Boldness is Not Dead

I will go on record to say I probably have over 100 spiritually-enthused books all over my house. To say I love to read is an understatement and my mood pretty much determines which book I’m actually reading at any given time. So with that being said, I’ve gone from reading Bait of Satan to Have a New Kid by Friday all in one week so you know where I’m going with that.

About a year ago I was asked by a publicist who was preparing my bio what my favorite book was. Typically I give the corporate answer and reply “Gone With the Wind, of course!” but this day I boldly said “The Bible”…The publicist glanced at me in a somewhat state of shock and in return, I winked. Why I winked I have no idea but I did. Sometimes I can be awkward like that. Out of curiosity she asked me why I responded the way I did and to be honest, I was actually glad she did so. This was MY opportunity to represent right?!?! This was my opportunity to be bold in my faith and talk about the BIBLE to a publicist who may not know Christ; I mean, she could accept Jesus right here and there! What was my well-articulated, come to Jesus answer?

 Friends, my answer was, “Because it’s the BEST book EVER!”

Now don’t get me wrong, the Bible IS the best book ever but my answer clearly was not. Here’s what Paul reminded Timothy of in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we see wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.”

I mean come on, how awesome! This is the right answer! Paul was charging Timothy to always be ready! You see, I was all about the bold move with the publicist but I wasn’t prepared to execute the delivery. If you are anything like me, I am sure this happened to you before. But let us not get discouraged. Because while none of us will ever be perfect, we thankfully serve a perfect God who has given us the tools, and most importantly the words, to speak with others and to lead them to His truth.

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This post was guest-written by Nicole, a close friend to Angela. Nicole has a sincere appreciation of post-its and pens that write well (especially RSVP pens) and has over 100 books on her to-read list. In her free time she enjoys supporting all things husband and kids related, spending time with friends, binge-watching shows on Netflix, and stalking  Ayesha Curry on social media. Check out her personal blog at https://nikkisautograph.wordpress.com. 

Volunteer Spotlight- Ms. Lisa

We love our volunteers! Today we are honored to feature Ms. Lisa, who volunteers at the Las Vegas Center. She has been happily married to her husband Earl for 33 years and they have two grown sons and a daughter-in-law. Their oldest son Tyler, 26, lives in the San Jose area and Kaleb, 21, lives in Las Vegas with his wife Brianna.

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Why did you begin volunteering at the Las Vegas Center?

This is my second year volunteering with Club Christ and I started because my husband I were empty-nesters but I still wanted to nurture and  teach kids. I had homeschooled our boys and I really loved teaching. I had already been teaching with Good News Club for five years, so Club Christ felt like a good fit. I love the mix of tutoring kids AND teaching them about Jesus!

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What have been some special memories from volunteering? 

There are many great memories from serving at Club Christ! Some of the happy ones are the field trips to Springs Preserve and bowling. Yobanny still talks about how great it was to ride in my truck! On the sadder side was when one of the little girls seemed out of sorts and I asked her what was wrong, and she said her father had died THAT MORNING. She was at the Center because there were about nine siblings at home and the Center was such a support for them; it was a good place for her to be. In that moment I realized how important the Center is, not only in the life of the kids, but their families too.

Growing up, Lisa played fast-pitch softball in junior high and high school. While she no longer plays, she enjoys hiking and biking, as well as reading and quilting. Her favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

The Las Vegas Center

Since walking in the door of the Las Vegas Center for my interview with Evan and Angela last spring, I knew it was the exact place where God wanted me! From that moment, in every step of the way, I have felt complete assurance and a huge sense of purpose.

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When you look around the Las Vegas Center community, it would be easy to feel despair or hopelessness. It would be easy to just believe that the kids are destined to repeat the poverty cycle they are currently in.

But God.

So instead when I look around the community and at the kids, I see joyfulness and hope. I see kids who work diligently on their homework, who give each other high fives when they succeed, who volunteer to read the Bible and pray, and who raise their hand confidently to share answers with the whole group. What a privilege and blessing to have a front row seat to this kind of life change!

img_4113My vision for the Las Vegas Center is to build community; not only am I part of the lives of the kiddos, but God has been faithful in opening doors to their families. In August we had our first Mom’s Night Out and last month we had the initial Mom’s Bible Study, where we fellowshipped and learned about Jesus.

The best past is I know this is just the beginning! God is blowing my mind with His constant and consistent goodness and faithfulness. I am committed to this community and feel so honored they have welcomed me into their lives. Will you join me in praying Psalm 90:15 over the children and their families and the community at large?

Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery.

Community Served- Landsman Gardens

 

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Driving by this 7-eleven in Henderson, you wouldn’t think you entered into one of the most diverse communities in Henderson and Las Vegas. At this three-way intersection of Major Ave., Center St. and Burkholder, you find large populations of  Las Vegas retired military veterans, young families moving into newly developed homes and impoverished families seeking opportunity.

Right across the street you’ll find our Henderson Learning Center located inside the infamous Landsman Gardens Housing Complex, a section-8 housing complex known for violence, drugs, and gang activity.

After working with Club Christ for 4 years, Henderson Center Director, Kendall Demavivas understands why. Kendall has witnessed three very violent fights, one practically a gang fight, countless people using various drugs, and some of the most abusive and manipulative behavior in his life.

However, we see this community differently. We see Landsman Gardens as a community of loving families with incredible, but broken hearts. This community is broken by the same hurt, lies and vices that we buy into when we settle for less than God’s best, it just looks different. Yes, the community looks rough around the edges, but you have to look deeper, spend time and serve the community to see the beauty at work.

We love serving this community and want to share some awesome ways God has opened the door for Club Christ to serve!

Take Our Students on Field Trips

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We believe in taking our students on engaging field trips to new places, designed to foster relationships and growth while opening their eyes to the opportunities in their lives!

Connect Students With Mentors

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Our mentors are awesome. They are the ones who invest into our students and build the trust required to lead our students to Jesus!

We Throw Block Parties

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Grace Church LV twice a year throw an incredible block party open to all residents. We play games, grill up hot dogs, listen to music, jump in bounce houses and sign up new kids for our Henderson Learning Center!

Connect Teens in the Community to a Church

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Eight local middle school and high school students have and regularly attend youth service at Crossroads Community Church every Sunday night. Members of Crossroads have chosen to step up and provide rides so they never have to miss a Sunday night.

Our hope is to invest, equip and launch our students to transform their community for Christ from the inside, not for us, Club Christ to transform their community. So far our emerging leaders are stepping up, and we cannot wait to see the ways Jesus uses them to transform their community! Along the way, we will keep on serving.

A special thank you to these organizations for partnering with us to empower urban youth to transform their communities for Christ!

  1. Robert Taylor Elementary School
  2. Grace Church LV
  3. Crossroads Community Church

Student Spotlight: Meet Lindsey

“I’m eight years old and I love pirates and animals.”

-Lindsey

Lindsey has attended our Las Vegas Center since she was in 1st grade and she has made AMAZING academic gains. When she first arrived, she was reading on a pre-primer level and over the years has improved so much that she is now reading on a 7th grade level. Her confidence has greatly increased and she is always the first to volunteer to read during Bible Study or share her answer during “Question of the Day” time. Lindsey is always smiling and willing to help her peers.

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What is your favorite thing about the Center? 

I love this Center because they help me with my homework and they help you become better readers. My other favorite things are when we go on field trips to places like Chuck E. Cheese or the Springs Preserve and when we pray. 

What is your favorite subject in school? 

I like all of my classes, but my favorites are science, math, and reading. 

What are your dreams for your future?

I want to help kids and help other people. 

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“We change the world when we simply meet the needs of others.”

-Kristen Welch

Student Spotlight: Meet Maria

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How long have you been coming to the Learning Center?

I’ve been attending for about six years.

 

img_3693Why do you like the Learning Center?

I like to come to the Learning Center because of the supportive leaders and students that I meet!

 

What do you want to do when you grow up? Why?

I want to be a cop or social worker because of the experiences my family has faced in the past. I want to help others, especially those who are facing challenging situations like what I experienced while at Child Haven.

 

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Why do you like going to youth group?

I like it because I enjoy Pastor Kory’s messages and meeting encouraging people.

 

What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about graduating high school and going to college!

 

 

Maria is on track to be the first high school graduate of our Henderson Learning Center. It hasn’t always been easy, but she is thankful for the support she has received and ready to make the most of her bright future!

Urban Gardening

I once built a planter to sit on my hot, cement porch because I wanted to embrace urban gardening.  I knew Las Vegas would be a tough place to grow fruit and vegetables, but I was determined.  Every morning and night I would carefully fill a giant 8-quart pasta pot with water and walk from my kitchen, over the carpet, and out the front door.  I planted strawberries, tomatoes, and cucumbers in a bag of rich soil bought at Lowe’s. I began watering and waiting, watering and waiting.

Months later, as the summer heat began to bake my little veggies, I finally began to see the fruition of my hard work.  Tiny strawberries bloomed and mini tomatoes turned from green to red.  But it was those cucumbers that SURPRISED me. The cucumbers were huge and while the other two plants withered up in the heat, those cucumbers THRIVED.  I may not have succeeded in every attempt, but with patience I learned that cucumbers were my thing!

I learned two things about ministry from my first and only attempt at an urban garden:

Growing takes a lot of time, attention, and water

At Club Christ we understand that with kids, success isn’t overnight. Each week our volunteers and donors invest their time, talent, and treasure into troubled, disadvantaged youth. Our students memorize Bible verses, practice their manners, read challenging books, listen to their mentors, and finish their homework.  And our hope is that they blossom…Well they are!  As this new school year begins, we have two solid groups of kids who come ready to work hard and we are seeing the results.  Almost all our kids are reading at their grade level, which is beyond their peers at local public schools.  On top of that we are seeing God develop fully-committed disciples of Jesus who are ready to change the world!

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Some things grow better under pressure than others

Many of our students overcome huge odds to succeed. Next month I’ll attend London and Kaylynn’s wedding: London was one of our very first students 12 years ago and I’ve been his mentor ever since.  This will be the first wedding in three generations of his family history.  He is making history and overcoming odds despite immense pressure to follow his peers who don’t value marriage. Young people like London are who we want to see blossom this year at Club Christ.  We are stepping up our teen mentoring program to include an intensive work and college readiness program.  All of this is paired with a unique and powerful faith-based approach to mentoring urban youth.

Our kids are going to SURPRISE you!  They are THRIVING thanks to your support and investment! I guess I am good at urban gardening; I just needed the right soil.

Written by Evan Hartsell, Executive Director