Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Vision

If you have ever been up the California coast you know that there are some amazing views, with myriad places to stop and look out over the grandeur of the Pacific Ocean. Beyond San Luis Obispo, there is an intriguing destination that is known to many people around the world. That destination is Hearst Castle.

Hearst Castle was once a private residence of William Randolph Hearst, a man who was born into money but also had a very successful earthly career in the publishing industry and in politics. Hearst did not refer to this remote estate as a castle, but that is how it is known today. After taking a tour bus up a winding road, you can’t help but feel like you have encountered a home that is part mansion, part church and part art museum.

I won’t go into the details of Hearst’s life, but it is perhaps most diplomatic to suggest that there are many different ways to look at his legacy. Today, the Castle is perhaps the most profound reminder of his existence, particularly now that it is a National Historic Landmark.

As I was touring the Castle, I couldn’t help but think about Kingdom Causes Bellflower. That may seem like a strange connection, and it isn’t because I want us to build a massive castle on a distant hill. I thought about KCB because for all of his shortcomings, Mr. Hearst was a man of vision.

One of the more remarkable attributes of the Castle is that Hearst began the project in 1919, when he was 56 years old. Certainly there are people who start certain types of endeavors in the later years of their life, particularly if they have accumulated the financial means to do so. However, most people do not pursue a vision of this scale and then work on it for the next 28 years. Hearst had camped on this hill as a boy, and in his later years he decided that is was time to realize a vision that had been brewing within him throughout his entire life.

I don’t tell you this story because I specifically admire what he created. Hearst Castle is an impressive structure, and it is fascinating to hear the stories of who visited and how the estate was put together. What I do find admirable is the unrelenting vision, and that is what made me think of KCB.

Someday I may read a biography about Mr. Hearst, mostly because I want to know whether he always had this long-term plan, and if he had a thought on what it might eventually be. If you visit Hearst Castle today, you will see wings of the main house that are unfinished. The tour guides will suggest to you that because of Mr. Hearst’s need to tinker, the project may never have been completed even if he had lived for many more years.

As we love our neighbors in Bellflower, it is important for us to remember that the work may never be finished, and that is okay. The other important lesson is something that we can take from Mr. Hearst, even if our focus is much different than a grand earthly mansion. We must be people of inspired vision, and it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you have accomplished in your life to this point.

Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” If we are wiling to surrender our plans to the Lord, he will accomplish great things in this city.

Perhaps we are building a house of sorts in Bellflower. The view from Hearst Castle is beautiful, but there is a view coming that is far better than we could ever ask or imagine.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Mid Summer Blog [Drake Steele & Morgan Erickson]

DRAKE STEELE


Halfway through  the internship and I really appreciate all the encouragement to grow through the many resources of ideas and experiences that have come my way. I had many expectations of what this internship would bring to my perspective already volunteering through Kingdom Causes, as well as, passing out gallons of water and food on my own time. Through these past couple of weeks throughout the homeless outreaches I have done with Manny, Daina, and Maria we have infiltrated the cities wanting to reach out to those who are in need of resources to get off the street. While some don’t want or need help there are plenty of our homeless neighbors  that want to make a change but just need a lending hand to encourage them to head down the right pathway. One thing I truly didn’t expect while on outreach were the minor setbacks of car breakdowns from the flat tire to the battery dying on the car. These abrupt stops cut our time to do outreach in the cities but it also allowed us to become closer as a team relating from our  past as well as sharing our future goals.

One thing that was hard for me to understand, knowing this would happen, would be the "no show" of someone who has a set an appointment for a turning point in their life. Especially, when the person praised how blessed they were for getting the opportunity to take their next step to get off the street. It's easy for me to expect someone to act in a way if I were in the situation our client was set up with, yet, I’ve had no perception on the client's environment from her childhood to her current state in life to even impose of an idea of what I felt her decision should’ve been. I realized that this is just something I have to let go and that is out of my hands and I can’t allow it to lose hope in people wanting to change only doing everything I can through prayer and my empathy to encourage our clients to make a change.

Another thing I wasn’t really expecting was for one of our homeless neighbors was to fiddle with us knowingly lying about what he’s done in his past time and in denial of being homeless only wanting to use us to get out  of the mental facility for being on the riverbed not wanting to connect to resources to get housed. Most of our homeless neighbors realize that they have been away far away from god at the time and I feel we need to introduce many more people to the gospel. Not by always speaking about his teachings but more so showing the actions that we have learned from his word to love and care for one another.


I hope to donate some hygiene kits coming up in the next couple of weeks especially with more feminine products that have been requested by many. Its honestly crazy how fast these past two months have gone by so quick as we pass through the halfway mark. I only hope to help maximize the team’s efforts to build relationship and convince our homeless neighbors to take the next step.


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MORGAN ERICKSON


The first half of the summer interning at Kingdom Causes has been a fruitful and challenging time. I have greatly enjoyed working at the Summer Sports Camp at Ramona once a week, and getting to interact with parents. Though this time can be stressful with running around and ensuring all the forms have been filled out and then jumping in to help coach, one of the greatest blessings has been encountering the gratitude and excitement these parents’ have. It is a time of fun and getting knees dirty, but it is also a time of community where families can come together and socialize while their kids play sports. It is a neat thing to witness and be a part of, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do so.
It has also been a joy to simply be in the environment of Kingdom Causes. Unfortunately, I have not been able to be in the office as much as I would like to because of my other job, but I am hoping to spend more time there in the weeks to come. I have felt greatly encouraged by the people I am surrounded with when I am at Kingdom Causes, and have loved seeing firsthand how a system can work hand in hand with the message of Christ. I have loved being around people who devote their daily lives to meeting people’s needs through a process of empowerment that closely models the life of Jesus, and who recognize the humanity in all of our neighbors. I have been encouraged in areas of my life I feared had run dry.
My hope is that this will continue to be a valuable time of learning and exploring different avenues for my own future career, as well as a time of being in community with people who have similar passions and goals. I hope to take advantage of the resources at Kingdom Causes in the weeks to come by learning from those around me and the basics of what they do. I will probably be working more on the KCB Experience project that is designed to give people who are not homeless an idea of what it would be like to be homeless. This includes all of the difficulties and challenges that often times are overlooked in the process of trying to get a job or house.
I think I expected myself to be able to spend more time at Kingdom Causes than I have been able to so far which has been disappointing, but my goal is to do the best I can with the time I do have there and glean the most from my experiences and conversations. I am excited for the rest of the internship and all that it will hold.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mid Summer Blog [Alicia Chavez & Natalie Alvarez]


       ALICIA CHAVEZ


Alicia’s World Continued
            These past few weeks at the office have been crazy. I never expected to gain so much experience and insight on other people’ s life in such a short period of time. I sit back and reflect on their (clients) stories which makes me appreciate life so much more. We truly don’t know what we have till it’s taken from us, and then it’s too late. But, God’s grace keeps us going and the Holy Spirit uplifts us and reminds us that we are not alone.
            Personally, I’ve understood that a, “thank you” isn’t always guaranteed. What’s guaranteed is that I’ve been doing what He’s been asking of me and through that, I will shine. Not me physically, but His word and is name will shine and be glorified. My work here with others will remind the clients and our neighbors who He is and why we are all here. Without community there is no hope for a better today. Without Jesus, there is no hope at all.
            Now I myself fall short in my faith because I have to remind myself that I am not my own. I try and incorporate my faith into my works here at Kingdom Causes and do good by him for the people whether that’s filing paperwork, doing housing assessments, or attending the health care team at the St. John’s mobile clinic. This is all expected of me and I’ve excelled because I’ve had great advisors who are also my bosses whom I am very thankful for. This internship isn’t just a summer job but rather a gateway for me to get back on track with the Lord and bring more people to glorify His name.
            My journey doesn’t stop here, but it begins. I plan on doing outreach with the team in my own city so I can engage with my community. I hope to do more assessments so my word, given to me by Him, can touch the souls who are in need.  I am beyond blessed to have experienced such an amazing team who all represent Him.

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NATALIE ALVAREZ



Hello again, it’s Natalie. I would like to start by saying that I cannot believe that we have reached the halfway point in this internship! When we started this adventure five weeks ago I really did not know what I was in for. God has blessed us all with the opportunity to interact with the neighbors we never knew we had. The work I am doing at Margaret’s house can seem very minimal to the outside world but for me, every moment and experience counts. My role at the home has ranged from removing old furniture from the property and cleaning windows, to organizing an activity for the ten children who live in and around the home. The work I have been doing has allowed me to reevaluate my life in a way that I now take the time to stop what I am doing and thank God for all that I have, and all that I have to give to others. This internship has solidified my long-term goal of one day opening my very own Margaret’s House. I don’t know where I will end up in five, ten, or even fifteen years, but I know there will be a home for the people who need it. This home represents a dream of something so much bigger than myself, and I can’t wait to move forward with it.  
Aside from the work I have done with Margaret’s House, I have been able to take part in meeting and assessing possible clients. Hearing people’s stories and looking for ways to help them. I find inspiration through the people I meet, work with, and everything about Kingdom Causes Bellflower. I am grateful for the team I am surrounded by almost every day. Every person I have met and worked with has made me feel important and welcomed. I want to take the time to thank Christina and Robbie for choosing me for this position because they both have lifted my spirit. For every hard time and obstacle, I am reminded that I am never truly alone.  Thank you lord for the beautiful people you have put on my path, I will never forget this experience. I am excited for what the next five weeks hold for all of interns and I am grateful to say I now have some pretty cool friends! To Alicia, Drake, and Morgan, thank you for putting up with me and my endless
shenanigans. I look forward to the next adventures.