Baltimore (Monday)

This morning after a quick hotel breakfast, we loaded up and got on the road for Baltimore.

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Tina’s shirt says it all!
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Susan leading a devotion time on the bus with the middle school girls.
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Coming in to Richmond

We arrived in Baltimore in time to take in lunch and tool around the Inner Harbor Area.  We also visited the top of the World Trade Center, Baltimore, also known as the “Top of the World.” There were stunning views and names of those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.  And…there were paddle boats.

 

The highlight of the day, though, was our visit to the Children’s Home of Baltimore.  The Home is a beautiful 44 acre residential facility for young men and women, ages 13-21, who are there for a variety of circumstances in their lives.  We were warmly welcomed by their staff, who were genuinely happy we were there, though I know groups like ours probably interfere with their “routines.”

Some of our young men played basketball with some of their young men before the program.  The real outcome of that match probably depends on who is doing the telling.

After our tour, we had pizza delivered and ate with them, trying to break the ice with limited success.  Several of our kids expressed that it was awkward.

I struggled with getting the sound system to work.  I was completely drenched in sweat, but Charles George and Pastor Tim helped me, and we reached Karl Marzolf.  Between all of us, we came up with a makeshift system that sufficed for the moment.  When it was time for our program, PJ read the situation well, and decided that we were going to do an impromptu version of the program – one that was abbreviated, without the skits and only some of the songs.  The decision was perfect.

As the kids stood to begin, there seemed to be a bit of a racial divide in the room – black on one side, white on the other.  Amongst our audience (mainly young people with very difficult life circumstances) there was some snickering, backs turned, heads down.  Then we started with Anna Scott’s, rafter-shaking, unbelievable version of Old Country Church.  Toes started tapping, faces looked up, and shoulders and heads moved to the music.  IGNITE’s sound was the best many of us had heard as they proclaimed the gospel to these young strangers.  Ashley sang What You Want.  More social ice melted and more smiles broke out.  Joanna and Caitlin sang One Step Away beautifully and with confidence in that circumstance, and continued to connect with those at the Home.

A young man from the facility approached Susan and told her that he would like to rap a song by the Christian artist, Lecrae.  We were able to pull it up on YouTube and he got up and nervously began to rap.  A little way into the song, JC got up and started to dance beside the young man.  As he busted a move (you can tell I’m an old guy by that language), he and the young man smiled at each other–encouraging one another.  The crowd began to REALLY engage, laughing, smiling, and clapping.  When the young man finished, he received a standing ovation.  His day had been made and, at least for the time, walls had come down and hearts were touched.

With inspiration, but without warning, PJ asked if I had the track to Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee. I found it on my laptop.  It had been a crowd pleaser at the fundraiser in the spring, and so with no recent practice they sang their hearts out.  As PJ said, they “blew her hair back” with their sound.  Most of the staff came out into the room and sang along as Alex and Anna Scott led the choir to a rousing rendition of that song.  I like to think that those from the Children’s Home and we left that room a bit different than we went in.  Thank you, Holy Spirit, for giving us those times and opportunities in which we connect with our brothers and sisters with whom we might not otherwise connect without Your power and grace.

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Our welcome at the Children’s Home.

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Concert in The Children’s Home of Baltimore

Our drive to the beautiful Eden Resort in Lancaster, PA, was uneventful.  We had a little down time, and then met in a downstairs conference room where we discussed our day and our experiences.  We had an open discussion about race, breaking down barriers and forging ahead, even when things are awkward or uneasy.  Kate and Lily gave us the perfect devotion before bed.   Their message was that, though they (members of IGNITE) are young, by working together this week, they really can show Jesus to others.

Thank you all for continuing to pray for us and encourage us in our journey.   I’m sure that PJ and my wife will have corrections when they proofread this for me tomorrow when they read it!  Forgive me, for the hour is late!

Noah

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Almost there! A welcome sight, indeed!
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Susan Keelin thought you all might get a kick out of “a glimpse behind the scenes” –room assignments and chaperone responsibilities from Sunday night.
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Circle up/debriefing/devotion time tonight at the end of a long, good day.

6 thoughts on “Baltimore (Monday)

  1. I am so thankful that our children had this experience, all be it awkward at times. Seeing and feeling how God can break down the wall of division, even a little bit, is so powerful. Way to go JC for stepping out and bridging the divide! I know it had to have been an amazing sight! Love truly seemed to break through while you were all there. ❤️ Prayers on the next leg of the trip! Be safe everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Claire Jameson June 12, 2018 — 1:19 pm

    Dear Noah, thank you for taking the time to write this blog and for doing it so well!
    You know how it is when you ask your child “what did you do today? ”
    We get the bare bones answer.
    But you fill in the blanks and tell us the full and enriched story.
    Thank you SO much for taking the time, giving council and chaperoning our children.
    We know they are in safe hands.
    Claire 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We are extremely proud of all of you & the lives you are touching this week through your music & the gospel! Keep up the good work:) Enjoy your time with one another. Keeping you all in our prayers.
    Jeff & Amy
    aka-Ava’s parents

    Like

  4. Chris Carpenter June 12, 2018 — 5:03 pm

    Goosebumps.

    Like

  5. Touched by the way The Spirit is using these youth to reach others. Your blog is beautifully written!

    Like

  6. Ashley Coppedge June 13, 2018 — 10:12 am

    I am so proud of our youth. Jesus was in that room. I got goose bumps reading this. The power of music is amazing!! Thank you Noah for taking us along with you guyz.

    Like

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