Saturday, November 28, 2015

Middle of the Night Thoughts

It's 1:40am and I'm laying in bed desperate for sleep. Without sleep I am intolerable to be around. Yet tonight it's not coming. Usually when I can't sleep i scroll through Pinterest for some mindless activity, but tonight my mind is much heavier. We had our Thanksgiving Dinner at ReBUILD tonight (our outreach center). We spent two hours feeding people & visiting with them and trying to do our best to love on them. I'm reminded of the needs. They are overwhelming. We deliver food to a friend. She has no heat. Winter is coming. I meet new neighbors who need diapers for their baby. I'm reminded of the needs. These are people that God loves just as much as He loves me. Bad decisions may have been made in the past, I don't know. Should those bad decisions be held over their heads forever? Do I want my bad decisions held against me forever? No! Do I want grace shown to me? YES! So I will lay here tonight and I will pray myself to sleep. I will pray that I take advantage of each opportunity that God gives me to show His loves to others! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I Love You....the real kind!

love that TV show. 
I love these new shoes. 
I love cupcakes. 
I love diet Pepsi. 
I love you. 

We throw that LOVE word around a lot. I wonder though, if we when we say it, do we mean it? Especially when we say I love you to another person. Do we mean it as a from the depths of our soul kind of love? I want to! I am all about love. Grace and love trumps law and rules any day for me. If I'm going to err on one side or the other please let it be on the love and grace side. 

I was leaving a friends house yesterday and as I was leaving she said "I love you....the real kind." Oh yes! The real kind! That's how I want to live. That's not just how I want to love I believe that's how God has called me to love! Love people with a real kind of love. There's so much hurt going on all around us...
In our city. 
In our country. 
In our world. 

Are we showing those people in our city, our country, our world the real kind of love? We are living in difficult times. Times when a REAL kind of love is so needed. People need to not just hear the words. They need to see the words put into actions. The real kind of love put into action! 

Look around you today. Ask God who and how you can love. And not just flippantly say words to, but to truly, really, deeply love...the real kind! 
Renee ❤️

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Made New Night




Hello friends! I just wanted to share some photos from Made New night and Story Hour last night! It was a great time! Our project this week was to make a rug.  I wanted to make the rug for the rebuild buildings, specifically for our future class space.  I also wanted to make a rug because it is a cost effective way for the women to make rugs for their homes.  The project cost around ten dollars to make and it is a fairly large rug.  My favorite part of the evening was when the kids from story hour came and in and wanted to help with the rug as well.  We all had a great time.  We didn't get the rug finished, as it is fairly large, but we have a project to work on in the coming weeks in our spare time, which will create a one of a kind rug that each of us put our heart into.

- Kayla H

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Gotta Love 'Em

The world could use a little more love in my opinion. I have been thinking so much about what it really means to love you neighbor...and I mean really love your neighbors....

Growing up, in fact up until pretty recently, loving my neighbor meant loving the 'pretty people'.  I was supposed to love the little old lady next door, the family at my church, the kids in the neighborhood.  It was always easy to love my neighbors, because my neighbors were well...loveable. It's funny how that works isn't it.  It is only recently that I have come to realize and embrace the fact that my neighbors...are everyone.  It's that guy who you locked your car doors for, it's the inmate in jail, it's the woman who made some bad choices along the way and is now paying the consequences. Everyone is your neighbor, so the question is, how do we practically love them like Jesus does.

The way that I have come to practically learn how to love my neighbor is through a very simple idea:
If you wouldn't say it about yourself, 
don't say it so someone else...

If you wouldn't say it about someone else, 
don't say it about yourself. 

It's a very simple way to think about how to love your neighbor.  I have found it to be a useful standard for how to treat others, and how to treat yourself.  If you would want someone to grant you a kindness and grace in a situation, can't you lend that kindness to someone else.  It's a practical twist on the golden rule.  I mean, we were granted immeasurable grace by the creator of the universe, so I think we could all stand to extend just a fraction of that grace to those around us.  This world and our neighborhood is broken and hurting.  I believe that love is the greatest resource we have, and we need to use it.  There is so much hate in this world, and in my opinion, it can't hurt to at least try spreading a little love.  

One of the hardest parts of loving those around us is that many of our neighbors are difficult to love, and yet, we are called to love all of our neighbors.  We have to love that little old lady around the corner....but we also have to love the criminal, we have to love the neighbor spewing hate from behind their computer screen.  The man standing on the corner spewing hate from behind a picket sign is your neighbor too (I know, I know I don't like it any more that you do, but we have to love them anyways).  We can't judge people based on how they appear.  It's like see a puppy and growling angry dog.  It's obviously going to be so much easier to love the puppy. However, consider the fact that maybe the angry dog is protecting you from an intruder....and that adorable little guy just ate all the family photos (a high crime in the puppy community).  My point is, is that the people that you have trouble loving, may not be who you think they are.  We can't know them for sure until we get to know their story, and we can do that by listening to them.  Listening to people, and truly seeing them how God sees them, that is the face of loving your neighbor.  We don't have to approve of everything our neighbors do, we are never going to approve of everyone, but we have to show kindness to them anyways.  This world has enough hatred and judgement in it already, it can't hurt to try treating others the way that we would want to be treated.  

-Kayla H 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More Than A Bowl Of Chili

We had chili night at ReBUILD on Saturday evening. I love those nights. I love going down and hanging out with the neighbors. Some of them have been coming to events since we first started hosting them. Some are new friends that we haven’t known for very long. What’s so great is that we get to spend the time just talking to them, getting to know them and building relationships with them. I never want to go down as some type of scary church person. I go down as the completely, messed up person that I am. I don’t wear a mask. I certainly don’t pretend that I have anything all together. I try and just be a non-judgmental friend to someone who may be struggling. Someone who needs to know that no matter what they have done or what they may be currently doing God still loves them!

ReBUILD is about relationships. We are about building trust. We about valuing each person’s life. We are about meeting spiritual needs as well as meeting physical needs. It takes both to make it in this world. I have seen strong truth spoken into people’s lives at one of our cookouts (that’s a night I’ll never forget). I have been prayed over by a man in the community who just wants to support what we are trying to do. I saw people on Saturday come back through the chili line 3 or 4 times because they were hungry and needed to be physically fed. It’s when they come through the line and you are filling their bowl that you get a chance to lock eyes. The eyes tell a lot. They tell about past pain and more often they tell about current pain. When you are serving them you get a chance to greet them with a smile. You can acknowledge that they are a real person, with real feelings and that no matter what they just want to be loved. That’s what we try and do. Just love them….but the cool thing is that while we are “just” loving them they begin to see us as “normal” (although I KNOW there is nothing normal about me) that’s when the relationship begins. That’s when we’re driving down the street and see a friend walking we can roll the window down and yell “ Hey! What’s up?” And yes, I have done that many times.

We are not just about a bowl of chili. The bowl of chili is just a tool. A tool to say we love you! To say you are valuable to us, but more importantly you are valuable to God!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Made New Night - 10/6/15

Hello friends! Kayla H here! I just wanted to share some of the photos from our Made New Co class this past week.  This week we worked on learning how to hem a basic pair of pants.  Our goal in teaching this was to not only teach a valuable skill, but to also eventually be able to provide a service.  Everyone was able to get an introduction into hemming.  One of our good friends brought us several pairs of her pants and I showed everyone a step by step process and then each person hemmed a leg.  We worked both with hand stitching and on the machines that were so generously donated to us by another friend.  Outside, the children had story time.  It was a great time of fellowship and learning. We were so pleased to have some of our friends back who had been missing for awhile, as well as some new faces.  





Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Called To Adventure

Hello! My name is Kayla H.  I am terrible at talking about myself, but I am going to give this a try anyways.  I came into working with Rebuild through teaching craft classes.  I have always been 'crafty' and I have always been making things.  It is one of the things that makes my soul come alive.  I have my own business, and I have been making and selling things for years, and it is something that I have always enjoyed.  Earlier this year, Renee approached me about teaching craft classes to some of the women at Rebuild, and it was an idea that I was completely in love with.  Now, I teach classes to the women at Rebuild every other week.  Then, I help them to sell the items, we sell both on Etsy and locally, at craft fairs and such (Shameless plug: You can check out our Etsy shop in the sidebar of this blog)  For every item that the women make and sell, they get sixty percent of the profit.  These classes allow us time to fellowship and talk, but it is also a time for these women to make money with dignity.  It is something that they made with their hands, and they can make money from it.  It is also a time of teaching new skills.  Teaching these classes and being involved in other events at Rebuild is something that I loved from the very moment I started doing it.

In the beginning of this, when I was first approached with the idea by Renee.   I loved the idea, and I wanted to do it, but in the back of my mind I thought that it was meant for someone else.  I was going through some things in my life, and I felt that I couldn't help anyone because of all the things that I had been through and done.  I thought that in order to help people and to work on something this amazing, I had to have my life completely together, and to have everything figured out.  I have dealt with anxiety for most of my life, and it has caused some real problems for me.  I didn't think that I had enough wisdom, experience, or be involved in something that helped other people. I thought that my mess was too big to be of help to anyone else.  However, I decided to jump headfirst and do it anyways. When something is meant for you, you can feel it in your your bones.  Teaching these classes just felt right from the moment I heard it, so I went for it.  It has been a crazy ride ever since, and I have loved every second of it.  It was a real walking by faith moment for me.

I have never really talked about it before, but Renee approaching me with this idea came at just the right time in my life.  I have learned more from working at Rebuild than I ever thought I would.  The women who come to these classes are teaching me more about hope, faith, and second chances than I could ever teach them.  I have also learned so much working with the other people who work at Rebuild.  They have taught me about faith and what it looks like to truly have a heart for other people.  They have taught me what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Christ.  I have also learned something vitally important about God. He doesn't need me to be perfect to be used.  I am far from perfect (far far from perfect), and I get to be used to do something that is not only amazing, but something that makes me feel alive.  God does not need you to have everything together in your life to use you, it's actually sometimes the complete opposite.  That is one of the most valuable lessons I have learned so far on this adventure.  I have learned that I don't need all the answers, I just have to be there for people.  We all need other people.   You need other people, and you need to be that person to somebody else.  I don't think that this is such a radical idea, to just love other people right where they are, and to be open to being loved in the same way.  No one has it all together, God can still use you, and He still needs you to stick around.  I like to think of it that the hands and feet of Jesus were probably far from perfect.  His hands scarred from the work, and feet callused and blistered.  In the same way, in order to be the hands and feet of Christ in this world, sometimes we have scars, but those scars can be used to create beautiful things.  The scars are proof of battles fought, of victories won. I have learned that I don't have to have it all together to do something of worth.  I am still far from perfect, and I never will be perfect, but I get to be involved in something unbelievable.  I have heard it before, but now I truly understand that God is in the business of redemption.

I chose the name for our business as Made New for many reasons.  The first being the obvious that we would be making things.  The second being that the people who come to our classes are being made new.  They are growing.  The third being much more personal, in that I am growing and I am being made new every day, because some people in my life never gave up on me and because God never gave up on me.  I think that if I were God I would have given up on me years ago, but He never did.  My one and only main goal in everything I do, is to show people the same things I was given.  I want to show them hope, and that second chances are real.  I want to show them that I will never give up on them, and neither will God.  He will take whatever mess we throw at Him, and he will make it new.

2 Corinthians 5: 17 - This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun.  

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Here We Go!

How do I even begin this introductory blog? I wish you all could have been walking through the past 3 years with me and see how this came to be. Maybe in future pieces I will delve deeper into it. Trust me it's been a work that only God Himself could have orchestrated. Only God could have brought you to abandoned, boarded up buildings and have you pray over them. Lead you, through a random situation, to the owner of said buildings. Get you into the buildings and then have all four buildings, that have been poured over in prayer, donated to you to use to reach the people of your city. That's exactly what He did for us. My husband and I (along with 2 other couples) began a non-profit (ReBUILD) in Huntington, West Virginia to reach the least reached of our city. We want to reach out in a very simple way: LOVE THEM LIKE JESUS LOVED! A team has been brought together (again completely by God) to dive head first into this work. We are all flawed human beings, who are no where near perfect, but who love Jesus and want to pour out ourselves on loving others. Our mission through this blog is make others aware of the needs in our city. We have extremely high rates of drug use, drug overdoses, Hepatitis C and  babies born addicted to drugs. It's easy to get frustrated and judge others, but they are people too. Jesus died for them just like He did for EVERY.SINGLE.PERSON. And they need to be loved just like everyone else does. I don't want others judging me for my sin, so what business of mine is it to judge anyone else.  

We are each going to be writing and sharing who we are and what we do. You will hear from Kayla (ReBUILD Advocate), Becky (ReBUILD Children's Director) and Kayla (ReBUILD Women's Growth & Development Director). These women are very near and dear to my heart. I can't wait for you to meet each of them. 

Let me start the introductions with myself. I am Renee. I am legally the president of ReBUILD, but that title makes me really uncomfortable because all I really want to do is love on people. My man (Paul) has been beside me for 25 years! That is a freaking long time! We've got three adult children (how the heck did that happen). Meg (& Mike), Jake (& Tori) and Sydney. We also have two more that God has placed in our home right now. We are bit on the spicy side and sometimes a little inappropriate. Whatever we do, we do loudly and passionately. We should definitely come with a warning. My life has been all about the man and the kids (and the bakery that I owned and operated for a year). About 3 years ago I got involved in street ministry. I'm ashamed to say that I've lived in this city all but about a year of my life and I had no idea what was going on 20 minutes from my house. You see, when my kids were growing up we did what we were "supposed" to do. We went to church three times a week and that's it. Everything in our lives was centered around a building. That is all well and good. My kids all love Jesus and are actively involved in local churches, but the part that we missed was that while we were doing our church thing and living in our nice, comfy houses there was a city falling apart. That meant that people were falling apart and I was doing nothing to help them. My life was forever changed the day I first walked the streets handing out food. I could no longer pretend that everything was ok. It was definitely NOT ok! People were hurting and and just needed to be loved. They were not going to come to a church building because they've been judged and hurt by those church people. They were looked down upon and treated like their lives didn't matter. So I (dragging along my poor husband, who now is as passionate as I am) decided to go to them. Go spend time with them. Get to know them. Show them that just because we are Christians and go to a church building doesn't mean that we are without sin. I am a self-proclaimed disaster most of the time. I am anxiety and fear ridden. I've had to give those sins to Jesus over and over again. I am a shopping addict. It's caused more problems then I can write right now. I am working now to leave that behind along with the anxiety and fear. I am not flawless. I will not wear a mask in church or anywhere else. What I will do is use my imperfections to try and show that we all struggle, but we are all worthy of love! What I will NOT do is judge or hate on anyone....because LOVE > hate ALWAYS!!! 

Thanks for coming on this journey with us! It's the scariest thing I've, personally, ever done. But I love my city and I love our people and I am ready to share that love!