A moment of honesty, friends.

I have waited on telling everyone what I do at the Dream Center mainly because I was genuinely hoping where they placed me was a grave misunderstanding. I have been placed in the “Corporate Relations” office.

…ummm, what is that?

My question exactly.

For over a week now I have been waiting for someone to correct this mistake.

Whilst I have had no other option but to start work in the Corporate Relations office I have come to know that we are the backbone of the Dream Center. We are the reason food goes out to thousands of people each week, we are the reason mattresses and dressers are given to families so that their children aren’t taken from them because of their poverty, we are the reason we are able to throw an event that will give out backpacks and school supplies as well as dental work and hair cuts to thousands of families next weekend. Because of our job, the Dream Center can function. We build relationships with companies and that is how we get miraculously amazing amounts of donations to help the people of Los Angeles.

And again, for a week I have been waiting for someone to correct the mistake of me being in this department.

This summer while I was at Wildwood I came to the realization that I am the kind of leader that has to lead from the inside, I can’t tell everyone what to do, teach, play, and then sit back and watch as it all plays out. I can’t watch others take on the emotional and physical needs of others while I just observe. I can’t watch others get their hands messy while mine stay clean.

Then I came to the Dream Center…

The realization that I would have an office job blew, like really sucked. So last Saturday when I was given my Adopt-A-Block site I was ready to dig in with the people in that neighborhood, love on some kids, pray for some people. I was assigned to a completely Hispanic neighborhood, which is not uncommon in LA, but I was the only one serving at the site who did not speak Spanish. More than that the people at our site are very “I’ll take what you give me, but then I’m gone.” ish. Last Saturday I came home from AAB feeling so useless.

All week starting work in Corporate Relations I have felt so very pointless. I don’t know what I’m doing. Nor do I want to do what I am doing.

Throughout this week people in the CR Department have told me how much they dreaded being in this department when they first got it, but now there is so much they have learned and can do. One of them told me, “Anyone can do the ministry side of this, but few know how to make it possible, and that is what we do.” My dear British friend across the hall, Rochelle, who also works in CR with me, and who has the same feelings about it I do told me the other day that I seem like someone who would start a non-profit organization, and this job will teach me exactly how to do that.

I know. I know.

Last night I was put on kid’s church for our Thursday night church service. I was so excited, yesss finally I will get to love on someone, get to hold some babies! I got there at 5:30pm… Two hours later we have no babies in the 0-2 room. One 2-year-old from another room was sleeping in the crib in our room but that’s it. So I sat there while the other girls I was working with talked endlessly to each other. I thought I was gonna burst.

Really, God? Really?

All I could think was, why are You withholding this from me?

Around 7:30pm the baby woke up and I went to pick him up. He hadn’t been asleep long so I sat and rocked him and he fell back asleep, slept for a long while in my arms. That was it. That was all I was asking for. Within seconds I went from feeling utterly pointless, to having purpose. He didn’t need to be awake, I didn’t need conversation. I just needed to give love.

Once he woke up he would not let me put him down. He had a firm grip on my arm and kept his head against my chest. One of the women working in the nursery next door told me the story of the baby boy’s family. He is the youngest of 7 kids that the dad is raising on his own within the Dream Center’s homeless family program. The mom just left them a few weeks ago.

I held him and I rocked him and I thought, when was the last time he had a mama just rock him in her arms? I could be that for him in this moment.

Since this is our first week our Department head has been sending us to do outreach in the afternoons so we understand all that we do in the office makes all the ministries possible. Today, the CR interns got to go out with our Project Provention ministry, this ministry is for families who have open cases with social work because of poverty. They love their kids, but they don’t have everything they need for them. They may lack food, beds, dressers, a fridge, whatever it is the DC works with the social workers and these families and Project Provention goes to these families every week with food for them.

We went to four families today, one hit all of us hard. We went to see a woman who just got her own apartment for her family on Tuesday and the DC was able to completely furnish it for her when they had nothing for it whatsoever. This woman shared her testimony of prostituting herself for 12 years, over that time she had 10 babies, all of which were taken from her as soon as they were born, not to mention the kids she had before becoming a prostitute. It was a story of absolute redemption. It was incredible. Her judge, other prostitutes, social workers, anyone that has known her will tell you that if she can turn from her ways there is indeed a God.

Sitting next to her as she told her story, hugging her, making silly faces at her youngest baby… Then leaving… as we left we all agreed this particular ministry is awesome… Then it hits us this is probably the first and last time we’ll ever get to take part in it. Rochelle says to me, “But because of our job her apartment is furnished. That wouldn’t have happened without what we do.”

I know. I know. I KNOW.

Deep inside I feel I am in the right department, but God it just kills me. Tonight at dinner I was talking with a guy who works in the Teen Discipleship Program (where I wanted to be) and he said they need help there, and Rochelle said, “Oh, don’t tell her that.” So I freaked again. I really do know that learning what I could learn in Corporate Relations would be HUGE. I really could use what I learn there. I have a big vision and I need to know all sides of making that vision happen.

But the idea of being in an office while other people get to be in South Central or on Skid Row loving, serving, building relationships with the people of this city… My city… Oh, it’s a lot to process.

I trust God, and His timing, and His placement.

But dear God, I do NOT get it.

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One thought on “A moment of honesty, friends.”

  1. Oh, I’m sorry Leslie!
    When I was going through my application to volunteer with Watoto, I surprisingly did NOT want to be at the babies’ home. It was pretty much the last placement I wanted. And then of course, I finally got my assignment…the babies’ home! And I was so upset. It was a while until I called anyone and told them because I just needed to process it. I didn’t understand why God would have me go through all that and then put me where I didn’t want to be. But I am so so SO glad that I got put there, it literally changed the course of my life. God knows so much better than we do.
    And I know you know that, and I know that you are trusting in him. But I also know that it is hard, and frustrating, and confusing at times. I’ll be praying for you!!

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