3.18.2009

Philly Blog Day 4-5-6

Day 4: We had our first day of football camp at the park. We had around 30 kids show up. It was an awesome first day. The kids were so glad to have a place to play and be kids. It was kind of a surreal feeling because we could see the kids running and playing and smiling, and not 100 feet away there were drug deals going on, and people shooting up. It was unbelievable. But when we were playing with the kids, it was like all the pain and sadness of the area disappeared. It was just a park and they were just kids, even if it was only for 2 hours.

My favorite memory of the first day was during a running back drill. The kids were running around with Antwan and Bama, and I see this little kid come running towards us. He was a 2 year old named Elias. He walked to the park with his 6 year old brother. His brother ran off to play, and little Elias was on his own. I gave him a ball and let him run around with it and throw it. He kept falling down, but he would get right back up and keep running. I had so many emotions while I played with Elias. First, I was saddened by the fact that his parent would let a 2 year old and a 6 year old just go off on their own in one of the roughest neighborhoods in Philadelphia. But I was also so glad that we had cleaned up the park, even if it was just for him. With the amount of syringes we found in the park, along with glass, and even knives that we found, he would have surely hurt himself or even became infected by one of the needles if he would have came to play just a day before. Giving Elias a place to play made the whole day worth it to me.

Day 5:
In the morning we went on a prayer walk down Kensington Ave. We walked around and talked to the homeless, the drug dealers, and the prostitutes around the area. We offered prayer, a helping hand, and an ear to listen to their stories. It was a very powerful time and I believe alot of people were positively affected. We invited everyone to a coffee house we are having a Wednesday night as well, and we hope for a big turnout

In the afternoon we returned to Needles Park for day 2 of our camp. Many more kids showed up today, majority of which were children that just walked in from the neighborhood. We had around 80 kids at the high point, and it was very interesting.

The kids seemed very rowdy today. We had to pray for extra patience with some kids. Many kids don't get the attention they crave at home, so when they are with us they act out to get our attention. One little guy, Nathaniel, enjoyed kicking me in the shins as hard as he could.

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But it was still a great day. My favorite memory of this day was at the end of the day. Scott and I were saying bye to the kids. One little guy, Terrell, ran up to us and asked if he could come home with us. We told him sorry he couldn't, but he could come back tomorrow and see us. As we were walking away he said "Today is my birthday." We came up to him and hugged him and told him Happy Birthday. He was turning 7. He then asked us if we had gotten him a present. I told him we all had something special for him. I gathered up the guys, and we put him on Travis' shoulders, and we sang him the EMAP birthday song. We jumped, and clapped and sang, and he just smiled so big. I wanted to cry, because I doubt anyone had every done anything for his birthday, or sang to him. Terrell's mini-birthday party made it getting kicked in the shins all day worth it, and I would do it again in a second.

Day 6:
This morning our task was to pray and seek what God wanted us to do that morning. Many guys felt that they should do different things. Several guys returned to the park to clean up, as it is a daily task to clean up the remains of the drug users. Others went to the streets to talk and pray with people again. I felt that God was calling me to make it known the things that were happening in our area to the city and even beyond. I contacted all the local media outlets, as well as The New York Times, ESPN, CNN, and many others. I really hope our story gets picked up, because I want to first and foremost make Christ's name known and show the incredible things he is doing in this area, as well as show some positive news coming from (what locals call) "The Badlands".

As always, continue to pray for our ministry, as well as energy as the days begin to get longer. I will write again as soon as possible.

-Jered

Greenville College Football © 2009 by Jered Schneider.

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