Thursday, April 2, 2015

Snapshots of the CPC Retreat

I've always been a lover of pictures. When I was young I would lie out photo books on the floor and just look at pictures...for hours. So, while packing for the Community Partnership Coordinator retreat last weekend, with the fourteen college kids I lead and mentor, I was planning on taking loads of pictures.

How many did I come away with?

The problem is when I'm in beautiful moments that I want to savor...the last place I want to be is looking at the scene from behind a camera lens. Our retreat this past weekend was full of so many beautiful moments...that I forgot to take a single picture. An annoying reality for creating keepsakes...but also a beautiful blessing.

Although I do not have physical pictures, I have several moments, snap shots in time from the CPC retreat that I would love to share with you.

Our retreat last weekend was at the Navigator House. A ministry started by Henry and Jacquline Bouma in the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood. This couple's story is amazing. They have mentored and walked alongside people in the Roosevelt Park community after moving from there from their suburban home. They have been sharing God's love and helping build up what was once broken in the neighborhood. 

When we first arrived at The Navigator House my first snapshot moment was watching Katie and Cami, two of my CPCs, play a game of pick up basketball with the local neighborhood kids. Cami even scored a basket! Watching these two young women effortlessly join street ball with the neighborhood kids was simply beautiful to me.

Then came dinner. Sitting around the table eating white chicken chili (made with salsa from the local market) salad, and chips and guacamole with the CPCs I have grown to love and felt like a sacred place.

Next, Janvier and Walter, two young adults who have been mentored by Henry shared their stories with us. Through Henry, and staff members at The Potter's House, these young men found a place in this community after leaving their home countries of Guatemala and Burundi. By the end of our conversation, we were all laughing and conversing like we had met before.

 When I woke up early Saturday morning to make a whole mess of eggs of ham for fifteen people, the sunrise was shining through the single kitchen window. Another snapshot moment.

This sunshine coming through the window reminded me that God's love, hope, and redemption are real. It's are all around us. In Grand Rapids. In Roosevelt Park. In the small beautiful moments I was really hoping I would put into picture form. And although there is still brokenness, and a deep aching in me for justice...I saw glimpses, snapshots if you will, of God's kingdom during our retreat last weekend.

I'd take that over the physical pictures any day.

-Kelsey Stark
Residence Hall Community Partnership Coordinator