Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fingernail Polish and a Point and Click Camera

A note from Uganda (I have pictures to add later!):

While visiting New Kabaale Busega, I saw a student sitting at a table with her composition notebook. Curiosity was sparked in the teacher in me, so I sat down beside her. She began showing me her work and very neat hand writing.  By this time 4 or 5 other girls joined us at the small bench table. I asked if I could take a picture of the girl and her notebook. She smiled and shook her head to indicate that I could.

After taking the picture, I saw back down with the girls and asked if anyone would like to have one fingernail painted since I had some colorful polish with me.  My 9 year old daughter enjoyed having me paint her nails, so I thought these 8, 9, and 10 year olds might too, after all kids are kids!

The pink and purple polish came out of the bag first. And one nail quickly became one hand and eventually both hands! The reason I said one nail in the beginning was because I was not sure how much longer we were staying, but I quickly realized that painting 10 fingernails is a task that can be done in a short amount of time.  By this time, the sparkly teal polish and the silver polish had also emerged from my small bag.

Some wanted all their nails the same color, while others opted for more variety.

When I first started painting nails, one of the little girls asked me if she could use my camera, a small point and click camera, to take a picture of me. I smiled and said yes. After taking one picture, she asked if she could take more. I laughed and nodded in agreement. As I was painting nails of the girls who were at the table originally and the others who came over, my camera was used to take all sorts of wonderful shots! Every once in a while, I would ask where my camera was and the children always knew. I was able to look at the pictures taken while on the bus leaving and was quite impressed to see the special moments captured from the point of view of a child.

After painting nails for those originally at the table, we stopped to take pictures of our fingernails all freshly painted! After that we took some group shots and I think the ones that were the most fun were when we were all shouting. One girl looked at me and asked to have her picture taken with just me. I happily obliged! Another girl wanted us to pose back to back for a picture.

One girl said she would miss me. I smiled and replied that since I now had pictures of her and her friends, I would remember them and our time together!

Making a connection with people, any age, is such an important process. That process does not have to be a complicated one. I was able to make a connection with these children and show them that they matter simply using fingernail polish and a point and click camera!

*Names are not an easy thing for me to remember, which is not a good quality for a teacher! I did ask each child her name. If I get this chance again, I will ask each one to write it down for me in my notebook to help me better remember.  But I do remember their faces, their smiles, their hugs, and the joy they caused for me! Plus I have lots of pictures too!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Spring Fling!!!!

Join us for our inaugural Project Re:3 Spring Fling! All proceeds from this event will go to our upcoming mission trip to Pine Ridge, SD.

Saturday, April 9th from 10am until 2pm
1474 Kerner Road, Kernersville, NC

- Local crafters, direct sale representatives, and baked goods for sale!
- Lots of children’s games, free face-painting and activities!
- Spring Mini Photo Sessions (by appointment only)! Sign-up for a 15 minute mini-session! You will receive 3 edited images sent to you via e-mail and all rights to photos from one of our photographers. $25.00 per session. Photos will be taken outside at a spring scene. Sign-ups are on a first come, first serve basis.
- Lunch! We will be serving Indian tacos, drinks, and baked goods!
To sign-up for a photo session or if you’re interested in being a vendor, contact Lauren Reel at or 336-409-0705 for more information!

You vs Your Circumstances

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

LENT 2016

Tomorrow, February 10th, will be Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the season of Lent. Join us for a special Re3 Lent Challenge to read the scriptures together over the next 47 days.

This year you are encouraged to read along daily with a Lent devotional entitled, "Lent for Everyone" by N.T. Wright.  For each day of Lent, there is a reading chosen from the Gospel of Matthew, plus a reflection by Wright.

If you were like me and raised in a church / denomination that never mentioned the words Ash Wednesday or Lent, then you're probably wondering what the heck is all this stuff about. I was first introduced to the concept of Ash Wednesday and Lent 19 years ago when I took a youth pastor's job at a United Methodist Church. For all the things the UMC gets wrong, this is one particular thing they get right. So what is Lent? I'm glad you asked...

Lent is forty days long because forty days is a traditional number of discipline, devotion, and preparation in the Bible. Moses stayed on the Mountain of God forty days (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28), the spies were in the land of Canna for forty days (Numbers 13:25), Elijah traveled forty days before he reached the cave where he had his vision (1 Kings 19:8), Nineveh was given forty days to repent (Jonah 3:4), and most importantly, prior to undertaking his ministry, Jesus spent forty days in wilderness praying and fasting (Matthew 4:2). Since Lent is a period of prayer and fasting, it is fitting for Christians to imitate their Lord with a forty day period. Christ used a forty day period of prayer and fasting to prepare for his ministry which culminated in his death and resurrection.

Ash Wednesday is the official start of the Season of Lent. A season for penance, reflection and fasting in order to prepare ourselves for Christ's Resurrection and for our Redemption. Ashes are a symbol of penance made sacramental by the blessing of the Church to help us develop a spirit of humility and sacrifice. The ashes are made from the previous years blessed palms from Palm Sunday.

Do not bother looking for Lent in your Bible dictionary. There was no such thing in biblical times. There is some evidence that early Christians fasted 40 hours between Good Friday and Easter, but the custom of spending 40 days in prayer and self-denial did not arise until later, when the initial rush of Christian adrenaline was over and believers had gotten very ho-hum about their faith.

When the world did not end as Jesus himself had said it would, his followers stopped expecting so much from God or from themselves. They hung a wooden cross on the wall and settled back into their more or less comfortable routines, remembering their once passionate devotion to God the way they remembered the other enthusiasms of their youth.

Little by little, Christians became devoted to their comforts instead: the soft couch, the flannel sheets, the leg of lamb roasted with rosemary. These things made them feel safe and cared for -- if not by God, then by themselves. They decided there was no contradiction between being comfortable and being Christian, and before long it was very hard to pick them out from the population at large. They no longer distinguished themselves by their bold love for one another. They did not get arrested for championing the poor. They blended in. They avoided extremes. They decided to be nice instead of holy, and God moaned out loud.

Hearing that, someone suggested it was time to call Christians back to their senses, and the Bible offered some clues about how to do that. Israel spent 40 years in the wilderness learning to trust the Lord. Elijah spent 40 days there before hearing the still, small voice of God on the same mountain where Moses spent 40 days listening to God give the law. There was also Luke’s story about Jesus’ own 40 days in the wilderness during which he was sorely tested by the devil. It was hard. It was awful. It was necessary, if only for the story. Those of us who believe it have proof that it is humanly possible to remain loyal to God.

So the early church announced a season of Lent, from the old English word lenten, meaning "spring" -- not only a reference to the season before Easter, but also an invitation to a springtime for the soul. Forty days to cleanse the system and open the eyes to what remains when all comfort is gone. Forty days to remember what it is like to live by the grace of God alone and not by what we can supply for ourselves.

I am convinced that 99 percent of us are addicted to something, whether it is eating, shopping, blaming or taking care of other people. The simplest definition of an addiction is anything we use to fill the empty place inside of us that belongs to God alone.

That hollowness we sometimes feel is not a sign of something gone wrong. It is the holy of holies inside of us, the uncluttered throne room of the Lord our God. Nothing on earth can fill it, but that does not stop us from trying. Whenever we start feeling too empty inside, we stick our pacifiers into our mouths and suck for all we are worth. They do not nourish us, but at least they plug the hole.

To enter the wilderness is to leave them behind, and nothing is too small to give up. Even a chocolate bar will do. For 40 days, simply pay attention to how often your mind travels in that direction. Ask yourself why it happens when it happens. What is going on when you start craving a Mars bar? Are you hungry? Well, what is wrong with being hungry? Are you lonely? What is so bad about being alone? Try sitting with the feeling instead of fixing it and see what you find out.

Chances are you will hear a voice in your head that keeps warning you what will happen if you give up your pacifier. "You’ll starve. You’ll go nuts. You won’t be you anymore." If that does not work, the voice will move to level two: "That’s not a pacifier. That’s a power tool. Can’t you tell the difference?" If you do not fall for that one, there is always level three: "If God really loves you, you can do whatever you want. Why waste your time on this dumb exercise?"

If you do not know whom that voice belongs to, read Luke’s story again. Then tell the devil to get lost and decide what you will do for Lent. Better yet, decide whose you will be. Worship the Lord your God and serve no one else. Expect great things, from God and from yourself. Believe that everything is possible. Why should any of us settle for less?

Join us this season of lent as we spend the next several weeks focused on a time of repentance, grace, and renewal.

Mike G.