Wednesday, April 13, 2016

KH Update

Greeting supporters, prayer partners, volunteers and future partnersJ!  Just wanted to update the blog as we are nearing the completion of the first year mentoring at Heritage Academy.  We started with the 3rd grade boys.  There are 6 little guys in the class, and we have come to love each of them for their own unique personalities.  At the risk of putting any personal information in a public I will just share some of the things that make them special!  For instance, this past visit, one of the boys said the blessing before lunch and I was literally tearing up when he was done—not only did he pray for each of his classmates individually, he prayed for at least 4 of us by name, and for our families.  We are truly blessed to be able to learn from these children and I think everyone would be served well if we went back to seeing the world from the eyes of a child!

Our visits consist of mainly 3 activities—we arrive around 11:30 and bring our bag lunches to the back lunch table.  There are about 5 other classes in the midst of their lunch when we get there, and we try to say hello to all!  Then “our guys” arrive and give us the update of the goings on from the past month…the conversation usually focuses Steph Curry or a WWE “wrastler” or NFL current events—just normal boy stuff!  We are usually spread out so each of us can be 1-1 with a child to let them tell us how things are going.

Our next mainstay is going outside to “play” either basketball or football.  This usually consists of 1-2 of the more athletic kids showing off their skills, and then all 6 boys (yes, only 6 in the whole 3rd grade this year!!) usually end up in a giant group all fighting for the ball!  We do our best to maintain order, but it is nice to see them run around and burn some energy!

Lastly, and most importantly, we take the last 30-45 minutes to share a brief devotional with a theme centered around character traits similar to the First Tee 9 core values like teamwork, integrity, gratitude, persistence, etc.  Then we parlay that theme into a project.  2-3 have been things for them to take home like a Lowes pull back race car kit, or neat Lego projects, and 2-3 have been more service oriented—we have done a thank you/goodie bag for Active Duty Armed Forces, thank you notes and gift cards to Chick Fil A to 20 local firefighters and police officers.  Most recently we tested our green thumbs and did a potted Daisy project from scratch—38 pots, potting soil, daisy bulbs and a Bible verse from the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:8-9 for all 32 faculty and the office and lunch room staff from our guys. 

Just wanted to update y’all on what we have been up to.  Also, to let you know that our hope and prayer is for this opportunity to multiply.  This is super fun, doesn’t require much time—11:3 0-1:30, 6-8 times a year, and you are investing in the lives of our community’s youth who lack a lot of positive role models, especially male role models.  We are hoping to have another group of men start with next year’s 3rd grade class and continue to cycle until every class has a group like this.  We also want to expand this to the girls—in fact a 3rd grade girl just last visit asked me, “When are y’all going to have a group for us?”.  I want to be able to answer that little girl, and all of her classmates, with “soon, very soon.”  This needs to happen!!

So many men in our country—regardless of ethnicity or economic status— are absent in the lives of their families.  Some areas of the population provide more obvious effects of this, but suburban, upper class families are also feeling the impact of men who place higher priorities on things other than being a husband, father and leader of their homes and communities.  This is much more subtle and harder to detect, but our country is showing the outward signs of the failing family unit in a big way.  We recently read Resolution for Men (great book and would HIGHLY recommend it for every man) and it talked about the 3 things our kids need from their fathers: attention, affection and affirmation.  If they don’t get it from the father they will seek it out from someone and somewhere else, and rarely will that alternative have the child’s best interest in mind.  Look around and you will see evidence of this in every neighborhood, rich and poor, in our town and the country.  Human trafficking, gang participation and drug use are just a few examples of the places that kids may end when they seek attention, affection and affirmation from the wrong sources.  So, while our initial focus was on men, and justifiably so, there is absolutely no reason at all that we shouldn’t develop a similar program for the girls of Heritage Academy too. 

OK—sorry for the rant there, but if we don’t identify these type of issues, we will never turn the tides.  If we don’t have a clear understanding of how these situations are breaking down our homes and communities, things will only get worse.  If we don’t show the love and give “our children,” all of “our children,” hope for a better future, what are we doing?  As the father of two young boys, I wonder what the future will look like for my own children—will the downward spiral of absenteeism prevail, or will we reset our priorities and focus on the things that matter.  Will my children see their father upset with the status quo, but do nothing to change it—or will they see him working with a band of brothers and sisters to make a difference?  Our children see everything we say and do—actions speak louder than words so will our children see us do?


Graham for KH

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

KH Update September 2015

Howdy!

Been a while since we posted an update, but please don't think an absence of writing means we have been absent in the Word or planning our next missions outreach.  In fact, this very week, our group of 7 men will experience our inaugural mentorship visit to Heritage Academy. This has been an almost 6 month process of listening to God, praying on "what's next," and planning with the administration and ourselves structuring our visits to be purposeful.

So, we are writing this update to let you know the next chapter of Kingdom Here, and to ask for your prayers that His will be done. Also, to pray for each boy in the 3rd grade. There are 6 boys, so we have an opportunity to have quality time with these young children. We have been told that most of the children we will be mentoring have little or no men involvement in their day to day lives. Wow!! Can you imagine?? We have an opportunity to show these children that real men love Jesus, are involved, and invest in the next generation.  

We have a great example from our Heavenly Father, who has accepted us with all of our shortcomings...He loves us even though we have done nothing to deserve it. We pray we will be able to show these children unconditional love from our Savior. Also, to raise up a generation of fatherless to be strong men living for Jesus and reverse the trend that is paralyzing not just our community, but our nation. Lastly, please pray specifically for the 3rd grade class at Heritage Academy and for the men who are bringing His word to them.

Looking forward to this next adventure!

Graham for KH

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quick Update!

Greetings! 

It's been a while since our last blog post but please know we are not sitting idle. We have had over four years of consistently bringing hope through the gospel and basic hygiene and clothing needs to our areas homeless men and women. We have thoroughly appreciated and covet your prayers, financial and volunteer support, and encouragement along the way.

Earlier in 2015, after much prayer and deliberation, we determined our calling has changed a bit. We are all parents of young children and feel a strong push to shift our focus to inner-city children – specifically at Heritage Academy. We aren't exactly sure what this will look like, but it will more than likely be some type of mentoring program. It will be for a specific grade of boys initially, but our hoping goal would be that other men will join us and cover these children in every class in the school.

We are still making periodic visits downtown to some of our regulars and hope to pass this mission along to another group.  We have a lot of momentum and have laid a lot of the ground work for the homeless side of our ministry.  A lot of hard work, effort and progress is invested and it would be ideal for a transition to occur there.

We will keep you posted as these tentative plans become reality and look forward to your continued support going forward.

God is good.  Jesus is Love!

Graham for KH

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Where did the year go?



Hello friends! As I’m writing this post I am having a hard time convincing myself that we are in full countdown mode for Christmas and an even harder time believing that 2015 is only a few weeks away. Where did 2014 go?! One thing is for certain: God was good in 2014.





At Kingdom Here we continue to see God moving and faithfully providing resources for the needs of the homeless in the greater Augusta area. This past Thanksgiving Day marked our 4 year anniversary of reaching out to the needy. Looking back it is clear that God has his hand on this ministry and he is using the hands and feet of men and women here to help bring hope to those who otherwise would have none.



This year Kingdom Here has been blessed with several new team members whose passion, dedication, and energy have spurred on those of us who have been involved from the beginning. We’ve taken everything from book bags to stocking caps…from sleeping bags to deodorant. If these people have been in need of it, we’ve done our best to provide it to them.





Would you pray for us? Would you pray specifically that we would “not grow tired or weary of doing good”? (Gal. 6:9) We desperately want to see God continue revealing himself to the men and women of Augusta who are struggling. Would you pray that we would have the energy & passion to continue doing all we can to be Jesus to these people and show them how good He is?


Thank you for the support. Thank you for the prayers. Thank you for the resources. The homeless community in Augusta needs to know and see a God who cares deeply for them. Thank you for helping them to see Jesus in what we are doing. This is Kingdom work. I truly believe that there is no greater work that we could be doing.


Be LOVE!


Jamie for Kingdom Here

Friday, December 13, 2013

3 Year...And Counting

Wow!  3 years, over 75 visits every other week since Thanksgiving day 2010.  We have been blessed to have support and encouragement from so many individuals and organizations.  If we listed everyone out, this blog post would be way too long…one very special person, Mrs. Lynn Winters, has been especially consistent and faithful to our ministry.  Thank you Lynn!!


When I look back on the 3+ years of planning, praying and putting feet on the street, I think of two words: perspective and reality. 
Perspective because when we see what we see regularly, we are reminded of how blessed we are—even in our own individual struggles and issues—to have the standard of living that isn’t a guarantee.  Perspective to be constantly reminded, and to remind others, that our treasures are stored in heaven;  perspective to appreciate raising children who have clothes, shelter and meals, schools and parental involvement, Godly examples of moms and dads, and the confidence of knowing where home is.  We gain perspective in lots of little things:  when it’s hot or cold, we can simply adjust a thermostat and within a few minutes we are comfortable.  We don’t risk losing all of our worldly possessions if a bad thunderstorm rolls into town.  We don’t carry everything we own in a back pack.  Perspective by understanding and appreciating how much a smile, and encouraging word, or even a new pair of socks can make so much difference in someone’s life.   Perspective to realize how good we have it.

Reality because in our day-in, day-out lives, we take so many things for granted.  We all pass by others struggling—not just homeless—with addiction, abuse, effects of poor decisions every day, and we don’t even give it more than a thought of “glad that isn’t me.”  Reality because most of us are only a few poor decisions away from a life 180 degrees different than the comfortable ones we take for granted today.  Reality because the issues we see aren’t limited to a race, age, or sex.  Also, reality to know that Jesus Christ’s death was for everyone—regardless of race, age, sex, etc…That his ministry wasn’t to the affluent, the rulers, or even the religious elite.  His ministry was others-focused, not self-focused.  He hung out with the poor, outcasts, and even tax collectors!  To me, the ministry of Christ, and the passion of Kingdom Here can best be found in Matthew 25:21-46 in the Parable of the sheep and goats…v40 “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”  Wow, what an indictment!! What a reality check!!

As we journey through the next 3 years, our hope is that you will continue to support this ministry in prayer and by either going downtown with us, or simply buying a pack of socks or underwear.  We can do much with very little.  Thank you for having our backs!


Graham for KH

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Seasons

I'm sure you have noticed the days getting shorter, the leaves changing and the temperature dropping (it was a cold morning today as we visited our friends downtown!).  It comes as no surprise, as this happens every year… and every year I complain that it’s dark when I get off, too cold to enjoy being outside, and there are leaves and pine straw all over my yard.

What I often tend not to see is the importance of the changing seasons.  A tree, grass, plants and every living thing goes through, and needs, season changes.  As I sit here and type this, I am in the middle of a change… a new job which brings new roles and new responsibilities. 

You may not be going through a big change like I am, but I am willing to bet you are in a “season” of your life right now.  It may be the “spring” where everything is blooming and the birds are chirping or it may be the “dead of winter” and there seems to be no sign of life anywhere.  No matter what “season” your life is in, you can be certain you will make it through.  The flowers will bloom and the sun will shine again.

A synonym for season is opportunity.  I think this fits perfectly… what you and I are going through is an opportunity for new things to happen and new growth to occur.  Each winter I completely cut back my lantana bush and each summer it comes back bigger and more beautiful.  I give it the opportunity for new growth. 

What “season” are you in and what opportunities are there for you in this “season?”

Stephen for KH

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Dressed for Battle

This morning was a great time with the homeless men and women of Augusta.  We had a great devotional by Beau Brandenburg on being attacked and what our response should be (Ephesians 6). We hear about different types of attacks all time… bears, sharks, dogs, another person, or even terrorists.  There are books and articles written on how to survive these attacks with the hope that if you are ever faced with one you will know how to respond. 

We may never personally be attacked by any of these things but as Christians, we are in a constant battle for our souls.  There is one who is constantly waging war against you and me… Satan does not want us to be a part of the Christian life.  There is good news… we have a survival plan (Ephesians 6:10-17).  Paul, the writer of Ephesians, knew we would face these types of attacks and has given us the ultimate strategy to survive.  Just as a solider goes into battle with protective clothing and armor we are to be clothed with the Armor of God each and every day.  I don’t know about you, but this is not something on my “to do” list each day.  We live in a culture where we celebrate many freedoms and most of us do not face a real danger of being attacked on a daily basis (military, police, firefighters, etc.. not withstanding).  We are still in a spiritual battle and need to be prepared.  There is one piece of great news… the war has already been won… Jesus was victorious on the cross and has given us victory.  We still face the day to day “battles” and need to keep the faith and wear the armor of God but the ultimate victory is ours.

I hope as you read this, you are encouraged and challenged. 

Each morning, think… “Am I dressed for battle?”.


Stephen for KH