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Friday, October 10, 2014

You Planted a WONDER SEED...

Planting seed into the lives of others has been in my thoughts a lot lately. A few months ago, I was talking to a friend about the Dream Center. He said, "You have planted a WONDER SEED in the community of East St. Louis." This phrase, "WONDER SEED" continues to come to the surface of my heart.

In a way, planting seed is a frustrating process. So often, with planting seed in the hearts of young people, we often don't see results (fruit) until many years later. In all honesty, we haven't seen much immediate fruit in the lives of the youth we reach. But, slowly, over time, little by little, we see gradual change.

Recently, I've been encouraged about the real power of planting seed into the lives of our young people. Before I started the Dream Center in East St. Louis, I had the privilege of serving at the Los Angeles Dream Center for a year and a half. While there, a small group of us worked with kids and teens on Skid Row. We took them out of their harsh environment on a regular basis, taking them exploring all over southern California, while also visiting them in their one bedroom homes in a homeless hotel on Skid Row, called the Ford Hotel.

These were actually the toughest kids I've ever worked with. They stole public transportation buses, stole the youth group van and drove it all the way to San Diego, they peed out the bus window when we drove them to church, they smoked weed and tried to have sex in the church closet, they made me chase them around the park in heels while they hid behind bushes because they left the church service without permission, they cussed us out in Spanish and English, they stole the keys to one the Dream Center offices and robbed short term missionaries, I could go on and on. But, we fell in love with these kids. Despite their craziness, we adored them and continued showing them the love of Jesus in very practical ways. In that short time, we planted a seed in their life.

That was 12 years ago. Gratefully, because of Facebook, we've been able to reconnect with most of the kiddos we worked with. They're all in their 20's now. In the past few months, I've heard from several of them about how well they're doing... finishing school, working steady jobs and volunteering with other kids who need help. My friend, Anna and I, who also spent a lot of time with them, are floored by how well these young people have turned out. To come from one of the worst living conditions in the U.S., to now doing great things with their lives, it was very encouraging for us to hear!

One of the boys, from a family who was living out of their car for a while, wrote to us, saying, "I miss you guys so much. I found a career that I can branch off the LOVE you guys gave to us. You guys helping us out showed us what real friends and family were about. So, I took that loving spirit and now donating every month to the Children's Hospital that's connected to the hospital I work at. I spend about 4 hours on my days off from work and school that I get with cancer kids. I just wanted to thank you guys again for all the love you gave to us and now we can share with other unfortunate kids."

When that small group of us were working with these young people, most of the time we felt like pulling our hair out, thinking, "Are we making a difference!?!?" But that is the wonder of a "WONDER SEED," you don't know for sure that you're making a difference. All you do know is that you're being faithful to the last thing God tugged on your heart to do. Often, we find out years later the impact our seed has made.

I want to thank you for the WONDER SEED that you have so faithfully helped us plant into the city of East St. Louis and lives of the precious young people there. We believe that we WILL see this WONDER SEED bear fruit, just how 12 years later we saw the WONDER SEED planted into the lives of the young people on L.A.'s Skid Row bear fruit.

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