“The only way to learn strong faith is to endure great trials.” – George Muller
Did you know that Alexandra Park was Urban Promise Toronto’s first site? AP is where it all began.
11 years ago.
A couple days ago I was looking through my supervisor’s old pictures. There were pictures of cute little kids in Camp Peace who were now much older and in youth program. Some of them had become streetleaders.
There were always those little kids who had big plans to become camp leaders some day. I asked our streetleader MVP once if he had been one of them. He told me of course, he had always known he would be a Camp Peace counsellor.
Thinking of MVP’s little brother, well, I’m sure he thought one day he could be a Camp Peace counsellor just like big bro. It’s hard.
It’s hard hearing 14 year olds telling you that they were going to work at Camp Peace next year. Having 15 year olds who were about to apply to work for March Break camp. 4 year old little brothers and sisters who were coming to Camp Peace next year. Heck, 3 year olds who were coming in two years.
It’s hard seeing that their carefully made goals and plans don’t get to work out how they had hoped.
But what is it I’ve told my kids over and over. I even said it last night with a mic. in my hand from the stage.
God has big plans for them. He has a spectacular plan, for each and every single one of them. He knows what He’s doing. Believe it or not, His plans are better than our own.
I try to believe it. It’s hard, I’m just so gosh darn good at making plans! Wow, but I guess if God’s are even better I should be pretty excited. 😉
Right, so, the goodbye party:
We sat down and we prayed and we told God that we didn’t have the time to iron out the details. We didn’t have the time to make a foolproof plan. It was on Him. He had to be there. He was running it. He was making it happen. We just… Couldn’t do it.
Well, He did.
It was great.
It ran from 4 o’clock until 6.
We were debating when to start our presentation, thinking people might not really show up until about 4:45.
At 4 o’clock the masses started flooding in.
By 4:30 their were so many people I was blown away.
There were kids. Kids who come to camp. Kids who used to come to camp. Kids who graduated from camp. Youth from our youth program. Moms. Little siblings. Older siblings. Old leaders. Obviously current leaders, and any Urban Promise staff who could manage to get there.
There wasn’t too much planned. We had a five minute slideshow and Spencer Vader sang one of his songs. “Beautiful one turn that frown upside, the world stops spinning round and round when they see that smile, see that smile of yours.” I was so thankful that he played it for us. The message of that song is great, things will be tough sometimes, but these kids are precious children of God and they can make it through. I looked around the room and I could see that it really touched the moms.
Then each of us leaders got up on the stage… Not having actually planned anything to say and just shared for a moment what was on our hearts.
The rest of the time was spent talking and eating and of course the kids played some games. It was a beautiful night.
We love the community of Alexandra Park, of course we do. It pains us to leave it. All those people coming out on that cold day showed me something else. They love us too. They’re sad to see us go.
Urban Promise doesn’t just have programs. It develops friendships.
The program might be leaving. But the friendships, those are there to stay.
This chapter’s closing.
But God’s not finished writing each of our books.
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
– Philippians 1:6