First week of outreach is complete and gearing up, again, for days at a childcare center. They do tutoring, after-school snacks, mentoring, arts & crafts, more snacks, a Christmas party this week, and empathy when a child hurts their toe while playing – oh – and don’t forget ping-pong aggressively played by 14-year old boys. The girls won’t even come near that table but I did connect because I am a pretty good player. Ping-pong is not a gift of the spirit but knowing when to enter in and when not to is. “Being with” seems to be something we can all do no matter where we are. On Monday a mother’s group came in the morning with babies and toddlers. Playing is easy. Connecting with young moms is easy because they are the most tired people in the world! This was an “English-speaking” gathering so I could hear a bit about whatever they wanted to share about mothering or their birth country. There are many massage parlors and tattoo parlors in this area of town. It must be hard to be some of the poorest in one of the wealthiest places in the world. Next came a pasta lunch for the neighbors? but not really sure how that fits into this wonderful ministry. Tuesday there were fewer children so I sharpened pencils. It was frustrating because I wanted to do something and that something was whatever those leaders needed. The week was uphill from there including some prayer walking. Lot’s of graffiti on ancient and newer buildings. This area is attractive to immigrants and I have already shared some of the stats but the people are beautiful. No names but have met a young family from Iceland, two sisters from a Baltic region, lots of ping-pong players from West Africa, french, portuguese, the orient, Ukraine of course, all families like you making a life for their children. Not speaking German is a struggle since that is the language these children are learning. I’m disappointed in my lack of skill. God grant me more of that ability to communicate. In the meanwhile there is smiling, acts of kindness, pencils to sharpen, oh and pray for the young lady who needed help in algebra which I am pretty good at but the story problem was in German so I was not much help! We have created a Christmas choir and should have a chance to make a “joyful noise unto the Lord” this week. Pray because I am trying to lead that choir!