Friday, August 6, 2010

Hip Hop, Teens, and Changed Lives

I could only assume that last night was going to be a good one. Why? Only a few hours earlier I had been informed that a group of kids on a missions trip would be coming out with us...and I was tired, unmotivated, and lacking energy to "host". That typically means that God's going to do something great to display his glory in my weakness.

Arriving at the 7-11 parking lot (our new meeting spot because Del Taco has shut down), I saw a massive group standing around Antquan. "Oh my gosh...are you kidding me?" is what I believe I muttered under my breath. Having groups come out with us can actually be very refreshing and bring new energy to what we do...but over 30 teens and a few adults looking very out of place made me very uneasy. Relationships and trust take a long time to build on the street, and naiive one-time visitors can affect our witness and trust with one wrong word or evangelistic approach. And of course we never want to make people feel like they're being put on display to be rescued by the privileged white kids.

However, that naiivete can also be of great benefit...they will approach people in bold new ways, without prejudice or expectation and often form great bonds. This group had been trained earlier in the week, and practicing sharing their faith in two different contexts each day. They were excited and expecting God to do big things. 

When our Refuge service started, about 10 people had come to join us. The group was also helping to run the service this night...with music, a short drama and hip hop dancing. Again, I was apprehensive about the small amp set up for music, and the very large circle taking over the parking lot. So were the security guards who rolled up often, looking suspicious but not saying anything. 

But as usual, my concerns were no match for God's plans, and the hip hop circle went over well and drew in a few more people...causing me to think about a similar idea we'd had a while back and never put into action. Seeing it happen helped me see it might be time to start thinking about implementing that. An interpretive drama followed - a well-portrayed demonstration of Jesus taking our "chains" and setting us free. After some music and a bit more hanging out and pizza-eating, we all sat down on the curb while Antquan shared a short message, expanding on the drama.

Though he didn't specifically determine groups and ask people to split into them, the teenagers were on it. They formed their own groups quickly and began discussions about all that had just been seen and experienced. 

I'm not sure of what took place in each conversation, but I did see many long conversations, prayers, and excitement at the conclusion. As we find out these stories, we can continue on with these planted seeds and relationships even though the teens will be headed back to Dallas soon.

Please also pray for the Broken Hearts teams, as we are few in number right now and need more volunteers and leaders to carry on these relationships and bring our own new excitement to the mission.

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