Ceasing

For the past few years, I have regularly considered giving up blogging. Every three or four months or so, I would wake up, think about all the things going on in my life, and I would be 100% ready to stop blogging. And every time, that very same day, I would get an email, or a note, or a text thanking me for having written something that encouraged or motivated them.

And I would get back to my laptop and hack away at it.

Sometimes those encouragements would be from a close friend, and sometimes from someone I knew casually, and sometimes from a completely stranger. It never ceased to amaze me how God would use my ramblings to help someone else, and to give a voice to the voiceless and an image to the unseen.

But now I am sure that I need a break from blogging. Not just a week or a month, but for the rest of the year (or longer).

Read more about why I’ve made this decision…

Mentor, Like Uncle Ricky

Uncle Ricky

Rick Sierchio was never obligated to do anything for my brother and I. Yet he became our “Uncle Ricky,” and our lives were shaped by his love and guidance.

Uncle Ricky wasn’t my uncle in the strict sense. He was the brother of my mom’s high school friend. At some point during my young childhood, he made a choice to invest in my brother and I, merely out of a deep-set sense of love and justice.

Click here to learn more about this special guy…

Circles Initiative

Have you heard of the Circle Initiative? Here’s a snapshot:

I’m hankful for this initiative (which is going on all over the country, including right here in Greenville, SC). The mission and success of programs like this is why I firmly believe that relationships are the pathway to solving social issues.

Related Links:

Summer Camp for a Purpose

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Parents — are you sending your kids to camp this summer?

Whether it’s a week-long or summer-long experience, and whether it’s a day camp or a residential camp, I have something for you to think about . . .

Don’t let your kids’ camp experience be all about them.

And if you want to add another . . .

Don’t send your kids to camp alone.

Click here to keep reading…

Clubhouse Kids: A Piece of the Puzzle

Let’s be clear about Clubhouse Kids, the new after school program in the Greater Sullivan Neighborhood (downtown Greenville, SC).

  • We are not substitute parents. Each of these children have a family that loves them, and that is their primary relationship.
  • We do not offer intensive tutoring and remediation. With the number of volunteers (anywhere from 3-5 on a day) and students (up to 18), we cannot give individual attention to every children who needs help with reading and homework.
  • We are not a counseling service. Some of our students have emotional challenges. While we aim to show love for each child, we don’t have time (or the know-how) to talk in-depth with each student.
  • We are not a local church. While we teach the Bible, communicate the gospel, and pray, we are not a replacement for a community of believers.

We are not replacements for parents, educators, counselors, or churches. But we can be a piece of the puzzle. Home and school are the biggest pieces of these children’s lives, but we believe that we can come alongside those other institutions.

And that’s what we are hearing from our students, their families, and their schools. Here are just a few examples:

You don’t want to miss these…

First Fund: Accelerating Children to Higher Education

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I was working as an in-school tutor (when we lived in Allendale), assisting in math and reading remediation. One second grade boy had been having some significant behavior issues, and the teacher asked me to talk to him in the hallway.

Not wanting to dive right into his behavior problems, I asked him some “warm-up” questions, such as what he likes to do and his favorite foods. But I was shocked by his answer when I asked where he wants to go to college.

I would have understood if he said, “I don’t know.” But he did know. He had an exact answer to this question.

Click here to read exactly why he was sure…

The Bane (and Blessing) of Short-Term Missions

Following up with my post about Missionaries vs Mission-Trippers, I don’t want you to think that I am against short-term mission trips. I have been on 3 overseas mission trips, and they were each beneficial. But to preach the ills of short-term missions is common on the blogosphere.

I could point at folks like Darren Carlson, who explained Why You Should Consider Cancelling Your Short-Term Mission Trips. But I also fall into this camp of mission-trip naysayers, being wary of all forms of Toxic Charity and International Aid.

Carlson’s article was (in my opinion) mostly misunderstood and misinterpreted. However, others have been much harsher, and maybe for good reason.

Pippa Biddle (with a name like that, how could you not listen to her?) strongly suggests that if you don’t have the necessary skills to contribute well on a short-term trip, you should not go. And I agree with her, to an extent.

Click here to keep learn about my experiences on mission trips…