I get a certain email around the middle of every month. And every time I open the attachment, I smile.
The sender doesn’t write many words. Just acknowledging the reason for sending it, and adding a few pleasantries.
But the crucial part is the attachment, which is the report** of the amount of donations given to Grace Church on our behalf. I am always encouraged and amazed by the number of people who believe so much in our mission, and the amount of money they all donated.
Blessings for the Giver
Whether or not you have supported us financially, you have given to some charities. And there are many reasons to do so.
Why have you given?
A few articles about college that I think are relevant to the education of Allendale students:
In a study of over 30,000 students from Texas, those who completed a college course while still in high school were more likely to earn a college degree, compared to those who did not complete a college course. This holds true for all racial groups and socioeconomic classes.
Some students at Allendale-Fairfax High School take courses at USC-Salkehatchie. Doing so increases their readiness for college, and can even save them money. We need to encourage more students to pursue this.
I’m thankful for a lot — for salvation through Jesus, for my wife and kids, for a ministry from God, for daily provision.
But I want to take time to thank everyone who has supported us financially this year. This support has come in a number of forms:
- Almost 30 individuals and families who donate every month
- Over 20 additional folks who have given at least once in 2012
- Free medical care (products and services)
- Coffee from overseas
- Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
- That beer when I really
neededwanted it (you know who you are)
- And more!
We are glad to partner with you in God’s work in Allendale. Your money and gifts are enabling and empowering us to build relationships, pour into children, spread the gospel, and (hopefully) bring glory to God the Father.
“Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God.” Philippians 1:3
A few months ago, I was worshiping at a particular African-American church. I know a few people who are members there and have connected with the pastor, so I visit on occasion. It’s a pleasure to worship there when I can; since this church is full of loving people, and is involved in the community.
Towards the end, it was time to collect the offering. Years ago, in situations like this, I would also feel obligated to give something, but being a visitor, I knew that I could just sit and pass the plate without putting money in.
To my surprise, a grandmother in front of me saw that I was not getting out money, so she turned around and slipped me a dollar. I tried to refuse it, but she insisted.
OK, I thought. No big deal. She wants me to give, so I’ll put this in the offering plate when it comes my way. No big deal.
A couple of days ago, I gave the reasons I wanted to take 5 teenager boys from Allendale to the mountains. I’m going to write more later this week about the retreat itself. But two of the best parts of the trip was the drive up to the mountains, and the drive back to Allendale. Like when I have Conversations in the Car, I had a captive audience with whom I could share life and wisdom.
On the trip up, I tried to explain what the weekend would involve, such as sessions of Bible teaching, eating, meeting knew people, etc. Knowing that they would be out of their comfort zones, I repeatedly told them I was proud of them, and that if they needed anything they just needed to let me know.
I told them to be themselves, and to relax. I encouraged them by saying that many of the experiences might seem odd and make them feel uncomfortable, but that they would do fine.
About a year ago, after my family made the move to Allendale, I spoke with an old college classmate, who had since moved away from Greenville to take another job. He explained that it took he and his wife a while before they got it in their head that they ceased to live in Greenville. While they knew the truth that they physically lived in a new city, part of their hearts and minds were still connected to their friends and family back “home.”
Having gone through that season of transition, he gave me this advice, “Be all-in where you are. Don’t have it in your mind that you’re only in Allendale for a short time. If you think that way, you’ll never really find yourself at home.”
We are super excited about the newest opportunity we have to serve children and parents in Allendale. We will be running a day camp at Allendale Elementary School during the month of June. We are keeping the same name as we did with our spring break soccer camp, since we like the concept of a community working together to ELEVATEchildren to higher ground.
This camp will be run in partnership with the Allendale County School District, as we will help support summer school. Instead of children being finished at noon, we will have programming until 4 PM. Additionally, we will have some reserved spaces for children who do not need summer school, but who would benefit from having a safe, fun, and enriching place to go during the day.
Last year, CooterFest was on Mother’s Day weekend, but this year it was on my birthday weekend. Lucky me!
You can learn the basics about this annual event on the CooterFest website. But for the color commentary from our perspective, you’ll want to keep reading.
It is hard to believe that the school year is almost over. Since I started working in Allendale last year, my jobs (and our families schedules) have gone through a variety of changes and adjustments, as follows:
- From the after school program (January – May 2011),
- To the related summer camp (June – August 2011),
- Back to after school programming (September – December 2011),
- And then up to four jobs (January – May 2012).
Even now, things are under transition. Football spring practice will start next week, and that commitment will ramp up through the summer. And I am working on what other employment I will have in the fall (I turned down an offer to remain at Patrick Henry Academy, knowing that our hearts are in Allendale).
In The Essence of Skin Tone, I mentioned that we received some unsolicited magazines, and I sorta’ promised I would write about what happened. Because I got a certain offer letter last week (the picture above is a snippet of it), I figured it’s the perfect time to follow-up.
First off, notice the humor in this letter from Essence magazine, with their special offer of $1 per issue:
- “Dear Joey Espinosa, We know you. You’re the kind of woman who . . .” [emphasis added]
- “Because you’re an ESSENCE kind of woman, . . .” [emphasis added]
Thanks, Essence, for knowing me so well that you think I’m a black woman.