Whew! So a week’s worth of work has been I-N-T-E-N-S-E… Just for my own sake, to document all that has happened thus far:
I unofficially started here last Saturday, when I dropped by to check out the church and ended up meeting Nick and Peter, two of the other Youth Initiative interns at BSM for the summer. Brenna wasn’t in yet but was getting there on Sunday. We ended up scooping ice cream at the last night of 315 Cafe, an overnight safe house that is funded by the city in BSM and was extended until that night. The next morning we went to Bryn Mawr PC, in many ways the opposite of the 315 Cafe, a large, suburban, rich, white church that was giving BSM an urban ministry financial award for the Youth Initiative. Lets just say the suburbs out here are WAY different from the city. (news flash: I prefer Philly.)
Work officially started at worship at BSM on Sunday, which was cool, and different. I think I mentioned it on an earlier post. The rest of this week has been a combination of familiarizing ourselves with many of the various ministries at the church during the week (film series run by other interns, meals for various groups in the city, from the homeless to the church community to anyone who would like to come, bible studies, etc), familiarizing ourselves with nonprofits and services offered in the area. We visited a meal on Monday where a guy writes checks out to individuals so they can get ID cards or birth certificates, Bethesda Project, a thrift store that raises money for the Aids Fund called PAT, etc. We have also done a lot of getting to know you stuff with the other folks on the team. There is a lot of variety in terms of backgrounds and interests, so there is variety of things that people are inspired by. Nick is planning a found-art sculpture for the youth to create and add to over the summer (he also currently happens to be drawing pictures on the wall of our office… specifically of Peter, who was quick to tell us he grew up on a farm in bux county, riding what nick calls a ‘cow of the apocalypse’).
Anyways, its going to be cool but there are defintely challenges. I don’t have a lot of cash, period, so I have been trying to figure out that balance between going out and learning the city with these folks and not getting broke in the process. I have met some really interesting people and more importantly gotten to know their stories, which has taught me more about their lives than I would ever dream of. I have seen a lot of places that I know I have been blind to in the past and have been reaffirmed in my suspicion that service is more than just handing bread or money to a person in need.
I just need to figure out how to continually seek God in all this. I will admit, I have trouble feeling it sometimes, and I don’t know exactly what that means or what I ought to do about it, but I feel confident that the work I could do here is important and hopefully might help with the uncertainty.
Anyways, more later but now we have to go to city hall.