Hello everybody! I can’t believe March is already over! It seems that just last week I was saying the same thing about March. The months here seem to just fly by! I am still so thankful to be here and am so appreciative of everyone who has made that happen!
For everyone who was curious: yes this month was Mardi Gras. And Yes, Mardi Gras is my new favorite thing in the world. I attended seven Mardi Gras parades this year, with neighbors and friends, and was thrown SO many beads, medallions, doubloons, stuffed animals and other great prizes: enough to bring home an entire suitcase full of goodies for my friends and family! The things that are tossed to you from parade floats are called “throws”. Just days after Fat Tuesday, we went to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade where I got just as many throws. It is tradition at the Saint Patrick’s parade to throw the ingredients for Beef and Cabbage Stew, so I went home with a cabbage, onion, potato, peppers and carrots! My team and I are quickly noticing that this city is ALL ABOUT PARADES I am so excited to experience more parades and to see another Carnival season, hopefully next year.
Trinity Christian Community is so busy all the time! I have quickly figured out that they have their hands in about 50 different pies around New Orleans. Between volunteer groups and mission teams, Americorps, after-school program, summer camp, a farmer’s market and the senior center, they have something going on just about everyday. It sometimes is a little chaotic. But I honestly love working at the Center. It’s hard for me to stay away sometimes. Haha! Yoga club is so fun every time we do it, and so are Art Club, Fitness Club and Sports Club. I love every second of working at the Center, as well as growing closer to my coworkers and the neighborhood kids. I have been working with my Americorps friends on Thursdays, getting lots of hard work done! I am SO tired by bedtime but it is pretty rewarding!.
Tuesdays we run Young Life Club, which is pretty much just a youth group. It can be frustrating trying to get 30 restless kids to pay attention and listen to what we have to say, but I trust that the Word will be heard by those who want to listen.
We had a training this month by a man named Jimmy McGee. He had some really cool things to say about the problems faced in urban settings. He pointed out that we tend to look at these problems in a linear fashion: a simple problem with a simple solution. But the problems are not simple, they are extremely complex! It really broke our hearts to hear the statistics that he told us and then put faces on the statistics. Faces of kids we know, we see everyday and we love. Kids that eat our food and laugh at the silly things we say. Having faces and names and relationships to put on a statistic makes things so much more real and I have been praying for them even more fervently.
Most of my team are on what they call a “Daniel Fast”. In Daniel 1, Daniel quits drinking wine and eating meat and all “delicacies”. What does that mean? No meat, no processed grains, no sugar, nothing that isn’t the way the good Lord made it. Pray for them as they are abstaining from food while FEASTING on the Word of God! Its crazy!
I had a really cool moment the other day. We invited a handful of highschoolers to walk with us to get Po’Boys after church. We ended up having a picnic in the backyard with candy and pizza and about eleven extra people cramming into our house. I just really thought to myself, “This is why I’m here!” It was such awesome to have so many people over at our house, eating and laughing and playing games! I hope that it is something that we can start doing every week! It was so fun!
I am loving it SO MUCH here, but I cannot tell a lie and say that I don’t miss home! I am so excited to see my family and friends because I miss them soo much! But I love it here too! It is weird to have such conflicting feelings like that. Please keep my team and I in your prayers. It is very important that we have a strong foundation and support system while we are here. It might be hard to believe because I tell stories about the fun I am having, but Mission Year is a very difficult.
I would like to encourage you guys too! This is not a one-way street, you know! From now on, I will be writing things that inspire me so you can enjoy them too! This month, I was especially inspired by Sufjan Steven’s version of Come Thou Fount. I seriously listened to it on repeat for hours one day while I was working! It was a great song in the first place, but a Banjo just makes it better! I also have been really inspired this month by Rich Mullins. He was a Christian singer-songwriter from the nineties that died a while ago. He wrote “Awesome God”. Everyone knows that song! Besides being in the music industry, he really lived out what I think Mission Year is all about and what I want to have in my life. I encourage you to check out his story and be as inspired by him as I am! The last thing I would like to share with you is the “Adopt-a-Jesus” movie! I just found out about it and I am REALLY excited to see it when I have a spare moment! I just recently got to know the guy who made this movie
I am reeeealllyyy excited because I have already raised over 4,000 dollars! But I still have more than 7,000 dollars that I still need to raise. The money I raise pays for things like my rent, food and utilities and it is enabling me to keep on working at the Center, at Bethune Elementary be here! I urge you to consider pledging money to my Mission Year. Just 20 or 30 dollars a month goes a long way and its automatically doubled this month if [when] you donate! If you would like to donate, you can use a Mission Year envelope that should have come with this newsletter OR go to my blog at www.missionyear.org/blog/jennifermusic. I hope you read my blog, and leave a comment of encouragement! I update it so you can hear stories and read the thoughts that I share. Also, check out www.flickr.com/imalwaysprettyhappy to see pictures of what I’ve been doing and who I’ve been hanging out with lately!