Monday, September 14, 2009

Rise & Shine

Andy's been writing songs for a new record (which should be out in about 6 months) and he introduced one to our church yesterday: Rise & Shine. Each fall, our church goes through a Vision Series to get everybody on the same page about our call to live on mission in the CITY & for the NATIONS. This Sunday, Matt kicked off the vision series with a challenge to us from Acts 1:8. He asked: What did a 1st century Christian look like? And do we, today, look anything like that? It was convicting and powerful.

Andy thought the message was a good fit to roll out the new song because the idea of it is-- it's time for us Christians to step up and be the hands and feet of Christ. To download a free copy of the song, click here. I am so proud of Andy. This song really resonates with my spirit and where God has me lately. But I also believe it will speak to a whole generation of Christians out there who are feeling the itch to rise & shine! I also recommend you listen to Matt's sermon: Powerful Witness of the Resurrection (click here)-- you will be stirred.

Here's the lyrics to the new song too...

Rise & Shine (by Andy Melvin)
We were once Your enemy

Now displayers of Your mercy

Called from darkness into light

To be the very hands and feet of Christ

So in the Name that saves

Let Your love ignite a flame in us

We've got rise and shine

We've got to rise and shine

The light of the world alive in us

The hope of the world alive in us

We've got to rise and shine

To you repairers of the breach

To you restorers of these broken streets

For every hungry tongue

For all injustice done beneath the sun

We've got to rise and shine

The light of the world alive in us

The hope of the world alive in us

We've got to rise and shine

For the hopeless and the weary

For the broken and the needy

For Your glory, send Your Spirit

And let it rise

Saturday, September 5, 2009

VOLUNTEERS Needed for Refugees in Austin

I met with the director of the Refugee ESL School Program this week and she shared a very dire need for volunteers. The city-wide grant for all Refugee ESL classes is managed by AAIM (Austin Area Interreligious Ministry). They offer FREE ESL classes to all incoming refugees. And in order for a refugee to receive government assistance in the first 4 months they are here, they must be registered for the ESL classes.

In recent months, due to the economy, Texas has been receiving an abnormally high number of incoming refugees (b/c Texas isn't suffering as poorly as other states in terms of jobs). Which has led to a flooding in the classrooms where these refugees are trying to learn English. The classes are overflowing with students and the paid ESL teachers and the childcare staff are in need of some help.

AAIM is looking for VOLUNTEERS for the following:
** classroom teacher aides for 4 different ESL classes
----- 3 classes offered M, Tu, W, Th from 9a-12p at a church downtown
----- 1 class offered Tu, F 6:30-8:30pm at YMCA Lamar/Rundberg
----- you can volunteer to serve in any of the classtimes, just once a week (or every other week)
** childcare helpers for the refugee families (pre-school)
----- they would like to have 2-3 childcare workers for each daytime class, and 1-2 workers for the PM class times
----- childcare workers can have (and bring) 1-2 children of their own if needed.

I currently volunteer as a teacher's aide and have to say it is EASY! The teacher is totally responsible for the classroom... my job is to help her with demonstrations and build relationships with/encourage the students. I also served with the kids this past summer and they are so easy & precious.

Guys-- this is super easy way to serve the international refugee community that is now flooding into Austin, Texas. If you have ever wanted to increase your exposure to the nations (without ever getting on an airplane), this is the perfect way to do it. I have built such sweet relationships with people from Iraq, Burma, Afghanistan, Sudan, Burundi, Congo, Nepal, Thailand, Cuba, etc. I don't speak their languages, but they are trying to learn mine.

PLEASE HELP! If you want to get involved (and you can seriously make it a short commitment if you need to)... email LU at luz @ !! Get your friends to do it with you... 14-20 volunteers needed!

Same Me

Yesterday, Andy & I were looking through my childhood photo album. When he flipped the page to see this picture, he said: "Oh, I know that face!" I laughed, not sure if that was a good thing or bad thing. I can't decide what this face means.

But what I kept thinking on as the day went by was how amazing it is that I have a "look" that has been a part of my personality & person since I was that little. This picture was taken in 1979. I was three at the time. And I was expressing myself in a way that is still congruent with who I am today, 30 years later. How fascinating!