Monday, December 21, 2009

broken families show their brokenness under the Christmas lights

"I'll be home for Christmas, oh crap."
Thats the general feel for a lot of the teens i work with. "Christmas is coming, will i survive it?" Broken families really show their brokenness in the Christmas lights, having to go to 3 different Christmas dinners full of fighting and stress, being bounced around from parent to parent. Being at home for the holidays is supposed to be a happy time. no school, you get to stay at home, eat cookies and drink egg nogg. Its supposed to be a happy time. So the fact that its not, makes being at home worse then usual.
On Saturday a young girl called me in tears really upset, so I went with my husband and picked her up from her home. We took her to our place to just hang out for the afternoon. I just wanted her to be able to be in a peaceful home with a loving environment for a few hours. We had lunch and chatted.
I wish I could take them all in for the holidays but I cant. So please join me in praying for these teens. Pray that they would find peace and joy despite their circumstances.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

crack berry ministry and sinking sand

the other day I had a long conversation throughout an evening with a teen over blackberry messenger. we talked for hours. She came to me asking for help because her world was falling apart. this drama has happened several times before and this situation she was going thru was simply a repeat of what happened a couple months ago. Each time she gets rocked, each time it just about kills her.

I told her a story of two men, one who built his house on the sand, and one who built his house on a big rock. The storm came and the house on the sand fell apart, and the house on the rock stood firm, it may have a few broken windows, but it was still safe and dry. i asked her what her foundation was, she told me about how she relies on her friends and family "You see, thats the problem, you need something more steadfast then people. you need something trustworthy and eternal to be your rock. Because people are shifting sand."
I sent her away to think about what that could be.

the dark side of craigs list

here is a post from one of my co-workers Derian from a few weeks ago. His blog is Monuments & Melodies and the link can be found on my page:

She's fifteen now. She began dabbling with drugs and alcohol earlier than most. Her friend introduced her to pot. She introduced her friend to Crystal Meth. Now they both work in the sex trade.

She had a long history of running away. She came in and out of our lives. We got calls when she was in trouble and when she wanted to avoid the consequences of her choices.

We picked her up from a house, late one night, in a drug induced mental breakdown--hallucinating terrible demonic things. As the drugs wore off, she began to sing with the music playing in the background--Life Song by Casting Crowns... "Let my lifesong sing to you..." Tears welled up in my eyes, I think I saw Jesus, even for just a brief moment. Not too long after she disappeared.

Months later she called us. Her boyfriend was in jail. She was working as an escort. She seemed strangely detached from the horror of her profession. She voiced no desire to get out. The drugs (now it was crack) were all that she cared about.

A few days later photos of her ad's were found on craigslist. The police began investigating. Arrest warrants were issued.

We received messages from her on facebook suggesting she wanted out. We set up a meet but she never showed. Finally she was arrested. She said all the right things. She was release on bail. Maybe she would make it? We weren't sure she was serious but can you give up hope? If we could just get her into a detox program. She said she wanted out; she disappeared a few days later.

She was arrested again last week. She was released and disappeared the next day...

Friday, December 11, 2009

all i want for christmas

tears. so many tears in this season. I think its because everyone knows that Christmas is supposed to be happy, so when its not it feels worse. Thats been the story with the teens i work with as of late. But last night I listened to tears of thankfulness as a teen told me about her Christmas miracle.
Family hasn't been an easy thing for the past few years for this girl, the tension in the home getting progressively worse.
"I havent called him daddy since i was a little girl..."
She was telling me a story about how her dad left a note on the fridge, a note saying that he doesn't want the family to fall apart, that he wants to try. A shocking, tear jerking change. She hugged him and called him daddy.
"If I could get my daddy back for Christmas, that would be amazing. Even if they take our house,whatever, if it meant that i could have him back, that would be a good Christmas."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

jesus please help me

"what if I cant hear Him?"

I turn to face back up the hill, cold air burning in my lungs as I pant because I have not yet recovered from our hike. I face this girl and the look of vulnerability and child likeness on her face takes my words away.
It had been quite a morning. We just spent the past 3 hours in prayer, during which time she only managed to squeak out four words.

"Jesus please help me."

She had been stuck. Spiritually stuck. Imposable to get words out. But at the end, she had run into Jesus's arms and asked for his help. So I then hiked up with her to the top of a hill with a great view so she could be alone and listen to what Jesus's response to her would be.
"He has promised you that when you call, He will answer. And You will hear him honey, you will."

Monday, November 23, 2009

what to say?

what do you say when you are invited to a birthday party happening at starbucks, and you find out that this girl is throwing it for herself because her mom is too tired from her trip to mexico she took all her other kids on, to throw the one that was left behind a birthday party?

what do you say to the kid that wants money for food at lunch time, everyday, for the past 6 years?

what do you say to the girl who just found out about her boyfriends sexual past and is crushed?

what do you say to the supporter on the phone who asks how the ministry is going?

what do you say to the kids who make up stupid drama for attention?

what do you say to the healthy kids who have good parents when they get in a fight with them?

what do you say to the girl who's friend is now working as an escort?

There is hope.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

and we laughed

Over a cozy london fog in the warmth of a coffee shop, escaping from the rain pouring outside, we sat together and laughed.

Laughter has been missing from the the lives of the teens i know. The laughter that is there is usually sarcastic or shallow. Teens are stressed. Teens are striving. Teens are pressured. Teens are hurting.
I want to see them laugh.

The last time I got together with this one teen I told her I was concerned about her because she is so past burn out stage i'm afraid she wont make it to 25 because the stress is starting to effect her health. So this time instead of a stern talking to, we simply talked and laughed and theorized about life and people. We both left feeling full and encouraged instead of drained. And I didn't even ask her how she was that day.
God would you give peace and joy to these teens. May they find true joy.

God doesnt use a hammer to screw in screws

This week I had lunch with a teen and they told me about what God has been speaking to them lately. (Her born again first birthday is coming up in a few months!)She told me "God said, I dont use a hammer to screw in screws. What you want to go out and do is not your job, i have something else for you." The truth of that resonated with me.

Lord, help me to not get in the way of your work.
God, remove from me the temptation to try to do your work for you.
Jesus, take away my belief that I could do your work.
you are everything. Apart from you I am nothing. Let me not be fooled by pride into thinking I am significant in myself.

If there is one thing I've learned in youth work, its that I DONT HAVE THE ANSWERS... but I do know the one who has all the answers. So to those who are not open to talking with him directly, I simply tell them his words of wisdom. To those who are open to Jesus, I simply introduce them to him so they can hear from him themselves.

Lord, may your love radiate from your church into the world being a light that glorifies you.
God, you kingdom come, your will be done.
Jesus, use me how you see fit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jumping in feet first

this is mike getting baptized at derby reach a few weeks ago by my two co workers Danny and Derian.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

picking up the phone

I hear my phone ring. I look at the clock. Its just past 9. Its my supervisor calling. He would only call me this late if it was important. I hate talking on the phone. He knows this. It must be important. I debate as the phone rings again whether or not i should answer.
"Hey Carmen..."
and so tonight's adventure began. We drove out together to go and pick up a teen who was at the hospital. We drove them home, stopping for tim hortons on the way, the kid hadn't eaten that day yet.
On the way back home my supervisor and I talked about how we are the same in the way that our passion for what we do sometimes gets in the way of our work ethic. In other words, we both have the tendency to sprint and then burn out, sprint then burn out, and so on. We prayed for help. Tonight answering the phone, then going out was the best decision, but there have been other nights when I should have stayed home and gotten some much needed rest.
Answering the phone can be on of the most consistent tough choices I have to make in this work. To answer, or not to answer, that is the question. When a kid calls, and they are upset about something at 1am, do I talk it out for 2 hours or ask them if we can talk about it in the morning? Depends on what the crisis is. Its hard to make that judgment call in the moment. I'm learning, because I want to be around for these kids for the long term.

Monday, October 5, 2009

caramel apple spice

I sat there with tears welling up and spilling over, hot drink burning my hand because I had forgotten it was there. I turned slightly to the side as I wiped the single tear from my eye, that's when I noticed the Starbucks employee watching us. He was on his break, I wondered how much he understood about what was going on.
I am a youth worker. Last week candice (not actual name) asked to go for coffee. This girl reminded me why I do what I do. She told me of a great darkness that had happened in her past. She wanted to tell me about it because she wants to be loved and approved of in honesty.
All of us feel the need to be loved, and loved fully, for who we fully are, in truth, in honesty.
I hold so much love for this young girl, and so much anger and sadness for the oppressors of her innocence in her past that still hold a bit of her present. Jesus told us that we are to love others. Its so important to him. Candice, if you are reading this, you are easy to love. Starbucks guy, if you are reading this, sorry if i made you awkward and the caramel apple spice was delicious.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jesus Iceburgs and warewolves

We had our first Girls Book Club yesterday and it was awesome! Sitting there with tea and coffee, sugar being poured out of a cracked tea pot, lemon cupcakes, not quite hot anymore popcorn, using my guitar case as a coffee table, We sat on the floor despite the many comfy chairs and couches, and we talked. One of the girls there posted this on her facebook account that evening:
So according to Girls book club God is a werewolf, Jesus is an iceberg, we're not supposed to be nice, and we should all dance our life away =)

Allow me to explain: We talked about how warm God is, and how he shapes us in a gentle way, by embracing us in his warm hug, just like how in the twilight series the werewolves are have body temps that are way higher then a humans. Then we talked about the difference between God the Father Son and Holy Spirit. We compared their personalities with water. Jesus is solid and touchable like ice, the holy spirit is everywhere like water, and the Father is mysterious like steam.

Conversation went on to the topic of who Jesus is and what we know about him now that we didn't know before. We talked about how he was blunt, not always the "nice" guy everyone made him out to be. He wasn't nice, but he was always good. There's a difference.

And for the dance, I have to take the blame for that one. I was sharing about how my perspective has changed from thinking that following God was sorta like a dog sled team, just running and the view never changes, and if you get out of line you get disciplined; to thinking of it like a dance. He is leading the dance, so I am following him, but we are dancing together.

So Jesus is an iceberg, God is a werewolf, we aren't supposed to be nice, and we should dance our lives away! I'm excited to see what we learn next week!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Beautiful desaster

the words to this song describe so well what is happening in the hearts and minds of young girls.


So young, all of them. Coming from me, the 21 year old that sounds strange. Today I was privileged to go along with all of the grade 8's at the school to a lake for a day of games and team activities. What a great tradition! Grade 8 is when the lines are drawn in high school. If you are an outsider in grade 8, the hope of changing your social status isn't that optimistic over the next few years. Bullies and victims are made as these young teens enter the world of high school. Who is sitting along during lunch, who is along on the bus... we all remember those days. During the lunch break I took the opportunity to sit with a group of student council kids. They were reminiscing about their grade 8 survivor day. I asked what was different about life in grade 10 to life in grade 8. One girl piped up and said,
Looking at these kids I forgot how...insecure of a feeling it was.
Trying to make your mark, take your place, find friends. Its a really tough year. Very intimidating. I know what this feeling is like as an adult, for I am frequently the youngest least educated person in the room of my coworkers and friends. I have the emotional and mental and spiritual maturity to deal with it. These tiny teens simply dont. I am really hoping to get to know more of the grade 8's this year, to try to help in their journeys through high school. For those of you who pray, these are kids who will need your prayers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

if pictures are worth a thousand words, what about moving pictures?

Go light your world, Chris Rice

Seven Years, Norah Jones

Friday, September 18, 2009

do you get IT?

So i just got home from speaking at an event called Langley Together. It went really well. Here is my talk that I gave. I pray that some people GOT IT.

My name is Carmen, I'm a wife, daughter, blogger, Jesus follower, steak eater, spilly talker, youth worker, snowboarder. I am a bungee jumping, see doing, Disney song singing, country loving, jeep driving, coffee shop junkie who is captivated by the face of Jesus.
God has called me one of his watchmen, it is my job to stand and look, and then to call the troops into action, and to announce with the trumpet when the King is coming home! Let me tell you about my king...
He’s the King of Righteousness
He’s the King of the Ages
He’s the King of Heaven
He’s the King of Glory
He’s the King of Kings
and He is the Lord of Lords
He’s enduringly strong
He’s entirely sincere
He’s eternally steadfast
He’s immortally graceful
He’s imperially powerful
He’s impartially merciful
He sympathises and He saves
He guards and He guides
He heals the sick
He cleansed the lepers
He forgives sinners
He discharges debtors
He delivers the captives
He defends the feeble
He blesses the young
He serves the unfortunate
He regards the aged
He rewards the diligent
And He beautifies the meek
I wish I could describe Him to you
He’s indescribable
He’s incomprehensible
He’s invincible
He’s irresistible
I’m trying to tell you
The heaven of heavens cannot contain Him
Let alone a man explain Him
You can’t get Him out of your mind
You can’t get Him off of your hands
You can’t outlive Him
And you can’t live without Him
The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him
but they found out they couldn’t stop Him
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree
And Herod couldn’t kill Him
Death couldn’t handle Him
And the grave couldn’t hold Him
That’s my King!

Who else here knows my king!?

Do you get IT?
Do you get IT? Have you heard the good news? Do you understand how amazing grace is? Have you been rattled by the earth shattering truth of John 3:16? That God loved us so much, even while we were still in our sin, that he sent his son to save us that we may be in him and him in us? Do you understand how incredible that is? Has it changed your life? Have you fallen in love with this selfless God? Did you get IT? Some people get IT and some people don’t. My prayer is that all of you would leave here tonight with IT and share IT with everyone you know.

I got IT
The night I got IT I will never forget. It was Christmas time and I was volunteering at a drop in center. 2006. Our challenge that night was to have a conversation with a teen about the real story of Christmas. So I was hanging out with a group of about 8 preteens. So I asked them if they knew the first Christmas story. None of them had. The feeling was like catching an edge on a wake board, and breaking your fall with your face on the water and getting your sinuses cleared out really quickly. These kids had never even heard the Christmas story! I thought everyone knew that story, even if they didn’t believe it or know the significance of it! One girl thought she knew it and proceeded to tell me this really twisted story of the wise men and Santa clause and the Easter bunny made a guest appearance. I was so shocked. So I grabbed my friend Hannah and we did a little mime, I told the story and she acted it out.
Later on that night I walking a girl home and she started to pour her heart out to me telling me about how she tried to commit suicide the month before. She was only 12. It had been her second attempt.
That night I drove home with my friend Hannah, she went inside the house, and I stayed outside. I was going to go sit on the grass under the stars and just think and pray about everything that happened that day. I only made it half way across the lawn when IT hit me. I collapsed to my knees and it started to pour with rain. I balled my eyes out rocking back and forth under the weight of it. All I could do was repeat "They don’t know" "They simply don’t know" over and over again. The awareness of the weight of their pain and loneliness laid heavy on me. You see I grew up a Christian. I have always known the hope of Jesus. I have always known life with him. I cant imagine going through life without him. It would be like walking around blind and terrified. I would have stayed collapsed in the rain, but God spoke to me. I got up from that wet grass that night believing something, and carrying a mission I only heard whispers of before, that there are dying people out there, and I have the answer of Life they need. That people were suffering when they didn’t have too. I have been telling everyone I can about Jesus since, because they simply don’t know. IT GOT TO ME AND IT HASN’T LET ME GO.

So what is it? I cant tell you, but I can tell you what it isnt!

What IT isn't
There was a Christian man debating with an atheist friend of his about the existence of God. When he asked his friend why he doesn’t believe God is real his friend answered with this,
"The reason I don't believe in God is because the Christians don't believe in God." The man was shocked at this, "What makes you say that?" The atheist friend replied "How do I know? If I was convinced that there was a hell, I would crawl on my hands and knees on broken shards of glass the length and breadth of England just to prevent one soul from going there. Either the Christians don't actually believe, or they have hearts of stone." This man has obviously been around Christians who didn’t get it, because he didn’t feel like the Christians he knew cared if he went to hell or not. He obseved that the christians aroudn him were not trying to tell him about their hope and life they had found, so it must not exist. If thses people truly believed they would share. To not share would mean that they all had hearts of stone. Little stony hearts like the Grinch.

There is a part in the movie the Grinch with Jim Carey when he is going over his list of things to do, on that list right before 5:30 jazzersize and right after 4;30 "staring into the abyss session" is 4:00"Find the answer to world hunger, tell no one." Surely only someone as awful as the Grinch could be that selfish.
I know that as Christians we are guilty of just that. We have the answer to the world's pain and suffering, and we aren't sharing it! You know how disgusting that is? It would be like having the cure for AIDS or swine flu but keeping it for only yourself. If someone found out you could be put in jail, you would be outcast from society and would go down in history as a villain! WE THE SECRET TO LIFE THAT WE MUST NOT KEEP TO OURSELVES!


Your passion alone will show people there is a God.
You see because though going to heaven is a great thing, that's not all of it! What Jesus offers every living soul today is LIFE! True life! A relationship with him! He bled so that we don’t have too! What if all the cutters in your school knew that!? Don’t you think they would be grateful to know that they don’t have to be in pain anymore? Jesus offers healing,

A girl I know in Langley, she's bisexual and doesn’t believe in God. She was injured one day and the xray said she had a cracked vertebra. Very bad. We told her about Jesus and how he has the power to heal. We prayed for her. She got x rayed again the next day and the doctors were baffled because the fracture was completely gone! Now she believes there is a god and is seeking out more about him.

Our God is good! Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God for Salvation for all who believe!
What IT does
IT compels you to share the good news of Jesus with everyone, and IT makes you bold. I have a few stories to share with you about telling people about the hope of Jesus. One guy, we will call him Jack. Last October jack went to Tim Horton's for his last coffee, planning to kill himself that night. 6 months later he committed his life to Jesus in that exact same Tim Horton's. we've known each other for a few years now, and we have told him about Jesus many times. He is very wary and cautious of religion. This day however he decided that after watching us and our lives and how much we love Jesus, that he wanted in. So I simply introduced him to Jesus. The two of them talked, Jesus showed him how much He loved him and what he had done to sacrifice for him. After this conversation between the two of them, Jack looked up at me with tears pouring down his face and the first thing he said was "Jesus is so much better then you guys described him."

When you take it to your school, you will see miracles happening! People who didn’t have hope find it. Once you see that happen, you will guaranteed become addicted to it! I've seen castle ruins in Scotland, I've watched the waves in Greece, I've watched the sunset in Croatia, I've seen the ice burgs in Alaska, but this, this is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen before.

Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, because it is the power of God for Salvation for all who believe! Jew and gentile! " I have told people about Jesus a lot and prayed with people many times, and I can tell you this, Jesus always shows up! He always shows himself to people even better then you could ever describe to them! So be confident in the one you represent! Because people are suffering needlessly.

So do you want IT?
Then ask for it! Then go and do IT!
Read your bible like you believe it! Then live like you believe it! Don’t let fear hold you back! Remember that they simply don’t know! Gaze into the face of Jesus and be transformed from the inside out! Ask and you shall receive! Strive to become more like Jesus. Your life will get flipped upside down. You will be shaken, rattled up and poured over! It will be a rollercoaster ride, but God is your anchor. You will know life like how it is meant to be lived! You will have to put down your own ambitions. Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words. Stop using that as an excuse to hide behind! I am here to say IT IS NECESSARY! But you had better be living a life that backs up what you say.
I have a special note to those of you who say you are Christians and stick up for God in a debate in Biology class, but go out and gossip and party and don’t live like Jesus has called you to live… please stop telling people you are a Christian! I am tired of apologizing for your hypocrisy! You are giving the rest of us a bad name. Go and deal with your own issues.

There is a world out there that is crying out for love, go out and show them what love is and who it comes from and how to get it!
Romans 10:14 "But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent?"
Consider this your sending out!
I charge you: Go out and preach that the lost will be found! That the sick may be well! That the hopeless will find hope!

Send out/ prayer for schools:
Let me pray for you
My God seize you with a holy passion drenched in a righteous desperation for the lost.
May compassion from the heart of Jesus take your own heart over completely.
My your eyes reflect the grace in the eyes of the Father.
May you cry alongside of the Holy Spirit, and laugh heartily with Him as well.
May the Spirit guide your every word and thought, that you may give out grace quickly and take offence slowly.
May you completely surrender your pride, and may hypocrisy be flushed out as you come near the thoughts and heart of Jesus.
May Jesus show you his heart, and may that break your own.
May repentance be a lifestyle for you.
May you be a good reflection of Jesus.

May your eternity be blessed with more brothers and sisters.

I told you stories about the power of prayer about the healing of the girl. I believe in the power of prayer more now then ever before! We are taking some time for you to get it and start sharing it! We are going to break up into groups. Around the walls there are signs for the different schools in langley. There is one for the home schooled kids too. Once you get to your sign get in a circle, everybody share their name and their grade, and then start praying. Pray for the lost in your school. Pray from strength for your fellow students. Pray that your lights would shine brightly in your schools that people will find the hope of Jesus!

Monday, September 14, 2009


a text message conversation I had with a teen today

teen "what's up?"

me "I'm just writing thank you notes."

teen "So that's good...?"

me "Its good to know that there are people out there who believe in what i do enough to support it."

teen "That's happy you have supporters cause you make a big difference in peoples lives."

me "can i quote you on that?"

teen "yes."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

on broken shards of glass

Meet your keynote speaker for "Langley Together". hip-hip-horray...ya cuz nothing thrills me more then getting up in front of a bunch of strangers and trying for an hour not to stick my foot too far in my mouth. I was contacted by a youth pastor who asked me to speak at this event. Its purpose is to inspire the christian youth in Langley to go into their schools and share their faith with their unsaved friends.

the only problem is the fact that I do have allot to say about this subject and am quite passionate about it.... so i had to say yes.

when i was about 13 I heard this quote and it has stuck with me ever since:
"The reason I dont believe in God is because the Christians dont believe in God. How do I know? If I was convinced that there was a hell, I would crawl on my hands and knees on broken shards of glass the length and breadth of England just to prevent one soul from going there. Either the Christians dont actually believe, or they have hearts of stone."

Talk about conviction! So I will be speaking on this subject. I will challenge the teens to examine their lives and ask themselves "If I really believe, then what should I be doing?" I will end the sermon with this send off prayer,

May God seize you with a holy passion drenched in righteous desperation for the lost.
May compassion from the heart of Jesus take over your own heart completely.
May your eyes reflect the grace in the eyes of the Father.
may you cry alongside the Holy Spirit, and laugh with him as well.
May you completely surrender your pride and may all hypocrisy be flushed out as you draw near to the heart and thoughts of Jesus.
may Jesus Show you his heart, and may it break your own.
may repentance be a lifestyle for you.
May you be a good reflection of Jesus.

may your eternity be blessed with many more brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I have everything I need

I found this photo on a website called Deviant Art. it's called "I have everything I Need." this struck me and so I wanted to share it with you. Let it serve you as a reminder to be content and to be childlike.


At Carmen's Questions last night we asked the question why? It was very frustrating, let me show you. We started with a basic question and asked why until we didnt have an answer and got to the "bottom" of that question.
why do you smile?
because i'm happy

because life is good
because i have people i love and who love me

why? .... and so on.

here are the bottom questions we were left with at the end of the night:

why does Jesus love me?

why did God create us?

why were we not made perfect and all knowing like God?

why is God the way he is?

why does God have a purpose for me?

why do people have to have power levels?

why do we have souls?

why do most people find it hard to love?

These are the basic, bottom, foundational questions that are deep inside the hearts and minds of these teens. It was really fun to see how their minds work as they answered questions way differently then I would have. We ended the night talking about the last bottom question that was brought up. "why do most people find it hard to love?"
They came to the conclusion that it is harder to love if you are not being loved, and easier if you are.
talk about a motivation for me once again to do the work that I do! My job is to love these teens, so that they may find the joy in loving others as well. Ultimately to love the one who loved them first, their creator.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fund raising Blows

Fund raising... chills run up and down my spine at the words.

I hate, no wait, I loath asking people to support my work financially. maybe its because I'm old school and still believe that you should work all day to make a product, or to provide a service for people who will pay you for it. My job doesn't work like that.

They call it non-profit. I call it horrible.

I provide a service to those who wont and shouldn't pay for it. So I work with teenagers who need me for free. There is only one problem with this situation.... my powerful need to eat.
So I go to those who I believe may share my heart and passion for these teenagers, and I ask them to join our team and support me financially so I can still do this work, and eat.

And by ask I mean, tell them about my need and then wait for them to offer.

I'm a sucky fund raiser.

So here I am, having been at this job for a year and am only working for YFC for 2 days a week.
I could fundraise for my co-workers who do that same job as me without a problem. Its because I'm asking for my own salary that I become a coward and skirt around "the big ask".
this is so dumb! I know God has called me to do this work, and I know that he has therefor called others to support me.
God help me with my unbelief!

grumble grumble grumble....

So if you are praying for me, please pray for the courage and boldness and faith to ask people to support this work I believe in so much. then pray for me to meet those people. If you are one of those people that God has called to be apart of helping these kids then... let me know!

Monday, August 24, 2009

me, pictures included

so i realized that my blog is well... sad. I tell all the stories i need prayer for, so its quite depressing to read! so to lighten it up a bit i will tell you a bit about my life now as a newly wed!

we put up book shelves and now our living room looks awesome!

I've spent the past few days pouring over our wedding photos, they are so amazing!

yesterday we helped our friend move into his new apartment! I was a complete moron and decided that it was a good idea to do an hour and a half work out on my legs and back before hand. I was jello, and today am very sore. my bad.

I am addicted to rempel's meats farmer's sausage.

My favorite part of everyday is praying with Corey every night.

today i was going through and reading all our wedding cards and found a check hidden in there!

Our honeymoon was awesome, we went on a kayaking trip, zip line adventure, swam with turtles! so many memories!

I am looking forward to the routine of the school year again, this summer has held many amazing memories, but its all been a little...much. I need a school year to help me unwind from this summer! lol

Thursday, August 20, 2009

well God...ok

for those of you who have been praying about the "red ink" girl, here's the update. Last night we talked, we hugged, its all going to be ok. She did say one thing to me that sent chills up and down my spine.
"I need an adult to talk to. I cant talk to anyone else but my friends. I need someone like you in my life."

chills. So she's talking to me again, way more then a dared let myself hope for.

thanks for praying

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

i'm really surprised to see you

She came. To monday night bible study. Interesting seeing as the last thing she yelled into the phone at me was "Im never coming to youth again".
I didnt know what to do.

So we dipped the bread sticks, i had brought, into the balsamic vinager and oil, and we ate.

Her body language was hostile. She never looked in my direction. So I simply went on with my bible study. We passed the random question ball around for a while, then we watched a video clip that showed a young boy throwing himself infront of a bullet for someone who didnt deserve it. Then they answered my questions about sacrifice. "When was the last time you sacrificed for someone?" "When did someone sacrifice something for you?" blah, de blah. It was going well. She never spoke to me, but she did answer the questions on her turn. By the end her body language had changed to more relaxed and less hate-filled.
Then I started in with my talk, I spoke about how I had spent the past day praying and fasting for them because last week was a killer week and I felt like I had nothing to give them tonight.

The girl hid a tear she didnt want me to see.

"The reason why we are eating bread today instead of popcorn is because this bread is a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice that was made for you." I then told the gospel story. The Good News. The Reason why we are so excited about knowing Jesus. There were two people there who had never heard it before.

So for those of you who are praying for this situation, there's your update. I'm sure things will be fine. My attitude: She can hate me, but God please dont let this act as another block between her discovering you.

I cant thank you enough for your prayers. God is good and at work. Blessed be his name.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I hate being the bad guy

I have never been more fully aware of my own shortcomings. I can not save these teens. I can not even really help them all that much. God is the only one who can comfort them.

Right now I sit at my computer with red swollen eyes, and vent as I wait. I am waiting for a phone call from the Adolecent Crisis Responce Center. They are calling me back about a report I am making about an attempted suicide. Here's the story:

One of my teenagers told me about her suicide attempt (see Red Ink) and legally I HAVE to report it. Failure to do so would end my job and possibly put me in jail. I knew it would be better for her to tell her parents herself, rather then have a gouvernment person knock on their door and find out that way. So I called her. I knew it was going to be tough, but I never guessed it would rip me apart so much. She cried and screamed and begged me not to. It felt like my heart was having lemon juice being poured into open gashes. I let her hang up on me.
I called the office.
I called my superiours.
I called my prayer supporters.
I prayed.

This is the second time this week I have felt like the bad guy.

The other time was on monday. I was at Starbucks with a girl and my supervisor. Her life is crap right now. I wont go into details, but this girl has got reason to be very angry and upset. But she is "fine". That's all we could get out of her, was that she was just fine.
In the words of the sharks from Finding Nemo "DE-NIAL!" So the two of us youth workers pressed her. Telling her that she isnt fine, and that life is crap and she has to have feelings. But she is numb, not caring. Its a wall. Its a mask.
"Who are you trying to fool?" I asked.
It was about two minutes later that she stood up, and walked out the door. She walked home in the pouring rain, alone. She didnt want to hear anymore. The two of us stayed there and prayed, and secretly hoped she would come back. We were there for another hour before we got up and left.

I hate feeling like the bad guy.

6 hours later I got this text message " its ____. im sorry."

I hope that one day i would get a message from this other girl i am currently the bad guy too saying something like that. But from her perspective right now, I have ruined her entire life. That sucks whe you are trying to represent Christ to someone who doesnt know him.

I am going to spend the rest of my day waiting for this phone call and praying. Please pray with me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Red Ink

27 tylanol and 12 advil and a very badly cut up body from a razor blade to her leg. "I just got sick." she told me, watching for my reaction.

So this is what she was debating whether or not she was going to tell me.

All of this hurt and pain, all for what? Because she and her friend are in a fight. How sad. I scrounged around in the church youth room where we were sitting eating together, and eventually found what I was looking for. "This will work." I said as I handed her a small journal. "What's this for?" "homework." was my response. "My reaction for you is to give you homework." We had finished our Wendy's meals while she told me the why's and when's of her story. With only our drinks left it was my turn to talk.

"This is your new journal. It has a purpose to it. And this, is your new red pen. When you hurt, you cut yourself and bleed red. That red blood shows you your pain and hurt and frustration. Now I am giving you red ink. Ink to replace the blood. Everytime you want to cut yourself, you pour out your hurt and pain in red ink in this journal instead. There is more. In the back of this journal I want you to write at least five eternal, totally stable truths. These are unwavering things that are true no matter what, and are the reasons why you should live. One example is this :You are loved. Here is another: There is a very exciting purpose for your life that you will want to see. Those reasons. When you feel like there is no reason to go through this pain, you read those truths, and remember."

She cried, we talked some more, we hugged, we finished our drinks.

And so life goes on.

Unanswered Questions

On monday nights I have a little disscusion group that meets over hot popcorn in my church's loft. I asked the question "Where is Jesus in your life right now?" I got many answers, here are the two that stuck with me.

"God walked away and is letting me do it on my own because he has the confidance that I can do it on my own." I said "Sounds lonely." He just nodded his head in sad agreement.
"Its like a stalker who has been given a restraining order. Everytime I look around he is exactly 100 yards away watching me, wanting to come closer."

The other question I asked was "What's one thing you want to do before you die." One girl broke my heart by saying "To forget someone and just realize that they aren't coming back. To heal."

Lonelyness is one of the most common things I encounter in the hearts of the teens I work with. It breaks my heart because I know that Jesus is so lonely too. He loves these kids so much and is longing to be with them, to answer their questions, to heal them, to love them.

Please pray that they find him, the answer to all their questions.

Friday, July 31, 2009

no way to fix you

This is the best way I have to describe the past few days. My hands are tied behind my back. The most frustrating part of this job is that I have little to no power to change the imediate situation of the teens I work with. To see a teen crying and to not have anyway to make them better, to "fix" them is exhausting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Day In the Life

I sat in my car in a girl's driveway staring at my phone faced with an impossible decision. Do I let the girl in my car and take her to lunch to talk about her friend who tried to kill himself yesterday, or do i yell out "Another time!" and rush to see my friend who just told me that one of her good friends just got killed by a 15 year old boy who stole a car and hit him while he was jogging? Both of these friends are numb in grief. Which one do I go help? As I sat there contemplating this, while the shock of the new news was sinking in, I received a message from my Dad, letting me know that my Grandpa had been taken to the hospital.

I hate Mondays.

here was my day yesterday:
8:30- get up and go to the church office, work on administration stuff
11:30- go to pick up teenager (K) who is falling apart at the seems because her friend tried to kill himself
12:05- get phone call from friend (S) saying her good friend was killed
12:06- cancel plans for this afternoon to go out for coffee with teen girls (A &K), so i can go and see S, take K to lunch
1:19- Dad phones and tells me grandpa is going to the hospital
2- take K back home
2:30- meet S at Tim hortons with an ice cap and a hug.
3- get a call from Dad saying Grandpa is going to be ok
4- go pick up teen girl (L) and make dinner together
7- drop off L, go to church for Youth Bible Study "Carmen's Questions"
9- go home
930- make cookies with husband
10- eat cookies and debrief a very very long day
11- lay in bed and stress about fundraising

For those of you who dont know the only way i can do this work is by the generosity of the body of Christ. Everything i do is by the donations of my supporters. I have posted a link on this blog for those of you who would like to donate. The plan for this summer was to spend 100% of my time fundraising, but its almost August and I havnt done anything yet simply because I am too busy doing the work. I dont have time to ask people to support me. So if you are reading this and feel your heart strings being pulled, please follow that leading.

Monday, July 27, 2009

text messages

this is the text message conversation i had last night, please pray hard

10:57 pm "Can you talk? Its important."
10:57 "Hey hon! Sorry i didnt get ur message till now. I was on the island, whats up?"
11:58 " My best friend tried to kill himslef"
10:58 "oh"
11:59 "What does oh mean?"
11:59 "It means there is nothing I can say to a thing like that. HOw are you handeling this?"
12:01 am "Not well. Im numb. im having a mental breakdown without the tears. im giving up on even trying anymore"
12:03 "Are you talking to Jesus?"
12:06 "I'm talking to Derian. Hello there tears."
12:08 "Oh i lov eyou. I am here with corey preaying fervantly for you. Jesus has a river of soothing calming peace i am asking him to put you in."
12:11 "I give up. i'm just done trying. im at rock bottom. i dont even care anymore. stupid life."
12:09 "I hope you dont mind me praying for you."
12:13 "Not at all."
12:14 "Good cuz i am here to fight for you, to try for you. whe you are a rock sunk to the bottom of the sea, i will swim up to the surface for you. In mark chapter 2 there is a story of a man who is paralized and his friends bring him to jesus cuz he couldnt get there alone."
12:15 "Thanks."
12:31: "Ill call you in the morning and we can go for lunch."

i am about to walk out the door for this lunch... please pray

Friday, July 24, 2009

My Prayer Letter

Carmen and Corey here! Yes we are back from our honeymoon and have hit the ground running!

We came back from our little paradise, having swam with turtles, gone parasailing, surfing and kayaking lazily down a river, and were not in the mindset to expect what we saw when we got home. We were totally unaware of the fact that the world had fallen apart while we were away. We have had many kids meet Jesus over the past 8 months, and each one of their lives has taken a downward spiral (alcoholic parents, divorces, and terminal illnesses.) in the span of two weeks. So we called an emergency prayer meeting. We had no idea how this would turn out, because most of the kids were no longer on speaking terms with the King of Kings. The people who walked by our little circle would have had no idea it was a prayer meeting. It looked like an eerily quiet group of people sitting in a circle with a bunch of random objects in the middle. Everyone took turns throwing in the middle an object. A dirty broken shoe, to represent the need for a new life, because this one was too messy; a water bottle, throw in frustration with all the garbage in her life that she didn’t want anymore. These are very broken kids. I ask for your prayers.

That night I stood outside in the cold for an hour. (I counted 22 mosquito bites afterwards.) Talking with a parent of one of the teenaged girls I work with. This mom was crying as she told me about how she is divorcing her husband and taking all the kids but this one girl I know, and they are moving to Alberta. She stood there, in her pajamas as she begged me to take care of her baby when she left. “The only reason why I even considered leaving her here with her Dad is because I know that you are here, and I can trust you to take care of her.” Wow, no pressure.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Blood Stained Clothe

The blood stained piece of red clothe fell to the tailed Starbucks floor when i moved his bible from my chair. "What's that?" I asked as he hid it away quickly. "Um...that's what I wanted to talk to you about."
We filled the next hour with talk about life and the pains and joys it holds. He revealed to me the scars on his arms from the self inflicted cuts. Some he remembered what they were for, and some he did not.
I walked out of that Starbucks with the piece of clothe that was still holding inside of it the razor blade that had cut his flesh many times, and the dried blood, the memories of the pain. He doesn't want to cut anymore. He knows there is a better way.
On the way home I was crying out to God for him and God gave me an image in my head. This boy was in Starbucks, swirling that red clothe in a little white container filled with stinky bleach. The bleach turned the clothe and the blood white.
"One day you will give him that object of pain back to him, as a trophy."

Please pray for the long jouney ahead for this 16 year old, and for me for wisdom.