Monday, December 29, 2008

Where We Are Headed

I hope you are all enjoying your holiday break and finding peace and renewal for the new year! I'm still at home in PA, spending some extra time with family and friends but I'll be headed back to the BX on Friday and I'm so excited to see all our dearly missed family there! I just wanted to update you all on some things we've been praying about and some needs we'd love to meet over the next few months.

It was our initial idea to get to know people and learn about their lives, we didn't want to come in with a bunch of programs or ways to meet the needs we thought people would have but rather to learn what those needs actually were and how we could come alongside people to renew our streets. One thing that has been a dream of mine from the beginning and is clearly a need now is educational support for the youth of the neighborhood. The schools just aren't cutting it in the Bronx and a lot of kids need extra help to have a chance of not falling too far behind. There have been several people that have asked me about tutoring their children but no one really that we've followed through with.

I've been praying for a few months now though about the possibility of having a tutoring night once a week or once every two weeks where some kids from the block could come for one on one academic help provided by our brilliant and wonderful NYU friends and community. It seems as though God is putting things into place for this to happen. I left my other job at the after-school program so I will be able to recruit volunteers now to help us and take all my experience from that job and put it to use in our neighborhood! After talking with our friend Jess who volunteers with her husband with the Navigators at NYU it seems like we may even get some grant money to help us get started here. I'll hopefully be putting a lot of work into this over the next few weeks, developing curriculum and training for new volunteers and talking to our friends in the neighborhood to see how best to advertise this oppurtunity to parents in the area. It is my vision that we would be able to serve more youth than we are right now and in a very tangible, ongoing way. I'd even love it if we could offer music lessons and art lessons as part of the night for students who don't necessarily need the academic help. As you can see there is a lot to think about so would you pray with me that God would guide our actions here and that he would help me to get all of these preparations done before classes start on January 20th?! I'm so hopeful for God to use and stretch us and most of all draw us as a community closer to His heart in the next few months. Thanks for all your prayers and support this last year! Blessings, Friends.

Friday, December 19, 2008

And Pierce the Clouds and Bring us Light


It has been a little while and I pray all of you are experiencing the blessings of Christ come right now. The last few weeks have certainly been busy with finals and what not but we've also been able to do some good celebrating here on Beekman! It has been such a blessing for me this Christmas season to truly see Christ in the holiday, I've come to understand the longing that is present in so many of our Christmas songs and the joy that we have in knowing He has come and is coming again! I'm so excited, not for the presents and food but to deepen relationships with loved ones and for the kingdom of God to come here on earth. (It's going to happen and be so so wonderful!)

I've been able to spend some good time with the folks in the 'hood especially the kids and to celebrate and share about Christmas with them. Last weekend a few friends came over to keep me company (I've been in the house by myself for a few weeks and if you know me you'll know that I am going crazy!) We made lots of cookies, like three different kinds and the kids helped us eat all of them. We also opened up some of the games and negotiated cheating accusations but in the end it all turned out alright and we had some good times with candyland and puzzles. I also got to give the kids activity books to keep them all busy. We've been reading a whole lot of stories, mostly about Christmas and one of the girls even took home a children's Bible the other day so she could read more at home.

A few weeks ago we watched a movie about the nativity that was told through the eyes of a donkey and since the kids didn't know the Christmas story they were amazed/confused. Now whenever we read or hear about anything to do with the nativity they ask if this is about the movie and also where the donkey is. I always have to remind them that we talked about how the movie is actually true and that it is actually why we celebrate Christmas. Last weekend while making cookies I had on some music and Sufjan's version of Come Thou Font came on, one of the girls asked me if this was the song we had sung on the roof (over 2 months ago) and I said that it sure was. She asked if the guy who sang (our friend Denny) was coming and if he was famous. I got to tell her that yes he was coming and no he wasn't famous. She asked if the songs were about him and I got to tell her that no they were about Jesus. So later that night after little M had fallen asleep in my lap (so cute!) we sang some Christmas songs. I honestly can't think of any better way for the kingdom to come to Beekman than through singing with friends and eating cookies and reading stories. I hope you all have equally astounding stories of God's provision this season and I look forward to hearing some.

I've got some more updates about our plans for the new year but I'll write those after I go home to PA tomorrow and have lots of time on my hands! I wish such joy for all of you as always!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Good Tidings of Great Joy

Brothers and Sisters,

This one sure is a long time coming, it feels like time has just flown by lately. I hope the last few weeks have brought peace and true joy for you and yours. We've had some great times here on Beekman for certain but I am also finding myself increasingly burdened by the brokenness that is so apparent now. The good part first though!

I got to spend some great times with the neighbors this last week; before thanksgiving the kids from next door all came over and helped Sinora and I make lots of food. We also got to watch a movie about the nativity and share some more with them about Jesus. We also watched "This Christmas" with Chris Brown together so if you know Sara or I that was pretty exciting for us.

After spending some time at home I came back this week feeling pretty intensely upset about the pain that is an inherent part of this world. Its been a tough week at school for me as I've just been broken-hearted each day for the kids I am working with who have just the toughest lives possible. It is sometimes hard for me to put that pain of theirs that I carry with me down in order to function normally in the rest of the world and this week that has surely been the case. On Friday our friend Jonathan, (check him out at came over for dinner and he got to see how we role here as all 7 kids joined us! It was pretty fun for me to spend time with them and they all helped me make dinner. We danced to Beyonce and played some of the new games that Sara brought up from TX (thanks!). It was a bit rough too though as I began to see how some of the older girls are struggling through their issues and doing it without either of their parents. It sometimes breaks my heart but as I'm learning this holiday we are in a time of waiting right now and this is now how it will always be! The kingdom of God is here and its coming all at the same time and we can rejoice in knowing that one day we will be whole again.
Pray with us this week for the youth of our neighborhood, both those that we know from our schools and from the block. Life here is pretty rough for them sometimes as addicted or absent parents are the norm along with drivebys and hunger. Specifically pray with me that the fathers of the South Bronx would rise up and raise their children in love, as I'm sure many of you know growing up without a father is so darn heartbreaking and most of the kids I know are doing it. Again, praise our Father in heaven that he has provided for us in this way too! I hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy the grace of God sent here for us!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time

Hello Friends!

Oh my word, these have been a wonderful few weeks. Its been such a joy for me as I've had a decent amount of extra time to spend at our house and with people in the neighborhood. One of the people I've been able to invest in the most is our dear friend Sinora. She has come over almost every night I've been home for the last 2 weeks and we've gotten to hang out a lot. Her and her family have been such an important part of our lives here and its been great to get to talk to her about the neighborhood a bit more and just share life. As our relationship deepens I see how much she looks up to us and am so encouraged by the work God is doing. I invited her to church with me a few days ago and she wants to come so next weekend hopefully we'll be able to make that happen. I've also been able to spend some time with a few other neighbors and meet their families through the wonderful bonding experience that is cookie baking.

Who knew how much God can use chocolate chip cookies? They are probably the best tool though in just serving people and forming relationships! And now that its almost Christmas I get to make Christmas cookies too which I am thrilled about as I've been counting down the days now for at least three weeks. We've even got our Christmas lights up in the kitchen now and its so nice to just sit at the table and enjoy them with friends at night.

In the spirit of the season yesterday Sinora an
d I went ice skating in Bryant park. It was her first time and we had so much fun, she fell a bit at first but laughed it off and was skating around by herself by the time we left! We even got our picture taken by the cute photographer who she tried to get me to talk to for her:)

This week Sara and DeWanda will be heading out for Thanksgiving but I am so so excited to have my family up to our house to share the holiday with our neighbors. It sounds like we'll have a revolving door of folks from the block coming in and out as we all want to visit each other but are cooking for our own families. I hope all of you enjoy the holiday and have a chance to reflect on how truly blessed we are. As the Christmas season comes up would you pray with me about how we as Christians can give glory to Jesus in the coming month rather than to material goods and also be lifting us up as we look for creative ways to serve the neighborhood and bless the community in this exciting season. Grace and peace my friends, may your love abound!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Up to the South Bronx

I went up to the mountain
Because you asked me to
Up over the clouds
To where the sky was blue
I could see all around me

I could see all around me—


-Patti Griffin, Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)

I’ve never heard the voice of God. Oh, would it were I had that great gift of Moses and could receive His will for my life directly from His mouth. Instead, I must keep my eyes, heart, and spirit open to discover His specific instructions for my life’s’ journey.

Indeed, do not be fooled, He has a calling for each and every one of us. We are all called up to our own respective mountain tops.

From my cliff, I see the Diego Beekman Security Officers; I see the Boys on the Block; I see many, many, MANY children. & I love it like Pooh Bear loves honey. There are those who consider this model ambitious with negative connotations. Still, everyday I find confirmation that this is exactly where I should be. Not moments ago I received an email from an awesome playwright inviting me to a performance of students from the Roundabout Theatre Company’s program, VOICES. I already have an invitation: my next door neighbor gave it to me as she fixed me a plate of chicken & rice. (Which was on point!)

Today was the first day I spent some time alone with some of the younger ones. We painted nails and peeled it off. We read along to the lyrics of Alicia Key’s ‘Superwoman.’ We read a little from a book of our growing library. We watch a little bit of Polar Express which not only gave me an intense anticipation for Christmas, but made me long to eat snow as I crave it heartily every winter. Mmmm…anyway…It sounds like we spent a good six hours together, but if you account for the attention span of kids it rounded out to about two and a half. After gently reprimanding one of them for touching all the M&M’s in the candy bowl, telling another she couldn’t have any more cookies or chocolate milk on my watch, and watching the third make a mess of her fingernails I was exhausted. Exhausted, but satisfied.

The other day after I excitedly ask K if she wanted to help me clean she said, “You’re picky aren’t you.” I immediately knew she was referring to my type-A organization and cleaning habits. She had not even known me for more than a few hours and already she asserted an accurate psychoanalysis. I’ve always had a very nurturing and maternalistic streak although I’ve hidden it behind tougher fronts than those of the boys on the corner. Here, however, I am able not only to feel Love for my neighbor, but to activate it through lessons on discipline, conversations with my neighbor, and mixing whole-wheat “Love Biscuits.”

I am so blessed to be here on Beekman, and although I see there are miles left to climb, I like the view just fine.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Hi Friends,

An hour or so ago I was out on our front step, reading stories with some of the kids while others threw a football. Its pretty warm here right now so there were a decent amount of people outside being that its a Friday night. I said hi to a bunch of different people we knew and then right in the middle of a story gun shots went off. A car drove down our street and as it stopped at the corner just 20 feet away from us let off a couple shots in the opposite direction. We all ran inside and none of the people on our street were hurt although from the looks of it a lot of people are pretty shaken up. I didn't see who they were aiming at or if anyone was hit but for about 20 minutes after the shooting there were still some people outside looking around and what not.

Now though the police have come and cordoned off the block and it looks like most people have cleared out. Pray for us this weekend that as we and our neighbors go about our business we would be safe from any retaliations that may occur. Pray also against the violence that guns have brought to our streets and pray with me for the people who were targeted that they would not respond with violence. We appreciate your prayers and will keep you updated on things here.

Grace and Peace!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Dancing in the Streets

Well friends, we've got a new president! Regardless of your political views last night was a beautiful night in the South Bronx; as the news was announced on CNN and NBC people started screaming and poured out onto the streets, cheering, dancing, and even crying. For the people of our neighborhood this is such a huge deal, there is so much hope in their faces as for the first time, many of them feel like things might just change. Many of our neighbors grew up during a time when they were not even allowed to vote because of their race and to see a candidate who has experienced that be elected was just so exciting for so many. I am so thrilled that when I ask my students who they look up to the answer will no longer be 50 Cent or Jay-Z but can now be the President of the United States. I realize that we don't all agree with his policies and that even if we do no President is going to bring about the changes we really need, only Jesus can do that. Still for our neighbors and others all across the country to finally have hope in their country and fellow citizens is pretty inspiring. Join with us in praying for our government to bring our nation closer to the Kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of America. Let's remind ourselves each day that we can vote with our actions and our hearts and that that can make a bigger difference than the name we place on the ballot every four years.

Some exciting news on the home front is that I took some money that had been donated to us and went to the books store yesterday to get a bunch of books for the kids and teenagers we have built relationships with. We now have our very own little library complete with American Girl Books and Captain Underpants as well as some good picks for the older kids. Also I got us a few Bibles that we can begin to give out to the people we talk to. It was so exciting to get these things and thankfully as soon as I got home with them a few of the girls came over and we read stories together. It was so exciting to see them eager to read to us and to be able to encourage them in their academics. Pray with us as we consider developing an official tutoring night here once a week. It has been a dream of mine for a while and it seems as though the need is definitely here so it's something I'd like to begin next semester.

Enjoy your day all and be encouraged that no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, the Creator of the Universe sent His Son so that we would not have to fear death or anything else of the world, including elections. Praise the Lord!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Full House!

Greetings Friends!

There are some exciting things goin on here on Beekman. First and foremost we have a new roommate! DeWanda just moved in with us yesterday, praise the Lord. We met her through a mutual friend and she is an NYU Grad and actress who also does really cool community based theater work. I cannot tell you how excited we are about having her with us, please pray for us as we build relationships and form a new community. Also keep an eye out cause she'll be updating the blog too!

This weekend we also had a fantastic visitor from Abilene... Brad Miller! I was really excited to meet Brad (Sara's Boyfriend) and it was obviously a pretty big deal for Sara because it had been over 2 months since they'd seen each other. It was great for him to see our house and meet some of our friends from school and the BX. We all had some really good times and it was great to see Sara and Brad together.

Also this weekend we had some good time with our neighbors Sinora and Ayesha. These girls have spent a good amount of time with us and came over on Saturday night to hang out with us and our friends, we had a good time and even got into a discussion of faith in front of them. I was a bit worried about this but it was no problem, Ayesha seemed particularly interested. Yesterday Sinora even came over to make cookies and we had a great time. Megan was also over doing an interview with me for the documentary and so Sinora got to hear a little bit more about why we are there and about my faith in particular during the interview. I also got to talk to Sinora about the neighborhood and gang violence. Halloween is always dangerous in the South Bronx but this year it was also Blood initiation weekend and since our block is a Blood block people were a little on edge. Thankfully we haven't heard or seen of anyone we know being harmed. It was good to talk a bit more about the issues with Sinora. Join me in praying for us all as we deepen our relationship with her that we would boldly proclaim the love and gospel of Jesus to her. Praise God that DeWanda has already formed a relationship with her and Sinora will be giving her a tour of the neighborhood today!

Things are going really well and we are looking forward to the next few weeks as our schedules calm down a bit before Thanksgiving and we can really spend time building our community. Pray with us for direction, we'd love to do something really scandalous for the holidays to serve the neighborhood, and also we are still looking to fill another spot in the house so pray that God would be guiding our decisions and working in the heart of a special lady to join us. Also let us know how we can pray for you, we pray together every morning and would love to serve you in this way!
Grace and Peace from the South Bronx!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Night

Well folks, Fall has officially set in here in the City. This morning the temperature was only 42 degrees, luckily it has gotten much warmer since then so hopefully we've still got a while before it gets too cold to breathe. This weekend we took advantage of the beautiful weather and carved some pumpkins! We had friends of mine from high school visiting, (shout outs to Eric, Katie and Meg for hangin with us!) so it was a great time of fellowship with people from all over. On Saturday night the kids came over and we though what better time to carve our very own pumpkin and make apple crisp and roasted pumpkin seeds. (so good)

We even invited over Charlie Callahan (or should I call him Ray?) but apparently he was the carving champ on his boyhood block in Alabama 5 years in a row so once the kids drew the "scary" face he set to work and before we knew it we had our very own jack'o'lantern (sp?). Sara even climbed out onto our little overhang over the door and set it out there all aglow and a couple neighbors were pretty impressed. One even told Megan (a friend from school who is filming a documentary about us) that he wished he could be a part of it and that that was what being a good neighbor was all about. It was so encouraging to hear things like this!

Also Megan was out on the streets doing some interviews for the project, and I was a little nervous at first that people would get the wrong idea. They didn't though, they loved her and we even met some new women who came over and Sara and I got to talk to them for an hour or so. Such a blessing, God is using us and our friends in ways we never could have expected! After the kids had eaten their fare share and were about to pass out we brought them home and grabbed some wine, and headed up to the roof to sing some worship tunes. Denny led us and it was a great time, we even resorted to interpretive dance to keep ourselves warm. All the dancing also got us a little excited and apparently we started singin a lot louder because all of a sudden we had an audience of a few people sticking their heads out of the windows . (I guess seeing someone interpretive dance on their roof at midnight is a bit odd). It was great though, a lady from across the alley told us we had beautiful voices. We figured we didn't want to keep people awake so we called it a night after that but what an amazing night it was. Some of my favorite memories as a child are of doing all these wonderful fall/winter holiday things so it was great to share that with the kids. Next up is Christmas cookies (I got really excited this morning and am trying really hard to wait until it is actually Christmas time)! Also thanks to everyone who has helped us out with money for the kids, I just went and picked up a whole bunch of apples and juice and even some great 1$ books I found at Strand, a used bookstore up here. Be blessed friends!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fresh Air!

After a couple of very busy weeks, Sara and I headed off last weekend to Vermont with our wonderful Navs family. I had been looking forward to the retreat since about July because Andrews Farm in VT is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. We always go up on "peak foliage weekend" and get to see the mountains surrounding the farm as if they were on fire. And the stars! They are amazing, I always forget about stars living in the city but they are phenomenal. Its hard to not find God in a place that is so so full of his beautiful creation. And so we did!

It was a great time of fellowship, getting to spend a lot of time with old friends and make some great new ones. We also got to run around and roll down hills which was a blast, shout outs to the shut out ultimate team and especially to the Mountain Kitties (our team mascot for football) mmmrrreeeooowww! It was also just a beautiful place to worship, as soon as we got there on the first night a couple of us went outside into the freezing cold air and Denny and Jim led us in a bunch of songs, it was so peaceful and as more and more people arrived the group grew pretty big. We were able to just dance around and sing out hearts out praising Jesus which is sometimes hard to do in a city where the man made noise and lights somehow seem to drown out God. Our fellowship also grew a lot in grace together and a lot of people took some really big steps in their relationships with Christ!

As Sara and I were reflecting on our own walks we each (individually) came to the same realization. In a world where the concept of grace barely exists I had somehow turned my relationship with Jesus into one of dependence on him towards one where I tried to earn His love and blessings through and endless list of service "for the kingdom" all of those acts are good on their own but I need to bring the Kingdom of God closer to my heart and just meet Him there and need Him there. Pray with us that we would really experience His grace and freedom in the coming weeks as we seek Him in new and different ways.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Time for a Bit of Good Ol' Fashioned Open Commensality

A couple years ago I took a religious studies class at NYU about the new testament and one of our readings was about this radical thing called "open commensality" that Jesus practiced. Basically this means that Jesus ate with all sorts of different people, many of whom weren't considered "clean" according to 1st century Jewish laws of ritual purity. While eating together is definitely important in our society, it meant even more back then that Jesus was willing to eat with these people, (tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars) because nobody who was anybody ate with these people. I've always been super fascinated by this, partially because I love eating with people and partially because it is yet another example of how freaking cool (BA I might even say?) Jesus was!

This weekend we decided to practice this for ourselves on Beekman. After spending the day apple picking in NJ with navs, we decided to have a bunch of our friends, from NYU and the BX over for Chili and Apple Crisp. Folks it was one of the most beautiful experiences I've ever had. A lot of our friends got to see the house for the first time, the food was amazing, and we even got to invite our favorite security guard Mike over! He came all decked out for a bit and teased all our school friends just like he teases us. The kids from next door also came over and ate, even more importantly though they got played with! Our friends were so wonderful at embracing them and entertaining them, a huge blessing since with 7 of them they don't get a lot of individual attention from adults. Huge shout outs to Allie and Matt for chasing them around the house, they have never been so tired before and they definitely need to get their energy out like this more often!

Then the beauty begins... We moved up to the roof and of course Denny busted out the guitar and we started singin some worship songs. The kids all settled down and picked a lap to sit in, getting to be held for a while and having their eyes opened to the beauty of God's kingdom. I had little Kiwi in my lap and he was confused about what was going on so I had a little conversation with him that went like this...

Me "Have you ever been to church before?"
Kiwi "no"
Me "Do you know who Jesus is?"
Kiwi"No, but I know who God is, he's up there (points to sky)"
Me "Yea that's right, and He is the one who created everything, even you and me"
Kiwi "Even the killers?"
Me "Yes, even the killers and He loves them but not what they do, but He especially loves little kids like you Kiwi and right now we are just singing songs to Him"

It was such a wonderful experience and hopefully a great time of planting seeds and loving these kids, the next afternoon they were over before we went to church and one of the girls told me she liked the part where we were singing! Pray for us as we have some of our adult neighbors over for dinner this week that those relationships would deepen and we could serve them.

I'm finally attaching some pictures of us and the kids over the last few weeks!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Just the Two of Us

(building castles in the Bronx)

It has been quite a week up here, full of lots of fun and experiences of the Kingdom of God but also lots of exhaustion. On Thursday our wonderful house mate Kate (the great) told us she would be moving back to Texas. She had not found a job here in NY yet and decided it made the most sense to go back where she could get one no problem. We fully support her and love her a whole lot but its been a pretty emotionally exhausting journey for Sara and I (Jillian) these last 8 months or so as we've had lots of people seemingly on board and ready to bring the Kingdom to the South Bronx with us and for reasons that are really hard for us to understand all of them have decided not to be with us. Most of them are our good friends and family who we love and don't begrudge them their decisions at all but it is still pretty tough for Sara and I. We are trusting God that he is going to do amazing things whether we've got a house of ten people or two but we'd love to have some more people to walk the walk with. That said, we've sort of temporarily decided that if we are going to have more roommates its gonna be through God's work and not ours, we really don't want to be let down again and it'll be right when God makes it so. Pray with us though that He would call workers to the South Bronx, specifically to be with us but also all over the neighborhood. Pray also for Sara and I that we would not be lonely, my personality doesn't allow for much time with just me before I go crazy so I'm gonna need God's help to feel satisfied by myself sometimes.

In other news we've had a lot of good times with the neighborhood this week! The kids from next door have been over almost every night this week which is such a blessing to me as every time they are here they make me smile. We had a lot of fun on Thursday night and they all made a puzzle of the United States with Sara and our friends Ryan and Jared while I cooked us dinner. Then we got to sing with them to "With You" by Chris Brown (which Sara and I sing to every time we ride the subway together, video footage to come soon!) We've also spent a lot of time just hangin out on the step and getting to know the neighbors a bit more. Another fun thing has been having Sara's Aunt, Uncle and cousins in from Texas for the weekend, they have been really helpful in preventing our loneliness and it's also great to see people so excited about the city. It's an important reminder of the amazing place we are blessed to live and the opportunity we've been given to make it better for everyone.

That's all for now, I'll post pictures (the kids have taken a million of them) as soon as I find a bodega that sells AA batteries! Stay Blessed!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Welcome to the Hood!

We've been living in the South Bronx for about a month now and have finally gotten ourselves settled in. By (semi) popular demand we thought it was about time to start our very own internet blog (thanks Mr Patch!).

In case it's unclear exactly why a group of privileged NYU girls would move to the South Bronx, here is our attempt at explaining the journey that has brought us here to Beekman Ave. In January of 2008 our good friend "set us up " (Sara and Jillian) and we realized that God was going to do some pretty amazing things through our Friendship. We had each been deeply changed over the previous year by reading The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne and by letting Jesus speak to our hearts and decided to go out for coffee at Joe's to talk about our journeys. By the end of that first date we had decided to move to the South Bronx together (we both are giggling because it sounds like we are a couple that got engaged after just one date- it really was that amazing though). We began to meet weekly to read about Jesus in Matthew and to pray over how our lives could look more and more like His. After four months of this, God gave us a vision of what His will for our lives in the South Bronx could look like. Over the summer our little relationship became a love triangle as Sara's cousin Kate Henninger decided to join us!

So here we are now, in our beautiful little house on one of the "worst" streets in NYC (we like it a lot though); spending each morning seeking the Lord's heart in prayer, doing our best to give generously to each other and the community around us and learning more and more each day about the love of Jesus for the poorest neighborhood in the United States and all that He has in store for us here. (If you want more details ask us and we'll give you the full low down or even better come visit us and we'll show you!)

We've met lots of people on the block, and now that the curiosity about the white girls has died down we've been able to start forming relationships with people and feeding them lots of cookies. Last week the last of our new neighbors moved in and brought her seven kids along with her. We were making some cookies before having a bunch of NYU people over for dinner when we saw two of the girls sitting outside and decided to go bring them and the other people hangin out on their stoops some cookies. After talking to the girls for a bit we found out that they were locked out of their house until their mom came home from work so we invited them upstairs. They were really fun and we talked to them about their lives for a while and then decided to bust out the art supplies and draw some pictures for our fridge. After a while their mom came home and they left, but then she had to go back out and they asked if they could stay with us so they (plus one more) came up and had dinner with all of our guests. We all ate on the roof since it was crazy hot and the NYU folks got to hang out with the kids from the BX. After dinner and lots more cookies we played jump rope with them (the jump rope was made out of cable wires which gave an extra bit of excitement). The night was such a beautiful expression of the kingdom of God on earth as we saw our friends from school spinning the rope for the girls and vice versa. After a while their mom returned home with the rest of the kids who immediately got out of the car and jumped into our arms to hug us before even telling us their names. I've never had such a big smile on my face.

Later that weekend we were all out doing our thing on Saturday night, I (Jillian) went to an NYU event called compelled that was really encouraging and gave me a great opportunity to hear about other people's expression of God's love throughout the city. The event ran pretty late so a good friend James Richard Chalk III (he is strong and a gentleman) brought me home, at home we met up with Ryan Patch who had just fixed Sara's completely broken computer (he is brilliant and manly). It was after midnight so we thought what better way to occupy our time than by praising Jesus! Jim busted out the guitar and we busted out our voices and spent some really great time worshiping. It was really beautiful as Jim and Ryan are pretty much the ones who have supported us and prayed with us since the very beginning so it was nice to spend that time with them and after making (more) cookies we spent some time in prayer together, asking God to bless them in the way he had been blessing us. Again the Kingdom of God came straight from heaven to Beekman Ave.

Last night when Sara and I got home from class we decided to sit outside and eat some (more) cookies, the kids from next door (this time all seven) and a couple other people from the street were outside so we gave them all cookies. Kate came out and we sat outside for a few hours playing with all the kids and helping the oldest girl with her homework. They drew about a hundred more pictures for our fridge which are pretty much the best, cutest artwork I've ever seen (take that Metropolitan Museum!) They were so much fun and such a joy to be around and their mom was very thankful to have them taken off her hands after a long day at work.

We are now just about ready to go to bed although there is probably a lot more giggling to be done before that actually happens as we still have to listen to our daily Chris Brown and Jordin Sparks. We are so so blessed and are unbelievably excited to see what God is going to do with us tomorrow!