Help Us Help Others

Help Us Help Others
Chaplaincy Clark County

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas everyone

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

We had a wonderful communion service last night.

We transformed the YMCA Gym into a sacred space. The theme was to be relaxed and casual. We music, thank you Kaleb and Jessi. We had the elements set up and prayer stations which we manned. People would come in, listen to the music, when they were ready they would come sit with us at a station. We would administer the elements and then pray with and over them. The service was supposed to last until 6pm. It lasted until 7:30pm.

People just kept coming.

Chirstmas is a funny season.

It heightens our senses.

When life is going well, Christmas is a very joyous season.

When life has turmoil, Christmas can be rather tough.

I am amazed at the number of people that are having a tough time.

I am also amazed how the simple act of prayer can lift peoples hearts.

I am humbled to be part of Christs redemptive work, giving me the opportunity to show people His love and His desire for their lives.

As beautiful as last nights service was, I cannot get over the feeling of, "What if we had not had a service at our YMCA?" I know that some of these people would have gone to a church. I also know that many of these people would not have gone to a church, for whatever reason.

This is the time when we focus on the birth of Christ. A time when, "The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." (John 1:14)

It is a time to remember that God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son so that we may have eternal life.

That is a great big Love. A love that we cannot even wrap our minds around.

During this season whether life, at the moment, is going great or you are having a tough time; remember these things.

God loves you.

Christ is with you.

Christ is the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas everyone & amy the blessing of God dwell in you richly.


Saturday, December 22, 2012

I cleaned my office, almost!

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

I have been on the run since Thanksgiving.

My office has literally become a place to dump stuff as I go from one thing to another.

We, the YMCA, have partnered with the Salvation Army and placed a Christmas "Giving Tree" in our lobby. The Staff and members really outdid themselves this year and the lobby began to overflow with gifts. This meant that gifts started to pile up in my office. The other morning I came into the "Y" to find my door open and a little red wagon sticking out the doorway. I had to move the little red wagon just to get through the door.

Norm, Zac (One of our staff's kid) and I loaded three carloads, and when I say car loads I mean carloads, not little cars but station-wagons and suv's full of gifts. Over 200 kids will get Christmas this year because of the generosity of our staff and members.

I could see the floor of my office again.

After a mid evening meeting I came back to the "Y" with the intention of getting my office back.

The "Y" was a buzz with activity as usual, but the usual suspects that usually take time away from "admin stuff" were not there. It would be a good time for me to clean.

I had been cleaning for about ten minutes when the Welcome Center brought me a family.

Christina, one of the Welcome Center staff offered to watch the kids as I spoke with the mom.

Heather (not her real name), is at her wits end. She is a single mother of three boys, ages 9, 8, and 6 years-old. She has had a rough life. She has been homeless in the past. She has been working very hard to get her life together. She recently graduated from college. She lost her job and will be evicted soon.

It is Christmas.

This is a terrible time of year for things like this to happen, as if there is a good time of year for this kind of thing to happen.

I listened to her talk.

I watched tears come to her eyes as she lamented her situation.

I watched her tremble as she thought about the future.

I prayed with her, and over her and her family.

I then started emailing my resources.

I contacted Sharon.

I contacted Darcy.

I gave Heather contact information.

Heather and I talked some more as Christina played with Heather's kids.

I prayed with Heather again and said that I would be in touch.

Needless to say I did not get my office cleaned that night. As usual it would have to wait for a quieter time.

The funny thing about Christ is that He usually throws a monkey-wrench into the plans that I make. It seems that He has other plans. I guess that is why He is the boss.

I continue to pray for Heather and her family as I work to find a job for her.

I have faith that she will come out of this intact. I will continue to work with her to help her heal and become whole.

I am told that Christmas is a time for miracles, but I have found that miracles don't just happen at Christmas, they happen all year long.

We just need to eyes to see them.

My prayer is that we not only have eyes to see miracles all year-round but have the eyes to see the possibility of a miracle, and the courage to act on this possibility.


Update on Grampa Jim

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Many of you have been asking about Jim. I apologize for not posting earlier, it has been a whirlwind couple of days.

Grampa Jim is fine.

The storm abated. They were able to transfer him to Minneapolis. He had his surgery and is recovering nicely. Thank you all for your prayers. It is a Christmas miracle.

Have a Merry Christmas.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

Today I am asking for prayer.

My father-in-law, Jim, went in for a routine angiogram and during the angiogram it was discovered that he had 95% blockage to his heart. They are trying to rush him to Rochester or Minneapolis. There is a blizzard going on that is causing quite a delay.

Laurie and I are nervous.

Please pray for:

1. A safe trip.
2. That God guides the hands of the surgeon.
3. That Jim has a quick recovery.
4. The presence of Christ to all the family members as they are living an anxious time.

Please pray for those things that I have failed to mention.

Thank you and God Bless you.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tis the Season

Good morning,
I pray the day is finding you well.

‘Tis the season.

I often wonder about this term. Why in the world would we have a season for giving? Why not give all year long?

But alas, ‘tis the season.

As usual in our YMCA, it starts with a conversation. Someone, somewhere, comes into relationship with one of our family and because our family cares about people, a conversation ensues.

Many times, it is face to face.

Sometimes it is an email.

Hi Eddie,

I received a call from L___ L_____ (a member) asking if we could provide a temporary membership for a family she’s helping through sharehouse. It’s a single mom and 3 kids (14,8,5); the father was killed in a car accident last year. They had been living in her car until recently, they are now in temporary housing. Could we perhaps find a way to provide a month’s membership for Lynn to include in their Christmas?


Sarah Greene
Membership Services Supervisor

Clark County Family YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682

So, the conversation starts.

From: White, Eddie
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:24 AM
To: Greene, Sarah
Subject: RE: Sharehouse request for temporary membership

I don’t have an issue with this we just need to make sure we capture the story.


Eddie White
Executive Director

Clark County Family YMCA
11324 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682

As you can probably guess, I am the “Story capturer.”

Of course Eddie did not have an issue with helping a family in need, he is Eddie of course. A man who loves Christ, and through his love has grown to be a person who loves others.

But why do we do these things? Things that do not help our bottom line or that seemingly have no benefit to us?

We are the “Y”, that’s why.

One of the things that one quickly realizes when one studies the history of the YMCA is that we (the YMCA) are not in competition with anybody.

One of the things that one quickly realizes when one studies the history of the YMCA is that we (the YMCA) do not compete, we fill niche voids.

There is only one reason that we started having pools in our “Y’s”. It was because kids were drowning in rivers, ponds, and lakes. There was a void that needed filling. Kids needed to learn how to swim so they would not die in rivers, ponds, and lakes.

There is only one reason that we started having gyms in our “Y’s”. Positive activities during people’s “free” time was needed.

There is only one reason that we started housing people. As social institutes started having problems in this area, the YMCA was there to fill the void.

There is only one reason the “Y” has childcare. It is because there was a void, and we are doing our best to fill it.

Most people have no idea what it is that we really do.

I do know who does know though.

One of our staff’s husband works for a big box gym. He was at a meeting in which a suit came in from corporate. This is what the suit said, “We are about profits, people. We are about ROI. We are about the bottom line. If you care about people, go to work for the YMCA.”

I could not have said it better myself.

We care about people.

We care about you.

We do not compete.

We fill niche voids.

This family had a series of horrific things happen to them, something that we seem to be inundated with lately, horrific things happening to people.

They had a void that needed filling.

I thank God that we were able to fill this void.

‘Tis the season.

For us in the YMCA our season lasts for more than a month or two.

We measure our season in years.

When I think of Christ, I think that He measures seasons in years too; actually He measures seasons in eternal measurements.

Can we extend our season too?