On Monday evening we celebrated ACTS! A local ministry led by Jaime Blom who opens her home to kids of the Westcore neighborhood for meals, art, and a giant doses of love. This is the beautiful artwork they brought along to share.
We read the story The Dot about how we all have something beautiful to offer.
The kids made watercolor hearts to remember to love each other.
They also completed a collaborative art project by making a home. The homes were put all together by my friend Janyre. Then we gave the project to ACTS so they can remember it takes a village of love and that we care about them.
Next up: This coming Monday, June 27 at Kollen Park from 6:30-7:30. We will supporting Hope Pkgs which provides first night bags to kids in foster care. We hope to see you there!
As of June 14 another school year will be completed! A bittersweet moment for me, as I most likely will be doing a new work in the fall. It was my great privilege to be a small part in the lives of some incredibly special students with special needs. They have my heart- forever. You could pray for me in the coming weeks that I feel God’s peace and clarity moving forward.
We got a long-awaited puppy! Meet Ginny Weasley Van Engen, a German short-haired pointer. She is sweet, puppyish and has lots of energy. The kids have been waiting their whole life for her!
I finally get to share a project I was blessed to be a contributing writer for called Changed for Life. Changed for Life is a free, downloadable online resource from the CRC and RCA that equips short-term mission teams, the hosts who receive them, and the congregations who send them, to craft a well-organized mission experience with the potential to catalyze lifelong change.
The curriculum features the work of established voices in cultural intelligence and missions Kurt Ver Beek, Jo Ann Van Engen, and David Livermore. Read more about the why behind the curriculum from Pastor Shannon Jammal Hollemans called Missions Tourism. I loved being a part of this project, because it is challenges us to think about seeing how God is already at work where we serve and joining God in that work alongside one another.
Summer also means Talk Justice Playgroups! If you are in the Holland area, I so hope to see you there! Sign up for updates at our Facebook Event Page or send me an email! Our first date is Monday evening June 20! Meet up at Kollen Park from 6:30- 7:30.
We will support ACTS, a local ministry led by Jamie Blom that reaches out to neighborhood kids through meals, art, and an open door. Listen to a story about creativity, play at stations, make newspaper watercolor hearts, and contribute to the collaborative art project it takes a village.
Let’s encourage the Blom’s and their ministry by bringing needed donations like Meijer gift cards for meals, gas cards for field trips, art supplies, or even toilet paper.
Our dear Amy L. Sullivan has released the second book in her Gutsy Girls Series (Gladys Aylward: Book 1). This addition is a beautiful, moving, and winsome look at the sister duo of Corrie and Betsie ten Boom. I love everything about giving our girls role models that are worthy examples of making a difference! Want more book suggestions- join Amy’s summer book club looking at more books for girls and talking to their authors.
What does the summer hold for you family? I can’t wait to keep doing justice together!
This is a Facebook Group where great conversation will take place and lots of ideas will be shared about serving with our kids. About Proximity is sharing Talk Justice Play Groups.
We’d love to have you join in. Click here and request to be a part of the group.
I love that summer changes speed, and the space it makes for friends and family.
I love the bike riding, beach hanging, ice cream, and the kids Nerf squirt gun fights.
(The only thing I don’t love is our neighborhoods love affair with fireworks. All DAY and ALL NIGHT, yet only legal the day before, of, and after the ten federal holidays.)
I love being able to sit at my desk in my office/guest bedroom/kids creation zone and write. I will be working on two big projects this summer. They have been wake up at 4:00 a.m. freak-out projects, but I know that God is bigger then my fears.
Finishing up Changed for Life, a curriculum about entering into short-term missions as a long-term partnership, with respect and humility for the work already occurring in the host community. (I’ve been a co-writer on this project for some time, and I am so excited to see it moving to completion.)
88 Playgroups that Make a Difference: Helping Children Engage Justice Issues that Really Matter. You can pray with me that this project might become more than a document on my laptop.
Also, I should clean my house.
Mostly, I share these things because I want to know what you are doing this summer! What are your plans, fun activities, the ways you are going to slow down, projects? What you are most excited about?
Bringing donations is completely optional! Even if you are unable to participate in the donation part of the service project, still come out to the play group! We’ll learn together and have fun. We want everyone to feel welcome. Click on the printable PDFs to see what we are gathering for each week.
A few ideas:
When shopping for donations for Holland Rescue Mission and Community Action House involve your kids. It’s a great opportunity to talk to them about needs families might have and what items can be a support and encouragement.
When bringing $1.00 donation for Shot@Life, World Vision, and World Renew encourage your kids to earn the money by doing a small job around the house, helping will feel even more meaningful to them.
Want to learn more about the organizations we are supporting?
The topic of human trafficking can be a difficult one to breach with children. You definitely want to be sensitive to age and personalities. This topic is actually where this series originated. My friend and writer Amy Sullivan had an experience when this topic was brought up in a classroom. Not everyone was as open to their students knowing about the realities around them.
Amy and I were talking about how we believe we do no favors to our children if they do not understand injustice. In opening up dialogue we develop empathy, compassion, and the ability to make a difference.
Increasing their awareness also makes them safer. A sad truth is that child labor and sex trafficking don’t just happen across the ocean. It is happening in our own communities. Take a look at this United States map from Polaris Project showing locations where human trafficking has been reported. According to Exodus Road 3 out of 4 victims are trafficked on-line.
Start small and work your way to all the truths we encounter as your children’s age progresses. You can begin teaching young kids about the history of slavery, human rights and child labor.
Human Trafficking Discussion Starters:
Help your family go deeper:
What are some root causes of human trafficking?
poverty- parents needing to pay off debts, not being able to afford to care for children
gender inequality where women are not as valued
racial discrimination, caste system where some lives are not as important as others
government or political corruption where the laws do not protect
undocumented immigration status
demand for cheap goods and labor
Where is there more vulnerability?
drug and alcohol addiction
homelessness, runaways, abuse
women and girls
those affected by poverty
How do our choices of what we buy affect the demand for child labor?
What organizations could we support that focus on human trafficking?
What do we need to do as a family to be safe on the internet?
#TalkJustice Summer Serve Play Groups! Come over to our Facebook Event Page to learn more. Invite friends! We will be exploring topics and making a difference in community, using a series of books donated to us from CitizenKid. Hosted by About Proximity (that’s me) and my Mom, a public school family advocate for two decades.