In Chirilagua it seems that we are in a season of an outpouring of love on our community and in our ministry. Everywhere I look, I see glimmers of hope for change in our neighborhood. Perhaps it has something to do with the eight soccer coaches from local churches who chose to give up one evening a night and part of each Saturday morning for two months to ensure that children in the community had someone to guide their team. Maybe it was the seven volunteers who showed up to our first grant writers training meeting because they wanted to be there and use their gifts. Perhaps it has something to do with the 4th grade students who want to know if they can bring their friends to Monday night Bible Study. Maybe it was the thankfulness I felt in my heart when we took 4 stellar leaders, 1 leader-in-training and 10 middle school students to Acquire the Fire in Baltimore to kick off our middle school program. Perhaps it is the women who felt a tug to start a Kids Club drama club and a chorus and then made it a reality. Maybe it has something to do with the number of new volunteers, partner churches and partner organizations we add to the team every week. Perhaps this hope was connected to the CCDA (Christian Community Development Association) community meeting in which 18 people from the community eagerly showed up to discuss how they might be part of the change in our neighborhood by first serving their neighbor. Maybe it was a successful meeting with Alexandria Public School Systems who wants to put a formal partnership with Casa Chirilagua in writing. Perhaps it was the 9th grade students at Vienna Presbyterian who generated almost $3000 through their 5 Talents Project in their confirmation class to help send students from our neighborhood to Passport Camp. Maybe it was the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new community center to benefit the entire community that grew out of a city/community sponsored effort. Perhaps it was in my meeting with the Young Lives area director who is interested in starting an outreach to teenage mothers in the neighborhood or maybe it was just the outpouring of applause that parents, staff and volunteers poured on our Kids Club children after their performances at the 2nd Kids Club Talent Show of the year. No matter how well the show went, the children smiled from ear to ear when the audience stood, clapped and cheered for them.
I stand back and smile as I see the Body of Christ being the Church in the midst of my neighborhood. As a united front, beyond denominations and differences, we are finding a way to be an offering, an outpouring of love in this community as we love with our lives. When we work in the community, with the community, for the community, we truly learn how to “Love our neighbors as ourselves.”
Still learning to love,