4 Things That Made My Week

As this post goes live, I am preparing for another week at my job (you probably know what it is, but I've been cautioned that I may not be able to use the name anymore here). Most of my job I love, especially when I get to interact and connect with kids at the after school program where I work. But I don't always know if I am having an impact, or if I am doing things right. Plus there are always those "extra things" that make work not-so-enjoyable.

But four things happened recently that reconfirmed that God has me here for a purpose:

  1. I saw one boy from our program at Subway a few weeks ago. He was getting a sandwich devoid of vegetables, except for pickles. As I was eating my healthier version, I asked him, "Didn't you say you wanted to be a football player when you grow up?" (He is in 3rd grade and is all of 50 pounds, maybe.) He replied that was correct. I said, "Pro football players eat vegetables. Lots of them." We laughed and left it at that. Well, a week or so later, he came up to me and said, "Mr. Joey, guess what? I got went to Subway and got lettuce on my sandwich. And it was good!" He made one healthier choice because of a little bit of encouragement.
  2. One girl (age 10) was having a rough attitude and being disrespectful to other kids. Normally a sweet girl, I figured something else had to be going on. I pulled her aside to talk with her. I asked who she lived with; she lives with her sister, her mom, and her aunt. I smiled and said, "All girls? I bet you like that?" She shook her head. Ugh. Talk about me putting my foot in my mouth. I said I was sorry and that I bet that wasn't fun. Not knowing what else to say, I let her go back to playing. But when her mom picked her up, she handed me a note (she must have sneaked off to write it) that read, "Mr Joey, I love you." 
  3. Another boy got off the bus one day, with his eyes red and fists clenched. Another member told me that he almost got in a fight on the bus. I pulled him aside and asked him simple questions like, "Was some other kid messing with you on the bus?" Yes. "Is he in this program?" No. "Did you fight him back?" No, was his reply. I was so proud of him for making the choice to keep his anger in check.
  4. One other event actually happened a few weeks ago, but I found out the back story just last week. A 7th grade girl came to me for help with her math homework. I figured the leader in that area was busy helping another student, so I helped her. Something about "stems and leaves" -- which I don't ever remember seeing before -- but quickly determined that it had to do with place values. We figured out the answers to her questions and I sent her back to her group. Well, I found out that the volunteer in that room was helping her but soon got stumped. The middle school girl said, "Can I go ask Mr. Joey? He'll know the answer." 

I am so excited for the connection that I've been able to make with kids like this. And please know that this is not about the great things that I am doing. This is God's story. God is at work in Allendale, and it is a joy that He is letting us be a part of it.


    1. So grateful for the encouragement you received and that your eyes were open to each of these moments throughout the week. I think you are covering it all! Veggies, homework, self-control and gender challenges and doing it all with love and wisdom. I think it is neat that the kids see it too.
      Continuing in prayer!

    2. Oustanding stories to share! Many times its the small things that we take for granted that can have such an impact in others lives.

      I'll continue to pray for Allendale!

    3. I'm just glad kids in Allendale know how to eat an entire sandwich! Maybe TJ should spend more time in Allendale!

    4. Great post, Joey! I'm praying for you and your family!

    5. Those are the moments you cling to! I am glad you are documenting them. Days will come when you feel as you are having no impact; remember these days! Hang in there! Joanna and the kids will be there soon!

    6. wow........just awesome, i love when God be all over stuff! keep up the God (good) work!