Where do I even begin to explain my summer? There are so many adjectives I could use to describe the incredible experience I’ve had, but even still, they’re not enough.
I walked into Shepherd Community Center completely unaware of what God had planned. I registered, brought my stuff in, hugged my dad, and said good-bye. As I watched him drive away, it totally hit me. This was it. It got totally real. I was stuck in Indianapolis for the next nine weeks. I was about to begin a ministry – to the kids, the other interns, and the whole entire community. I was in the Heart of the City.
Elementary kids throwin’ up their hands at the concert
SoulSeed, an Impact Movement band, performed for Shepherd’s EXCEL students this summer for the second time in two years. The musicians hip-hopped their way though two solid concerts, one for elementary students and another for our teens.
The evangelical hip-hop band shared the Gospel and their personal stories through interactive rap and creative lyrics. The Shepherd youth warmed up to the members, with a number of them pulling a few moves to the beat of the music.
At the closing of each concert, the members invited the youth to pray along with them, and if they felt led, to accept Jesus Christ into their hearts. SoulSeed certainly made an impact for the Kingdom; forty-one youth noted that they had accepted Christ at the concert, and another 15 youth were encouraged to talk further about a relationship with God.
God uses every tool and talent we have to bring glory to His name! We were blessed to have SoulSeed perform and to relate to our youth in a uniquely cultural way.
As of today, I have been on summer project in Indianapolis a month. It’s been one of the most incredible times of my life; I can’t even bear the thought of leaving this place and these people in a little over a month. Although I’m only 19, I feel somewhat grown up living in the city, working full time, and having an established group of friends. I can envision my graduated life being something like this and it excites me. For the first time in a while, I’m not anticipating the next thing in life, but rather enjoying the exciting blessings I’ve been given.
An important lesson of this summer has been grace. I’m a perfectionist; I don’t like failure and am hard on myself when I do. I hate realizing I’m human and I was born to fail every day. Although I can freely give grace to others, I rarely accept it for myself. Yet God’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 have been tumbling through my thoughts…
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Boast in weakness? Well in that case, let me tell you about my day last Friday…
Hi! my name is Echoe Linden Griffith. I was born on September 7, 1988 and I attend Virginia Tech. I’m majoring in Psychology with two minors in Biology and Philosophy (wow!). One of my all-time favorite quotes is
“Brokenness is God’s way of dealing with the part of us that wants to act independently of Him. He targets areas that hinder His purposes. Then skillfully, and lovingly, our Father arranges circumstances that will allow us enough discomfort to realize our dependence upon Him.” Alan Redpath
This summer, I hope to grow tremendously in my faith, I hope to learn more about God’s role as a Father, and I hope to utilize these experiences to exhibit Christ’s love to the students, other interns, the staff members, and the people I will encounter while evangelizing. One of the reasons I chose Shepherd Community Center is because I always had a heart to teach and coach and somewhat recently developed an interest in working with inner-city children and teenagers. Shepherd combines these two, which is awesome.
Something that really inspires me is witnessing self-discipline in others, whether it be with prayer, devotionals, sports, academics, ANYTHING!
On a side note, a really random/funny fact about me is that I want to work on an alligator farm at some point in my life!
Quick little update for you: yesterday we went on a team building “hike”. I wasn’t terribly excited about it, but then I was told by my small group leader that it’s tick season and we could potentially get ticks in our crevices. She had just gone hiking the weekend before and came back covered in ticks and was still finding them in very personal places DAYS later. How could I possible have been excited for the hike after hearing that?
Yeah, I wasn’t.But we took a 1.5 hour drive into rural Indiana and the hike turned out to be a 10 minute walk (all downhill) into a clearing in the woods where we were faced with a steep, muddy, slick hill that we had to scale in order to get a “beautiful spring” on the other side. And then we were told that we were all going to have limitations – some of us were going to be blindfolded, some with their hands tied, and others had to carry huge rocks. I was quite certain that they had brought us out there to die.
I ended up getting my hands tied and trying to lead one of the blind people up the hill. It took me forever to get up there. But I managed to do it with A TON of help from the other interns. It was interesting to see that none of us could have made it up there alone. And when the guys made it to the top, they came back to help the others find the best way up the hill. In retrospect, I will say that it was a good exercise for us. And I am, as far as I know, tick-less.
Today is a pretty low key day. Other than church, we’ve just been hanging out. We’re currently at a local coffee shop called Lazy Daze. It’s one of the few places around us that has free wifi so I’m sure we’ll be here a lot. I can’t wait.
My name is Urian Kilgallin. Orginally I come from central Illinois but later moved to central Indiana and am a graduate of Hamiton Heights High School. I was born in the lovely month of May, where the flowers bloom, on the 26th day in the year of our Lord 1988. I am a recent graduate of Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinios. If I had to pick a favorite quote, which I have been asked to, it would be, “the truth hurts, but denial is what will kill you” by August Burns Red.
Music is a huge part of my life, which is why my quote is from a band.
I decided to come to Shepherd Community Center this summer because of my previous work with Northview Church and their involvement. Also, I had an inner city youth class and I felt God calling me there. If I had to choose a couple things that inspire me I would definitely say God and the Scriptures, especially the Pauline Espistles; also music (I listen to a lot of metal, don’t worry, it is Christian) an people, I am a complete extrovert.
To look at a random fact, I can provide several. A rhinoceros’ horn is made of compacted hair, the longest word you can type on a single row of the keyboard is typewriter, and Indiana has a unique law that prohibits anyone from riding public transportation within 30 minutes of eating garlic.
This weekend, several of the interns and I went to see Inception. [Side note: Inception is a GREAT movie! I had a headache afterwards, though, because it was so complicated. I will see it several more times, though --when it's in the cheap theater-- and figure it out eventually.] After the movie, the large group of us clumped together in the lobby and talked about it. After a few minutes, some men in suits came over and told us we had to leave. So we went outside and clumped around the outside. I made the comment that we’re probably going to be asked to leave again, because I could see some of the suits already looking over at us from inside. Then, another intern made the comment that they probably would, because she noticed the blue light.
We all knew what she meant, but some of you may not understand. From what I’ve gathered, “the blue light” is a light that’s shown from a camera, which is taking constant surveillance. This is also an indication that there tends to be quite a bit of violence in that particular area. For example, one night a group of us had stopped at a gas station and Jeremy, an intern who’s father is the pastor at Shepherd and who grew up in Indianapolis, explained that there is a cop at the gas station 24/7, and that his father had actually been attacked right there in the alley that the gas station was beside. He had been attacked by a homeless man with a broken bottle. Apparently, that type of thing happens a lot in an area where there is a blue light. I’ve seen this light at several corners, as well as a blue sign that an intern mentioned that it was a “high surveillance area” and had been known for a lot of gang violence.
This summer, approximately 20 students have gone on a trip to Ohio. On their trip they have gone to Cincinnati, Columbus, and other landmarks through out Ohio to give the students an opportunity to experience the world outside of urban Indianapolis. These pictures represent a small part of the fun the students are surely experiencing! If you like this, find out more at ShepherdCommunity.org or “like” us on Facebook!