Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sleepless in Grand Rapids

I was in Grand Rapids, MI for 2 days this past week to work on a curriculum redesign with the DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative. It's nice to have the resources to do this kind of intense revamping of an already great program. (Even with limited funds, we have to find creative ways to discover our best efforts along with others.)

there were two highlights of our time :

1) I had an opportunity to hang out with my good friend Danny Cortes from Philly. He and his brother Luis head up Nueva Esperanza, an latino led and focused community development corp. that is now building the capacity of Latino churches around the country who want to engage with community.

All that said, our time was about sharing the agony and ecstacy of parenting our kids that have grown up before our eyes. (The pain was eased by the fact that we ate at a killer steak place across from our hotel.) To be allowed to share honestly about the fears and concerns we have is a real gift. It was a long and edifying evening in mamy ways, and I do thank the Lord for my friendship with Danny over the years.

2) The second highlight was having the opportunity to meet with the Republican canidate for Govenor in the state of Michigan to talk about immigration reform. I was pleased that he was very open and seemed to understand the injustice of the current policy on many undocumented families. He also assured me that he would take the time to examine the new comprehensive reform bill that many of us are trying to advocate for. It felt good to be very open and honest about my feelings regarding this issue, and to realize that this simple conversation may lead to actions and changes in attitude or opinions regarding immigration.

In both of these encounters, I was reminded of the absolute imporatnce of relationships in the economy of God. The ability to share transparently with others (letting folks see our souls) is such a huge part of being human. To be able to do so in such a way that leads to growth and respect for others is also a gift.

Although I did not sleep much for these two days, I returned home rested and full of hope, knowing that my life is about something significant because of Christ.

3 Comments:

At 3:24 PM, Blogger Tiffany Childress said...

I spoke with Ivan today, a student who we many in the Lawndale family have come to love. He's a great kid--a great muralist, funny, laid back but hard working, etc. He's a senior at Whitney Young, a top school here in the city. He scored a 33 on his ACT last year. His really great academic record and a dag on 33 on his ACT don't make him "great", but it does shows that he has great academic potential. What about the Ivan's? American in culture, reflecting Hip Hop in dress and music, bilingual--or should I say trilingual (slang, Spanish, and English)...

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger Tiffany Childress said...

Okay, looking back at this, it's a little incoherent. A co-worker, and actually Ivan's mentor, walked in and we started chatting about youth work. What I needed to say--additionally-is that Ivan is a stellar student yet he is undocumented. So as I asked him about college plans, he reminded me, "I don't have papers." So with all of his hard work, great ability, etc., it doesn't look like he can go to college--9 numbers can be very powerful.

 
At 8:34 PM, Blogger Noel Castellanos said...

Thanks Tiffany for getting the La Villita gang together tonight. I pray some amazing things happen with all of us.

 

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