BE the person I was praying for my children to be.  I would pray to God to STOP me.  In January last year, my husband and I started to talk about how this could be the year that our older boys learned about serving—maybe a mission trip?  They were 7 and 8 at the time.  This would be a great learning adventure for them.  My husband always wanted to go on a mission trip to Mexico, so this is where our heart started to look into.  

We started going to a closer church-the 2 week they offered the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Mexico, wow!  We looked into it and signed up.  Then—the amount of the trip proved to not be something we could do this summer.  We decided that Chuck would go, this was his dream and he would be finally able to serve.  Still, my heart was shaken because we really wanted to be used this summer.  We really wanted to show our children the world—hurt, suffering, different life styles, etc.  So, I prayed.  In the meantime, school was coming to an end.  The month of May flies by and holds so many activities.  I was room mom for my son’s class and it was time to collect money for teacher appreciation week.  I did my duty of sending in a letter to the class to collect the money and I would buy the gift.  Rhett’s teacher though, know more about our class.  She sent the letter back and talked to me in carpool line about the class—several of the classmates had needed food and several had needed clothes even.  She could not pass the letter to the parents.  My heart broke.  I remember being so humbled by her statement.  You see, I live in the #1 small town of Georgia—really, there has been a vote. 

We moved here to get away from the trouble of living closer to Atlanta.  I walked around like everyone here had it together.  You mean, here in our town, in our school, in our hallways there really are hurting children? 

This moment changed my life!  

I cried to Chuck wondering how in the world we could help.  School was ending in 2 weeks!  I prayed.   Two weeks later a friend called me and told me of another situation in our town where she was involved and that she wanted to teach her children this summer about serving others.  I was so tuned in.  I was already starting a summer camp for my children and their moms.  We could teach this there.  Then, she stated that we should take what we do there and teach it to the kids in the projects—what?  I almost wrecked the car!!  How in the world?  Where are the projects?(yes, I have been that unaware!)  Won’t it be dangerous? Won’t people think we are crazy? 

  I finished the conversation on board-ready to tell the world and have them join me.  Not so much.  Those questions that I had, they(my friends) had.  Those fears, they were shouted to me.  But, I knew from the peace I felt that this was EXACTLY the plan.  That Jesus was saying, you do not have to go to Mexico—it is HERE.  Your children sit beside it daily.  They smile and play with hurting children.  So, summer started and my summer camp started.  I knew that I would have to present this to the moms that showed up (32 moms the first day!)  I stepped out and told them my heart all while I argued with God that this couldn’t be the right timingJ  I had no plan.  I had no resources.  I just knew that I would be going.   In all this time of my worry, our community was serving breakfast and lunch in two locations to children.  Churches were organizing volunteers to serve to one location and the other was at the school.  After I told the mothers of my plan to lead a Thankful Thursday, whatever that looked like to their family, one friend told me it was her church’s week and that I could join them.  So, this was easy!  I could just go serve and love.  It was just a way in, little did I know.  I signed up to serve THAT THURSDAY—this first week of summer camp.  I went, I loved.  I went back at lunch.  At lunch, I talked to the children about the camp I was doing.  I knew they couldn’t come.  I knew I couldn’t pick them up.  So, I offered to bring the camp to them.  I would come on Thursday and do the camp with them—not knowing who would come with meJ  By the time another week came, I had a group of volunteers!  It was awesome!  New friends, God knew all the time who could help, I did not.  

So, through out the summer we met.  We taught.  We played. We loved.  Summer was coming to an end.  I wanted to know what happened when school started.  Where will these friends be?  I found out that they come back to the community and do not really participate with the after school program at school.  So, we decided to create a place that could be their very own.  An after school program that would be there for them. 

 Once school started, I had time to plan and organize the program.  Also, to find new volunteers.  The apartment complex GAVE us an apartment!  We cleaned, renovated, painted and made it into a kid friendly environment.  We now serve 15 kids on Monday and Thursday afternoons.  We take 15 boys to the local recreational department on Monday nights for supper, mentor/bible study, and play. 

  God has taught me to STOP.  To listen.  To SEE His people.  God wants to use us all.  It has to be in us to listen to His plan and to Faithfully step out not knowing the plan.  I still do not have a clue what I am doing.  I have had fears.  I have had heart ache.  I have been overwhelmed.  I have be very frustrated.  BUT—I have SEEN Jesus because of these children.  I have been changed.  We all need hope, love, and a constant reminder that God loves us all no matter what.

“Your love never fails.  Never gives up. Never runs out on me.”

Step out in faith.  God will never leave you—you will be stronger through the struggle.

Erin Spinks

How can you help?

*The number 1 thing you can do is PRAY!  We talked about prayer this morning at church and how Moses stood on the mountain top while the battle was being fought.  As long as his hands were lifted, the battle was won.  He even had others helping him hold his hands up.  This is HUGE to me!  If you would vow to be a prayer warrior, I would gladly appreciate it!  Exodus 17:8-16

*We need volunteers!  If you could volunteer your time, that would be awesome!

*If you want to come teach a subject/skill—contact me.  This is going to be a place where kids complete their homework and get tutored, but it is not there yet.  I read a story and do an engagement game with them.  You can help!

*We feed our basketball guys every Monday.  If you want to help out, contact me.  We always need water bottles, food, and sweet treat.

*If you are a man who loves basketball and can help let me know!
Thanks friends!!


Ashley Brown said...

Love what you are doing and how you inspire others! So glad you shared your story with everyone! Just may inspire others to start a group in Thier communities! You are wonderful, friend!

Anonymous said...

Erin, I am so excited to see what God is doing in your life and the lives of those families! You are an amazing women of God and mother and God knows you were the perfect fit for this project he had in mind! What time do you guys meet on Mondays and Thursdays? I would love to get Casey involved since he is not in any after school activities, please pray that God will open his heart up and will want to get involved. I love you and know I am always praying for you! Vicky P.

Lisa T. said...

I am so thankful for your post today, Erin. God has really been speaking to me to let go and have faith in what he will allow to happen in my life. This lovely testimony came right when it needed to (God is good like that ;)
I am so very thankful for Godly women in our communities. We may not know one another that well, but we can all have a profound affect on each other's lives.

SouthMainMuse said...

Erin -- you are so full of God's supernatural strength. You are embodiment of Eph. 1:19. I hope I can begin to trust God more with my time and tape into that power too. A big hug for you.

Women Who Pray said...

I salute you, girl!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you all sweet friends! God truly has shown me that He has BIG/HUGE plans for us all. I have seen the "church" be the people, not just a place. The obedience of stepping out with absolutely no idea what to do, will bless you greatly. God has and will always provide.
Vicky--i feel your arms holding my arms up in prayer. i know you are praying and believing with me! i would LOVE for Casey to help--pray about it and talk to him.
Lisa--so true. Step out in faith keeping your eyes on God and not on the what-ifs of life. The world/life will never understand and will always whisper:"you can't". Glad to call you friend!
Jamie--thanks for the hug!! i love you! Come play/teach/love with me anytime.
Aunt Teddi---my love for you is HUGE!!! thank you for always lifting me up and cheering me on!