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!

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?

Mini Generosity Challenge -Jackets

From one of our house community members:

The Mini Project: For one of our generosity projects, we bought about 25 really nice and warm jackets for each house community member to hand out but not to donate to an organization. The point is to address a need when we see one.  There are no restrictions to whom the jacket may be given to. It could be someone who lives on the streets or even a person waiting at the bus stop in the rain.

What is the Generosity Challenge?

“Earlier this week I was praying that God would give me the opportunity to give out a jacket and so I purposefully grabbed the stack in my trunk to put in my backseat so I can reach for it if I needed to. I REALLY wanted to start handing them out especially since the weather is starting to get cold and also because the last time I felt God telling me to give a jacket out, I chickened out. I wanted to follow through the next opportunity He presented.

Yesterday, I was waiting at this  taqueria in Sunnyvale that a lot of working people go to to meet a friend for lunch. A lady who looked a little tattered (named Jessie Girl) was sitting outside on the curb. Generally I won’t offer anything unless they ask or have a sign. I just don’t want people to be offended if I assumed they were homeless/begging for something and they weren’t :) Anyway, I walked outside of the taqueria to flag down my friend and the lady who was outside asked me for some money. I asked her if she’d like lunch instead and what she’d like. She said she wanted a philly cheesesteak and fries and I said, awesome…where can i get that nearby here? She said, “In there!” (points at taqueria). For a split second, i thought she was out of it but then she said there’s a special in the taqueria but it’s $5. I said not to worry about it and said I would get it for her.

I then thought this would be a good opportunity to give her a jacket and asked her if she was cold and if she’d like a jacket. She said oh no it’s okay I don’t want to take it from you. I said, no no I have some brand new ones and would give her one. I said why don’t you come to my trunk and to see what size fits. She seemed surprised but followed me anyway.

All I really had was XL and XXL (she was kind of bigger) but i think we both assumed she wouldn’t be any more than a Large. I dug up a Medium but it seemed to small and then she asked to try the XXL and it fit perfectly! I felt like i was back in retail telling her it looked good and fit well and told her that it was a very good jacket that would keep her warm throughout the winter.

Right then, my friend pulled in and was like, are you selling jackets from your trunk?? :) I explained to her what I was doing. I told Jessie Girl I’d be right back with her philly cheese steak special for $5 (which was a real special!) I then gave it to her and she was grateful.

It seems like a small and easy gesture but sometimes whether it was out of laziness, fear, people thinking I was weird, thinking someone else will do it, we don’t follow through with God asking us to do the simple things. I ask God to see the big things but if I myself can’t even obey on a simple task, then it will be harder to see even the big things.

Hopefully I will continue to have more opportunities to obey and show love through this project.”

The delicious taqueria: