Friday, July 18, 2014

Cafe Time

This has become an impersonal world. The speed of internet communication is a blessing but it can be an excuse not to sit down and get to know someone face to face.

We all need a place to meet outside of work. How can we love others if we don't know anything about them? We are commanded as Christians to love one another.

Here are some simple steps to that end:
1. Pick someone you nod at as you go by. Stop. Talk to them for a couple of minutes.

2. Next time mention that you like to go to x cafe for lunch or dinner. Reveal something of yourself. Tell the person why you like the place. Then listen to the response.

3. Stop again and talk to the person about anything of general concern. In this crazy world the person is getting to assess whether or not you are safe to be around.

4. Stop. Converse. Mention you would like to have coffee or lunch sometime.

Please note how often the process involves you stopping. This isn't easy unless you ask God to give you more love for others and focus on them rather than self. We can love because we have been and are loved.

A very busy mother and I started with messaging. I hated to bother her. She was home schooling 4 children. My husband thought it very strange that I was messaging my next door neighbour.

"WHY DONT YOU JUST GO OUT TOGETHER", he said. So, of course, I sent a text message and we went out to a local cafe.

We had a great visit and she could rest. She mentioned another neighbour with a serious need. We three went out and real concern and trust came about.

I was surprised last night to be treated to dinner and given a going away present by my cafe friends. Yes, I felt cared for and valued.

Now I am moving, but cafe time will continue. I trust they will invite someone else, I have found my new cafe and it is just a matter of stopping and talking on the new block.

When we stop and care, the impersonal becomes personal. We can be known and know others so that the Love of God can be seen and felt amongst all of us.

Olga's Story

Before I leave San Jose, here is a true story of a mother that raised 3 successful sons in the south side of San Jose.

Olga and her husband came from Mexico with nothing except a dream of a better life in America. Her husband took any job to support the family. She became the stay-at-home mom who watched everything including her sons who shared school life with her. She had vigilant eyes and I can tell you from observation that Olga has a strong work ethic and is happy to clean toilets and the gym.

Her story unfolded over a number of visits with her. When her middle son was in junior high, he just announced to her that he wouldn't be going to school that day. He wasn't sick – he just felt lazy.

"Fine," Olga, said, "Here is the broom. You can go outside now and sweep all the leaves until they are gone." He swept and swept. When his friends walked by, he still was busy. This son graduates from San Jose State this December in criminology.

Good parenting is essential. Olga never let down her vigilance. She went through their backpacks and clothes pockets everyday. She knew where they were at all times. No parties happened without adults present in the house. Parenting takes lots of work. Kids can still make bad choices, but discipline and a strong work ethic plus insistence on an education have paid off. 

Olga was shocked to tell me about friends who had worked hard at their jobs but grown sons, dropped out of school, now sit around the house, expecting parents to feed, clothe them, etc.
In Project Lost Sheep, we encourage education and we also have Parenting Classes, because adults need reinforcement to do the job.
"My husband has always backed up the discipline," Olga says. "He has gone from temporary jobs to having his own business of a floor installation company".

Let's applaud those who work hard to make the real American Dream.