Care Packages

One of our community projects this year was to pass out care packages. After having one of our old house community members be homeless for three months, he shared our experience with us and what items a person might need in his previous situation.

In our care packages, we put in soap, socks, toothbrush with case, shampoo, mouth wash, detergent, notebook and pen, comb, wash cloth, antibacterial, granola bars, band aids and few other items.

The idea was to pass them around year round but also to have people in our own networks join us–this could be family members, coworkers, friends and have them have their friends join in. Haven would just continue to sponsor these packages. They have no notes in them, no literature. The idea is to give with no strings attached-a pure and genuine act of love and kindness.

One of our house community members shared this with a close friend who doesn’t usually have an opportunity to participate in a project like this took a few packages and shared with us his amazing experience in San Francisco as he handed out packages along his work route:

“I went to San Francisco today. I always knew there were a lot of homeless there, but I never really truly paid attention to how many there were until today since I was actually looking for them. I drove all over SF, and the streets were just riddled with homeless men. In my short time there, I saw well over a hundred of them. Some had shopping carts, others had backpacks. Many had nothing but a donation cup. My first stop was SOMA near ATT park. There were quite a bit of them roaming near the embarcadero, but I decided to give the first care package to a guy trying to write a HELP me sign on a cardboard box. I simply went up to him and said, “Sir, this is for you.” He looked at it, and said “Thank you thank you thank you.” As I walked away, I looked over my shoulder, and it was like watching a kid in a candy store looking through the bag to see what was in it.

My next stop was Union Square. A guy was walking up/down the red light asking for money. I simply opened my window at the red light and instead of giving him money, I gave him the second care package. He said, “God bless you, sir”. Some onlookers were watching and wondered what I had given him. The light turned green, and I drove away.

Through Chinatown I drove, I gave the 3rd care package to a guy sitting on the sidewalk picking at his barefoot while his torn-up tennis shoes were sitting by his side. It was a nasty nasty thing to see. haha, but I handed him the package and said, “There’s a pair of socks.” He just looked at me dumbfounded. Completely speechless. Not one word. I smiled and walked away.

My last stop was the other corner of SF. The she-she area of Fillmore district where all the fancy mom/pop stores are. I walked up to a guy with a loaded shopping cart. I stopped him when he was about to cross the street. Kinda made me feel bad since he struggled a little to get his heavy shopping cart back onto the sidewalk. He too gave me a wonderful God bless u.

I felt very good at the end of the day knowing I made 4 people’s days. My biggest regret was not taking more of the care packages. I could have given away all four at once as many people were in groups, but I didn’t have enough for everyone in that group, so I moved on. “

Here is one of the groups packing them during Christmas. Even the little ones enjoyed helping.

SJSU Care Packages Spring 2012


For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, (Matt 28:35 NIV)

In the Fall finals of 2010 Haven partnered with the San Jose State Asian American Christian Fellowship (AACF) to find a way to love the student community during finals week. An idea to make “survival packs” of a Capri drink, granola bar, mini-cookie pack and chewing gum to hand out to students studying for finals. That quarter, 250 packs where assembled by the Haven house church and accompanied AACF members to hand out free packs to students without any speeches or “strings attached”. If someone would asked we told them we were showing love to the SJSU community. At first, the givers and receivers were both wary of what this was all about. Only 250 packs were given away and AACF experienced a different way to “love” their fellow students.
In the Spring finals of 2011, 500 packs were made by Haven. More AACF members participated and word got around the library of free packs. Students were looking for the packs at the library .

In the 2012 Fall Finals, AACF were embolden to not only hand out packs but to also assemble the packs as a part of their fellowship meeting. AACF/Haven assembled 1000 packs and handed out not only at the library but also at the engineering college and fine arts college. Word began to reach to many students and now there was anticipation during dead week to receive a survival pack. Conversations were beginning to take place between givers and receivers. With a thousand packs, AACF asked other campus fellowships if they wanted to hand out packs and the fellowships partnered together to hand them out.
Spring of 2012 saw this little seed grow. As AACF/Haven packed one thousand snack packs, the AACF leaders shared how the other campus ministries are looking forward to hand out the packs and to share time with the student community. Another church heard from their college students of this and they were encouraged to assemble snack packs for their college group to hand out during finals week.

This started because two of our brothers felt a need to find a way to love the San Jose State students. The Lord brought the resources, the brothers and sisters together to bring a blessing upon those would were thirst and hungry.

Loading the car

Finished packages

Assembly line with little guy keeping everyone in line!

There’s no age limit in contributing to the kingdom of God =)

Generosity Project – Youth Soccer

Dave, Alan and John have worked with the South Valley YMCA youth basketball league by sponsoring a team and coaching. This inspired another member of Haven to sponsor and volunteer for the YMCA soccer program. See how God can change lives through a simple “Yes”.

A couple years ago I read a book from Donalad Miller (one of my fave authors) called “To Own a Dragon: Reflections On Growing Up Without A Father”. Here are some summaries (thanks Amazon!) so you have some context:

With honest humor and raw self-revelation, bestselling author Donald Miller tells the story of growing up without a father and openly talks about the issues that befall the fatherless generation. Raw and candid, Miller moves from self-pity and brokenness to hope and strength, highlighting a path for millions who are floundering in an age without positive male role models.

Through Millers personal narrative and MacMurrays wisdom, children of absent fathers will discover how to pick up the broken pieces of a fatherless childhood…and put them back together. Even though I grew up in a home that was no more dysfunctional than the average one, the book really stuck with me for some reason. The book talks about how young mens lives are so strongly affected by the presence (and absence) or strong male presence in their life. Ever since then I’ve really felt a calling to just spend some time with young men in my community… I’m not even sure I’m that great of a role model but I’d like to think that I’m slightly better than average =)

So this led me to last year where I had the chance to mentor a high school youth. It was an interesting journey that is still ongoing but through that I knew that I had to do continue to mentor more but I had to do it through something I loved, something like footy. Luckily Haven was already involved in working with young kids through sport at our local Y sponsoring a basketball team… and now I’m coaching a small soccer team through the Y too.

Those are some of the kids up top, some are crazy a few are quiet some are whiny and most don’t pay attention… but I do have to say that in a few short weeks I’ve become totally attached. Like most of these kinds of things, its probably been more of a blessing to me than its been to them. I don’t know where this thing is headed, I don’t even know if we’ll even be coaching the kids beyond this season. But I do know that this is where God has called me to be right now, luckily all I had to do was say yes.

Stay tuned for more updates from Billy!

Holiday Projects at Haven!

Our house communities have been involved in a few Love projects this holiday season. Here’s an update on what we’ve been up to!

SJSU CARE PACKAGES
This past December, we teamed up again with SJSU’s AACF (Asian American Christian Fellowship) to anonymously pass out care packages on the school campus. From past experiences, they were widely well received and people liked that there no strings attached–that we were simply there to show an act of love and kindness without a speech or “recruiting” them to go to church. We also were able to have the other Christian fellowships involved this time around as well. We were encouraged from the students at AACF that took time out of their studying schedule to help us pack 1000 care packages! We hope that this will spark a flame to pass on for others to show unconditional love.


Shopping at Costco for the snacks!

Packing in the SJSU engineering building with the AACF students


Students who received the care packages in the library and tweeted about it

CARE PACKAGES & CLOTHES DRIVE FOR THE VICTORIANS
Every 3rd Sunday, we meet for a all-church worship gathering at Le Petit Trianon Theater in downtown San Jose. Next to do is a housing program called the Victorians. A few of them join us for Sunday worship and sometimes we go over there to hang out. This past Christmas, we celebrated with them with a pizza party because they LOVE their pizza. We also put together hygeine packs for them that consisted of shampoo, socks, toothbrushes and other toiletry necessities. Additionally, one of our church members organized a clothing drive for them so they could go “shopping” and get some clothing. Everyone pitched in and had a great time.

Putting together the hygiene packs

Pizza time!

CHRISTMAS COOKIE PARTY
Every year for the past 3 years, a couple in our community hosts a cookie exchange. Not only do we have a fantastic cookie contest but we also bake extras to pack up and donate to Unity Care, a transitional foster care program. We also sewed together some funky sock monkeys for the kids!

We hope everyone had a great holiday season in remembering the birth of our Savior.

Here is a special Christmas song that Warren recorded!

Upcoming Events for December!

SAN JOSE STATE / AACF CARE PACKAGES PREPPING! @ SAN JOSE STATE 7PM.
Some of our house community groups have teamed up with AACF from San Jose State to pass out care packages during finals week. The packages have a few snacks for the students to enjoy! It is a LOVE project and we are trying to maintain anonymity so there should be no identity of who is giving these out except that they are from people to love other people. They will be passing these out the week of December 5! Contact rachel (at) kingsfamily.net for more info!

BLESSING THE VICTORIANS :: LUNCH, HYGIENE PACKS AND POSSIBLE CLOTHING DRIVE :: 12/18 @12PM
I’m excited to announce that after next LPT Worship service, we’re going have lunch with and pass out hygiene packs to the Victorians who are neighbors next door! We’d like to do a clothing drive too, so let’s start it now, if we don’t get enough it can be ongoing.

To make these hygiene packs, we’ll be having an…

ALL HAVEN HYGIENE PACKING PARTY :: CARD MAKING :: POTLUCK :: 12/13 @ 7PM Contact missjenniferhuang (at) gmail.com for more info!

The Tuesday before LPT, we’ll be packing essential hygiene items for the Victorians. We’ll also write some cards and blessing to them =] Please plan what to bring for the potluck with your house group. Directions to the Brizuelas’.

Items that the Victorians need most are (these and others will be provided):
Soap
Shampoo
Combs
Disposable razors
Toothbrush
Toothpaste

You DO NOT NEED TO BRING the above. Haven will be providing the contents of these hygiene packs. Two Tuesdays from now on the 13th, we will be PACKING them together. This is a great opportunity to invite your friends, especially those who don’t know Jesus!

CLOTHING DRIVE :: BRING CLOTHES ON 12/13

Please bring your old clothes (or new underwear)! Last time friends and co-workers contributed too, so ask yours!

Items the Victorians need the most are:
Socks
T-shirts
New Underwear
Heavy Jackets

We need you to BRING THE ABOVE for this to be a success!

***
Questions, comments, or suggestions?
www.facebook.com/havencommunity
www.twitter.com/havencommunity

Generosity Challenge – Care Packages for Local College students at SJSU

John 13:34-35 (New American Standard Bible)

“A new commandment I give to you,that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

This holiday, one of the  house community groups wanted to show love to the local college students by handing out care packages of snacks sealed in a bag with a sticker that said “Good Luck! Study Hard”. No traces of where the group was from or any affiliations were marked on the bag because they did not want any recognition–just for the students to know that they were being loved and thought of. Many who received the snacks initially thought they had to sit through some long imposing speech about who the group was  and what they did but were surprised to find that it wasn’t. One student as we explained what were doing thanked us and said “One love and respect is what it’s about.”

While the house community group recognized when opportunities arose to chat about deeper things, they were ready but all in all it was purely intended to be an act of love.

A summary from Ken who helped head up this project:

“The damp weather as we emerged from the car to unload bags of snacks reminded me how dreadful and unappealing finals could be. It was almost 18 months since my last final at SJSU, but seeing the students scurry around with loaded backpacks brought back, if only just for a second, all the feelings of impending doom.

Our small group wanted to bless our community in a way that fit in with the holiday season, and nothing says, “Merry Christmas,” like studying frantically all night for a two-hour test you have no hope of passing. The SJSU campus is about one block away from Le Petit Trianon where our church meets on Sundays, so they were a natural choice. Our group created an ambitious goal to hand out 200 bags full of snacks to students studying in the MLK Library, and soon realized that we needed some help. With a few phone calls and emails, Alan enlisted the services of the SJSU chapter of AACF.

Working with AACF turned out to be much more of a blessing than we realized. Most of our small group members are 5+ years removed from college, so the younger folks had a bit of a Antarean effect on us. They had a great time blessing their peers with semi-nutritious goodies found in small brown paper bags.

Initially, the reactions from the students studying in the library were mixed. We tried to spread out to all of the floors, and the reception at most floors was luke-warm at best–until the students realized that there really were no strings attached, and the snack packs were truly a gift. Then, we couldn’t give them away fast enough. Clearly, 200 bags were not nearly enough, and we easily could have tripled the number. During the two-hour evening, it only took us 15 minutes to distribute all the treats.

Overall, the reactions were genuine gratitude: thankful for some nourishment, thankful for a small break during a potentially long night, and thankful that we didn’t stick around to bore them with a long monologue about why we were there. The reactions from AACF and our small group were also positive, and there might be potential for us to partner up again in the future. After all, it never hurts to encourage other people with a heart to serve.

The rain finally stopped when it was time for everybody to part ways. I had spent a lot of time at SJSU in the past, but returning there allowed me to see it in a different light. This time, when I left the campus that evening, it was nice not having to worry about final grades ruining my Christmas break.”

What is the Generosity Challenge?