Little Lights Urban Ministries

2005 Spring Newsletter

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Volume 5, Issue 1 MY LITTLE MEN 202-548-4021 Page 2 by Tammy Blumhardt This summer I had the blessed experience to be the counselor for the five and six year old boys at Camp Heaven. This last week I had the blessed opportunity to visit my little boys and my friends back at Little Lights, a trip I took all the way from Oregon. Coming back to Little Lights was a lot like coming home. I always felt like I was the luckiest counselor, to be working with the five and six year old boys. All of them acquired from me a special nickname: "Little Man." When Latrell got in trouble for talking out of turn, or Lonzo read yet another impressively big word, each was my little man, and each could bring a brand new smile to my face. When I came back to visit Washington, DC last week, I did not know what to expect. Would I be in the way of Hope Center staff as they went about their masses of work? Would the kids even remember me? But it was like coming back to a family. Little Lights staff sent me on errands to pick up children from Potomac Gardens. And when my little men showed up for Tiny Lights on Friday night, they disobeyed Miss Bonita when they saw me, because they all broke out of line and ran to me. I can't imagine they were as happy to see me as I was to see them, but they brought tears to my I love bragging to people back at school about what I got to do this summer: how Little Lights gives opportunities that kids otherwise would probably not have, how people of different races all come together serving the Lord, how 12 little boys called me "Miss Tammy" and, at moments, hung on my every word. At other moments, they were bundles of energy that I had no hope of keeping up with – we loved each other all the same. Being a white girl from the suburbs of Portland, OR, the idea of spending the summer with African American kids was a little alarming to me – not because I was at all afraid of them, but because I was afraid they would not like me. On the contrary, whether it is because of the amazing work Little Lights has done, or the open hearts of children, or the grace of God, my kids welcomed me into their lives in less than a second. I think that is what sticks with me the most; I have tiny little memories of my children here and there. I remember playing "Shark" every week in the kiddie pool when we went swimming. I remember pretending to be scared on the Octopus at Six Flags, and little Nate reassuring me I should not be afraid. I remember wondering if the twins, Maurice and Mauquese liked me okay, because they never said anything to me – and then one of them told me he would not line up for the next activity unless he knew I was going to it, too. But what I remember most, as a long-running theme of the whole summer, whether it be in regard to staff or child, is that God brought together people of all different races, and we loved each other. eyes either way. And I was astounded at all of the good things that happen at Little Lights outside of Camp Heaven. I helped out with Homework Club for about an hour just before I left to go home for good, and I saw a group of adults organized to help eager children who needed just a little extra time. It made me smile, because I really believe this is what a true Christian does – serves those in need. Being a student, I get to hear the awful statistics about the odds of success for kids in poor inner-city areas. The statistics scare me; I think of my little men and wonder if, just as the US Department of Justice predicts, four out of twelve of them are really headed for jail? But when I visit Little Lights, I realize there is a wonderful staff looking out for my wonderful little men, teaching them about Jesus, and giving them help where it is needed. question of the day "If you had 3 wishes in your life what would you wish for?" Here are some of our kids' responses: "I wish for a mansion." Jernisha Smith, age 11 "I wish my little sister can come back home to live with me in my room." (Her sister is currently in foster care) "If my little sister can't live with us I wish I had a lot of money to buy her a house she can live in." "I wish my mom would stop smoking." R.S., age 8 "I wish for all the money and smartness in the world." Jarvis Legion, age 12 "I wish there would be no more shootings and killings." (Within the past month and a half there were two cases of shooting that occurred) Carla, age 8 "I wish I could be powerful." Raymond Brown, age 13 "I wish everyone can have a dog if they want one." (As of now, Geizel's mom had agreed to allow a cat in the house but Geizel is still hoping for a dog) Geizel Guerrero, age 11 "I wish for world peace and freedom." Quorteaz Brown, age 12

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