By Darius Oxley
God is still working within me. If there are any parts of what I will go into that you disagree with, give it about 3 honest minutes of chewing before you have my permission to never read my blog again. Unless you enjoy spitting up all over yourself XD. I don’t wanna leave anything out so skip to the good parts if you ever get bored. I promise I won’t tell anyone.
Came and went but what I do remember the most is the drive up. not because i missed my mommy which i might have but because it would be setting the tone for everything that this next 6 weeks was going to be. I rode with my neighbor up and it was a cool little trip until we got off exit 51. The usual city stuff I was used to and could deal with easily especially sitting in the back seat lol. but as we trecked closer and closer to 318 S Gilmore St ya boy started to get a little more and more worried about where I was going and what I was going to be doing because of who I was riding with. then came the dreaded question, “uhhh do you know where you are, you sure you’re gonna be ok?” important part. I was so comfortable with being a christian when the relationship was just me and God. But, as soon as I was expected to communicate my decision I made with God with anyone I didn’t wanna do it anymore because just saying i want to do anything solely in Gods name turned me I became the crazy which no one could relate. but thats just telling you the mindset i came into this program with. hopefully i didn’t lose too many of you people yet.
today was my first full day in baltimore city and i have many emotions it started with daily prayer and that was chill but early. we started with downloading about the passage on bonding as missionary and what stood out to us. Important part serving a place is about serving the people there. and there is no way i can serve people I haven’t created a bond with. I’m not here to be bonding with the people i came with. thats gonna happen regardless. I’m here to make sure that the south west baltimore can see God and how he is working in the city.
We began to talk about what were some of the community questions some other people might have about the new city we were coming into and seeing what we could learn from the people who were engaged. that was fun we were talking to folks who worked around here in the shops that weren’t abandoned as well as 2 police officers. Important part the people were so quick to distance themselves from the violence that was “over there”. I want to find out more about this and see what others think about why this community struggles so much to grow together in unity. then was dinner at primos which was chill the best thing there was the pineapple soda which was a change in pace from the tap water. I also went to the prayer which was cool to see these strange white people out here on FIRE for God. It was refreshing. I was told there I have eyes of fire and im going to heal and peace will travel with me so im writing it down for memory sake. my favorite thing was the NA meeting today. Ramon* spoke and it was scary how well he knew himself and Important part the steps he took to get better all remind me of how in my walk the only way I get to take any steps on the road to recovery is with someone walking along side of me, well second day down.
Here we go. The 3rd day was just as good as the last couple. Nah that was a lie but thats besides the point. It started with bible study on what “is” from our ought is little thingy. We studied the fall of man this morning and how it was centered around our idea for self sufficiency. Important part we wanted to be able to provide for ourselves and live without God but that was just impossible. And I fell in love again with what God did instead of doing what he promised the man and the women. Important part God loved the men and women more than animals he sacrificed to make them skins and stay in community with them. Afterwards we went on a walk around the block and I saw bruce street. what a sight. I wanted to take a picture of the streets. boarded homes and the almost Prison yard of a block and the people who were protecting it. I see the people there and they are on my heart daily. the one way street does it justice. then we played ball with Greg* and Matthew* and Deon*. Afterwards I rewatched 13th. the documentary was hard to watch and be a spokesperson for all black men in america but that happens. i didnt like it at all actually, but thats alright its not about me 🙄 I am helping people see the the black experience. thankful for doing that hard things that i still dont wanna do but have to.
Today started with the same old I even ate breakfast today which I guess changes things up a little bit. I guess I was feeling freeky. But we studied with Uesin today the book of Ruth. not Esther, Ruth. and it was a story about the redeeming of both and how Boaz was THE MAN. Important part But what I couldn’t think more about was how Ruth would not let go of Naomi and how I want to develop relationships like that with people who are are not even “my people” but yeah that was the highlight of my day. Then we went to buy food and then from there went to the refugee dinner. Never mind I change what I was going to say. This was the highlight of my day dont know why im keeping this in here but comic relief is good for the soul.
Regardless of how amazing the food was and how sorry the situation of the process to become a refugee in america was we had two muslim families here who cooked US dinner. This blows my mind. This whole time I was thinking we were going to be just Talking to them but when we got there I was greeted with a new reality. These people weren’t eating and some described their time in the US as worse than the camps in Jordan. Important part So my prayer for these folk will be for the “language” barrier we have here in the US. Not to make it easier because english sucks but to make the people in these communities see the need and start to work with the folk. the communication is frustrating and can be a roadblock to people trying to get an education and even lead to them dropping out of school because of the culture shock and all that nice stuff. yeah in the end baltimore school not going easy on the Syrian families and they need our help to come along side and meet them halfway.
and then it was sunday. My day started with Megan and the farmers market. what I remember from watching the people was how the blacks lined up outside of the market and were all there just in a huge crowd. It was hard to see. the city making its attempt to grow. As i got to walk through I was most struck by how not black the market was. and i knew that because of who was selling and what people were buying. almost every stand was a white family and that wasn’t bad it just is another example of people coming into the city to address the needs here and the city losing its money to “outsiders” the folks who were living there dont get pay taxes on the food they were buying and everything is cash there. but i saw some characters XD and spent much of my time praying for and observing the people who were out and about on the sunday morning. ill be there next week again because of my love for people watching and fresh food tho lol.
my next stretch point came when praying over the sermon and doing it the way i do it at home. with the holy spirit guiding me and im glad my fake shell deteriorating. but the sermon was about for me seeing the city the way God does and if i do how will my actions change accordingly. Important part I want to see a redeemed baltimore and pastor Hopkins made it me see that there is no way it happens without the church people living and building communities in the gutter. we are here now, lets set up camp and use the rest of Jeremiah 29. my trip to baltimore inner harbor was cool the east side is completely different than the west and i definitely wanna see more of what thats about. lastly my highlight of the day was at the latino service. not only did it make me miss home T-T but i learned about phillip and how to address people in the community by the direction of the holy spirit and that his timing will do all the hard work. Important part man that Spanish service also helped me to see that the communities here all want the same thing and are using the similar methods so maybe we try something new or try something together. the churches are here to address the needs of the community i like how city minded these communities are here in the inner city. yeah the murder rate through the roof but the children here are so intelligent and valuable to me that i cant let it go. this was my first time practicing the sabbath i like this way of thinking.
Juneteenth. Today I learned what 10:12 sports is and got to see into the heart of Brother Jeff Thompson. He is a man with the zeal for God and wants to do so much for these kids in his neighborhoods near and far across the baltimore city. He has almost adopted these two kids picking them up for a bite to eat and just spending time goal setting with them. Lil Mike* and David* were there names since I was looking for who to pray for. but i learned much from the youth just their little goal setting session showed me the heart of many of the children I believe are in this area. of course its not the same when other people are around so these 1 on1 sessions are going to go really well. Important part they have goals. pull them out of the kids because they know where they wanna go and if they dont start them dreaming and ask how you can help them get there. after we went to silver spring and back and then i cooked dinner and popped my hand real bad on the oil. but thats regular. the evenings we started VBS and i know my love for the kids is starting to seep out but they just want some attention and all at once is impossible but Im not sure how to do that and educate them all yet. partner grouping might be too soon for these young ones but maybe personalized lessons with 2-3 would prove beneficial. time will tell
today was another good day started off like they all do. prayer and community. we went and picked up all the kids and went to see pastor Andrew? i be forgetting names. but what was so striking about this encounter was how passionate brother Jeff was pursuing these kids. Like he wouldn’t not take no for an answer. And it looked like he wanted them to go more than they wanted to go. And not that it was bad but they just wanted to do what they were used to and what they were comfortable with. Beach trips to ocean city which arent bad but they arent going to change your life every week. What i see in addition is how to guide the child to what you know will be good for them. Plus teaching them about life through weeds and pouring into them with the resources with what you have. expect much and give more was what I learned from today. driving all around the city picking and waiting on kids brother Jeff is officially brother Jeff to me as well after today. The respect is there. What else I did was the VBS and I love those kids man they gotta keep growing to meet my expectations Important part the trick is keeping them high and moving them higher steadily even if they dont meet them not to forget that they are still worth my time and i GLADLY give it when I have it. much love.
yeah so based on how I feel about this later on after its posted and time to proofread XD i might do something like this next week. hope you got lost somewhere in there and you needed to think twice about something because other wise ill make this more complicated. jkjk but sorry about the capitalization stuff and grammar thats more effort than im willing to give. Ive also changed the names of all the people thats with the *****’s to keep you guessing. I hope it doesnt ruin it for you. Important part my last impression would be to find a good book and drink more tea. My challenge for you this week would be to leave your phone on your bed when you leave in the morning. My question for you would be how can i get these children outta there homes before 3pm ?
By Darius Oxley