Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Education in Crisis

I am more convinced all the time that we need to infiltrate the education system with righteousness. I actually was brought to tears reading today's paper, mainly because the article was much closer to my soul that when in print.

The high school in our neighborhood passes 37.1 % of kids, and the state is preparing to close it all together. This school was the " pride of Charlotte," from the 1940's through the 1960's and became a "national showcase for successful desegregation." ...

" But racial tension flared in the mid-1990's. White families and teachers began to abandon the school."

The school started this year with 35 new teachers, and 20 will not be back this September. This West Charlotte school has begun offering a $10,000 signing bonus for any experienced teachers that will come teach in West Charlotte, and as to date has paid out nothing as not even one experienced teacher has applied to come.

The current teachers say that " tests don't measure the heartbreaking lives of these kid's."

It is disturbing here when you ask a kid, " What do you want to do after you finish school?" and they stare back at you with a blank look saying " Do ? What do you mean?"

There is so much we can do as the Body of Christ. It is a lie that the school system is closed to the gospel, in fact our experience is that the system is crying out for good news. We have school counselors calling us to work out career days and make-up tests with the kids in our neighborhoods.

Later this week we will take a kid to DHQ for a career exploration day in the IT department. The principal is letting us take kids out of school for discipleship; see the IT department is not only a door plaque to this student, his friend and cell leader works there.
We called his principal and made a covenant stating that if our friend goes to school for 5 days straight then he could come and spend a day with his Jesus Mentor hanging out. We are bringing him on Thursday, and that week he went to school every day will be the only one he completed this year.

He will be given natural lessons in IT installation and web design alongside supernatural deposits of love and hope.

There is so much we can do if only we will.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Today was quite a day. Andrea and I have been holding down the fort, and will continue to do so until Sunday late afternoon, while the men are off at play at men's camp. No worries! We're capable women. We've got it covered.

There was an intense storm this afternoon that cut out all the power. I was off on a mission to pick up some more kids from across town, so Andrea (bless her heart) was flyin' solo when the power went out. It was raining and even hailing outside and she had at least 8 kids between 4 and 15 in our little house with NO lights, NO radio/CD player, NO tv... (haha that's a joke, we don't have a tv) and NO computers.

What did all of these media oriented kids do for the 3 hours the power was out?
You guessed it, they picked on one another.
And they ate snacks. You can actually look at the furniture and see remnants of everything they ate over the course of the afternoon. (sorry Rob...good thing we bought that little cleaning machine!)

I probably could've been better at moderating their sugar intake, because by the time 8pm rolled around some of the kids were so hyper, that they couldn't control their little flailing bodies and wild laughter. It was funny, but sufficed to say it got a little out of hand. It was like a zoo in here. Too bad I don't have any pictures of that, because words don't do it justice.

We had all had dinner, freezie pops, blueberry muffins, candy and doritos. We looked up everybody's brother/baby daddy/momma on the county court website (you can search for inmates and past inmates, see their photos and what they were charged with, all online...it's like a ghetto family photo album for some of these kids...) and then Andrea and I needed a mental health break and decided to head off to the Charlotte prayer room www.charlotte24-7prayer.com but when we arrived (I only got sorta turned around on the way there) it was unavailable.

So we did the next best thing - we went to Wal-Mart.


By the time we got back, it was around 10:30pm and we felt rested and refreshed by our outing. I figured the kids would all have scattered and the front porch would be deserted.
Man, was I off.
We could see their shadows in the midst of the dark - darting about in untamed merriment. We could hear their tribal shrieks before we saw the whites of their eyes.
They ran up to the still moving van - calling to us:

"Miss Heather, can we watch a movie?"
"Miss Heather, can we have a snack?"
"Miss Heather, where are you going? Can I come?"
"Miss Heather, where'd you go? You were gone too long."
"Miss Heather, I want some" (of what, I have no idea...probably one of those pre-emptory questions, just in case i was toying with the idea of giving something out!)

There were hands slapping at the minivan, and afraid I'd run someone over, I put the van in park and opened my door - answering the above questions as best I could:

"No. It's bedtime for Miss Andrea and me."
"No, you've already eaten everything I've got."
"What do you mean? I just got home."
"I went out."
"Some of what?!"

There was a unanimous squawk:

"You're so mean."
" You never let us do anything."
"We never get to come over to your house."
"I know you got food in there."
"You aren't going to sleep - I bet you are gonna watch a movie without us."

Andrea and I made our way into the house, dodging the wiry kids that were trying to push past us into the house - as though their very presence within would qualify them for a prize (the coveted freezie and Madea movie) and we collapsed on the couch, more than amused by it all.

Next thing you know, we see little pairs of eyes peering into the windows and through the screen doors. There's a kid at each window, front and back door peeking in and squealing to the others:

"HEY! They're not sleeping. You said you was sleeping!"


God bless this place - it feels like home, even though home has never looked anything like this in the past. That's the power and beauty of being in God's will.

"My dwelling place is the Most High" - George Scott Railton

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fuel for the Fire

I received this in my inbox this morning from a fellow workman in the Lord from a more contemplative, intercessory stream of the Church. These are just excerpts from the message, however it confirms what anyone who has a relationship with Holy Spirit and a heart for Charlotte has been sensing for months, and even years...

We've been praying, praying and praying in hundreds of gatherings in recent years for the church in Charlotte: for the unity of the Body, that we would comprehend the vastness of God's love and be "filled with the fullness of God", and that the word
of the Lord would run swiftly and be glorified (among the other prayers given in the New Testament we've continued to pray).

The Body of Christ will languish in complacency and boredom without God raising up teachers and prophetic voices who are authentically hearing the voice of God and perceiving His blueprint in regards to how the Body is to be connected and
engaged together in the cause of Christ.

I'm grateful to say a new day has broken in Charlotte, light is shining and the advancement of the gospel will soon become more pronounced and widespread.

We will see this city impacted with the gospel in tremendous ways in coming months and years.

Bring it on Lord Jesus!
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I ripped these from my friend Stephen Bell's blog (www.stephenbell614.blogspot.com)
It reminded me that if we're good listeners, kids have all sorts of creative and hilarious things to say...

Dear GOD,
If You watch me in church Sunday, I'll show You my new shoes.
-Mickey D.

Dear GOD,
Did you really mean "do unto others as they do unto you"? Because if you did, then I'm going to fix my brother.

Dear GOD,
Thank you for the baby brother, but what I prayed for was a puppy.

Dear GOD,
Please send me a pony. I never asked for anything before, You can look it up.

Dear GOD,
My brother is a rat. You should give him a tail. Ha ha.

Dear GOD,
Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother.

Dear GOD,
I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only 4 people in our family and I can never do it.

Dear GOD,
I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool!

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Monday, May 22, 2006

Something to think and pray about this week:

Have you ever prepared to meet somebody who mattered a lot to you?

You reach the door of the room where your friend is waiting, and pause before opening the door. Saint Ignatius suggests this picture as a preparation for prayer.

Gather yourself, with your hand on the door-knob, and think:

Something important is about to happen to me.
Somebody important is waiting for me.
I am walking onto Holy Ground, stepping into Sacred Space, going to meet the Lord of my life, the one whose name is I AM.
I am preparing to invite God to deal with me, to speak to my heart.
I will be receptive.
I do not know what words to say, what thoughts to think, so I trust in the Holy Spirit, who will teach me from the inside.

In that mood of confidence I open the door, to find God looking at me...

there's MORe - check it out: www.sacredspace.ie

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Saturday, May 20, 2006


" Why do I talk about commencing ? We have already begun, and that with
considerable effect. Our hand has been forced by circumstances. ...
Look at that dark ocean, full of human wrecks writhing in anguish and
despair. How to rescue those unfortunates is the question. The
particular character of the methods employed, the particular uniforms worn by the
lifeboat crew, the noises made by the rocket apparatus, and the mingled
shoutings of the rescued and the rescuers, may all be contrary to your taste and
traditions. But all these objections and antipathies, I submit, are
nothing compared with the delivering of the people out of that dark sea."
General William Booth , In Darkest England and The Way Out, page 289, 291.

I am not an insubordinate soldier, I do not bash or curse The Salvation Army. In fact I believe that God has a desire to use this, Fist of the body of Christ, to win the whole wide world for Jesus. To inaugurate the coming of Christ to save a dying world.
I do however wonder how many of this Armies soldiers and officers fall into the hole of taking up issue with what we wear and how we sound when we do it! Placing tradition higher than revolution. Are the things God is using to save souls "contrary to your taste(s)?" A movement was begun 120 years ago; let us not be responsible for slowing it down.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

so let me tell you some more about the townhouse we've rented, and why we've rented it. Some of you may be scratching your heads (or shaking them) and saying, why another house? Didn't they just rent a house?


So far, here in JT Williams, we have possession of three buildings. The house that Rob and I live in, which was our first acquisition. Then, in late March, we rented a house across the street, which is our soon-to-be-up-and-operating Community House. I say that because we are just waiting for computer desks and chairs for the 4 computers we had donated, to open it.

While I'm on that topic, does anyone have any desks or chairs kickin' around that they'd like to donate? Please email me at heather@thewarcollege.com.

So the Community House is where Travis Roberts, our kids minister extraordinnaire lives. (www.made4war.blogspot.com ) It's a great spot for it too, right next to the Liquor House (where you can buy booze, smokes, drugs, guns and sodas and freezie pops for the kids) so we know that it draws a crowd and people already like to go there.

Then we come to the townhouse, which is one street over from us, where Andrea and Anthony Castle will live upon their arrival tomorrow from Vancouver. They are missioners from the Holy Session of The War College, they hail from Australia and they are spending the summer laboring alongside us here in the 'hood. (www.andreathinkingaloud.blogspot.com and www.holywarpropaganda.blogspot.com )

Soon we will receive a Salvationist Service Corps, (www.youthdownsouth.org/servicecorps.htm. )made up of three slum sisters and we will expand again, which will put us in good shape spacewise for the Revolution Session of The War College which commences its inaugural year in Charlotte this September (to apply, check out www.thewarcollege.com ).
For now, we're content with a trio of homes from which to minister, live and love.

It's a good thing too, because a house isn't much when it's empty. We've certainly experienced some provisionary miracles over these past 5 months. Rob and I had only lived here for 4 weeks when our furniture came, it was all donated and is actually rather nice and in good shape. We shared most of what we got with needy neighbours and then with Travis when he moved into the Community House. After asking for help at our local Corps, we've received more needed bits of furniture, kitchenware and general household items. We are still asking for beds, couches/chairs, dining room table/chairs, dishes, glasses and that sort of thing. Please email me if you would like to make a donation to a worthy cause!

Through all the din, we are still giddy with anticipation. We're looking forward to the the time when all is operating as it should, with each house being self-sufficient, each inhabitant knowing and interacting with their neighbours and inviting them into their homes and lives. We are curious to see God tip His hand and work out His plan of salvation and healing for our neighbourhood.

Until then, Anthony and Andrea will shower at our place (they have no hot water yet) and all of us will share meals cooked on the stove at our house, eating the food from Travis' house until we can nail down fridges, stoves, hydro and all that jazz.

It's funny, I was thinking today as Rob and I were taking a cracker snack break from cleaning at the townhouse, that even though we don't have everything we need to start a proper house, (my Grandmother would be appalled!) I'm still really excited. Even though some of us will go without for a time so that others can be more comfortable, it's worth it. It is absolutely true that every sacrifice that we make in the Name of the Lord and for the extension of His Kingdom is worth it because we deny ourselves and think of others - and this is the character of Christ. Even more so when you can be cheerful doing it!

We plan on having some pictures of the townhouse online soon, but until then, if you happen to be in the neighbourhood (or even if you're not) stop by our place for a coffee and see for yourself what God's got cooking in the 'hood.

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some of our goings-on.

wow - what a day it's been so far. And it's only 3:30pm.

we spent the better part of today cleaning out a townhouse we have rented. In my opinion, it's fabulous, there are two stories, big windows, lots of room in the kitchen and space for a dining room table so that folks can sit down together to share a meal. As we pryed the plywood away from the door (apparently people have been sneaking in there and smoking crack) the three of us began to pray and praise God that we are able to expand to a new street in the neighborhood and also give the missionaries that are arriving tomorrow an awesome and spacious place to live. The fact that it's considered 'undesirable' (by the tenants AND the handyman) is even better, because that means that with choosing this location, we are truly going for souls in our neighborhood and going for the worst-the hardest, the meanest, the darkest. Then, when they open their hearts up to God, the transformation will truly be supernatural.

I also praise the Lord because He protects me-even in the 'little' things. While cleaning I came across a pile of razor blades scattered along the tops of the kitchen cupboards. (See Mom! I was cleaning on TOP of the kitchen cupboards!) Of course, I had to stand on the counter to do that (a no-no...I know) but at least I could SEE the space that I was cleaning...that's how I found the razor blades. Fair enough, I commented to Rob and we both sighed and had a nostalgic downtown eastside Vancouver moment, then I threw them away.

Couple of hours later, I was up in the bathroom, not being as careful as I ought to have been when cleaning on top of the mirror/vanity. I was just going to town on that thing because it was filthy dirty-you can imagine how much dirt accumulates in that spot. ANYways, I was sliding a paper towel along the top of the vanity and heard a tinkle, and another razor blade dropped down into the sink. I CAN'T believe that I didn't slice my hand open on that nasty thing...I had forgotten the #1 rule we learned in the DTES...don't put your hand anywhere you can't see it...so really, even though I was careless, the Lord had my back. Seriously, I don't want any nasty diseases...


Moral of the story everyone, when you are cleaning out your crack house, you might want to use rubber gloves, and definetely check for razor blades. Oh, and don't tell your mom that you were standing on the kitchen counter, because not only is that unsanitary, but it's also dangerous! (You could fall and hurt yourself!)

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Friday, May 12, 2006

So, more fun stories. Were really not trying to freak people out or revel in our shocking capers, however the unbelievable stuff that just happens in the hood just has a need to be revealed. Who would believe ?
Travis, our CSM, came over for breakfast and was like " Did you guy's see the man with the shotgun on the front lawn." and we were like, "NO." So we all rushed to the door and sure enough there was a man walking abruptly with a ten gauge shotgun.

So Travis grabbed the camera and got the money shot while hiding in some bushes. You know you've been in the ghetto too long when you chase down an armed crazy man for the blog shots. Travis also holds the record for the most gunshots slept through 6.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

50025000600 minutes

Wow, I have been married for over a year. I've been getting dogged for not being home on my anniversary, so I wanted to justify what a nice guy I really am, and to show off how beautifull my wife is. We spent a night in a 200 year old Moravian cottage for our anniversary and here are some pics of it all.

Can you find Heather in the Misteria ...

Thank-you Jesus for my wife who is a Lilly among thorns and for sure the most lovely among the maidens.

This room was the summer kitchen used by the first Moravian settlers more than 150 years ago ...
thanks for all the calls and cards we wish we were closer to celebrate, but rest assured we know all you all are with us in spirit.

Friday, May 05, 2006

How to Build a Community - or - Everyone Loves a List

I found this list @ http://www.fionahailes.blogspot.com/ It is a practical list of things that anyone can do (or avoid doing) in an effort to cultivate real community.

At first glance, the suggestions could seem ridiculously obvious and much to simple. The truth usually looks that way at the get-go, at least until you start digging into it...that's when you realize that there is abundantly more than meets the eye.

So how about this, after checking out the list, leave a comment, indicating what you are going to do, God helping you, in your everyday, ordinary life--your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life, so that we can be encouraged by one another.

Okay, I'll kick it off - I'm definetely going to work on asking for help when I need it and baking extra...err..ok, I'll just try baking at all...and then sharing it. Betty Crocker cookie mix, here I come.

And you?