Archive | July, 2009

Spero Project- Part 3

28 Jul

This week we wrap up our series on the Spero Project. The video highlights several facets of Spero that have taken place this summer.

Please take a second to watch the video, and then go here to learn more about Spero.

Spero Project, Part Two- Spero:Voice

22 Jul

This week Brad and Kim share about the origin of a Tuesday night tutoring group that meets with a group of refugees. This missional community helps with english, childcare, mentoring, and all around life skills.

Check out the full story by watching the video below.

To join up with this effort on tuesday nights, email kim@thesperoproject.com

Spero Project, Part 1

15 Jul

This week we begin celebrating the story of The Spero Project, an effort anchored by Brad and Kim Bandy.

Essentially, Spero exists to network resources between churches and non-profits.

A major facet of Spero’s service work in Oklahoma City is centered around Spero:Voice, an effort to reach out and befriend displaced people living and working in Oklahoma City.

This week, we will learn about the summer camp program Spero hosts each Tuesday and Thursday, benefitting school age children in the refugee community.

Take a few minutes to listen to Brad and Kim share about how this began, and how it has impacted their lives.

Who is a Refugee?

“Who is a refugee?  A refugee is someone who has been forced to flee his or her country because of persecution, war, or violence. A refugee has a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. Most likely, they cannot return home or is afraid to do so. War and ethnic, tribal and religious violence are leading causes of refugees fleeing their countries.” – United Nations Refugee Agency

It is important to remember that a refugee is different from an immigrant.

Rather than relocating to a new country by choice, a refugee has been removed from his or her country by a governing body (usually the UN) and placed in a new country because the place they have always called home has now become too dangerous to do so.

Many refugees have lost family members.

All have lost a piece of their lives, being removed from their homeland due to cruelty; war, famine, genocide.

A Word From the Spero Project

“Spero:Voice is an integral part of The Spero Project, and is where much of our passion lies. The mission of Spero:Voice is to partner the resources of the local church with the needs of the International refugee community, specifically through education, job training, social networking, and advocacy.

A person living as a refugee has unique challenges in so many ways.  Most refugees come to America with a suitcase and nothing else to their name.  They have fled war-torn countries which leaves them dealing with deep emotional and spiritual issues, and they have little or no training in English which makes even the simplest task challenging.  Yet we have found in this refugee community the most inspiring, loving, generous, and hopeful group of people we’ve ever met.  Resilient to the core, there is an appreciation for life and the hope for a future that just can’t be found in someone who hasn’t faced such death and uncertainty.

So, with these things in mind—the challenges and the potential—Spero:Voice wanted to begin moving towards an educational, socially-enriching program for the children of the refugee community in Oklahoma City.  This summer it’s twice a week and next summer we hope for more!  Each Tuesday and Thursday, children from Iraq, Russia, Burma, Sudan, The Congo, and Liberia enter into one little playground in NW Oklahoma City.  They are met with loving volunteers who want them to be prepared for the next school year, as well as have a safe place to interact with each other.

Here’s what’s fascinating to me when I look across the playground:  I am staring directly into the eyes of a young lady from Burma.  Sure, we’re working on a craft project together, so she’s none the wiser—but I’m picturing all the statistics I’ve heard, the stories I’ve read, and the pictures I’ve seen of young Burmese ladies JUST LIKE HER that have been stolen from their homes or even sold by their parents into the human trafficking industry.  It is clear to me that the Lord has hand-picked this precious young lady to be in Oklahoma City.  Now, there’s a choice for those of us lucky enough to be around her.  Do we treat her merely as a victim or do we walk alongside her, praying for her, encouraging her, and leveraging her to use all the resources she has now in America to help her become fully alive?

I feel deep inside of me that part of that coming alive process for these children could include allowing the Lord to use them to set others in their home countries free.  Could they be the next great missionaries to their very own countries to champion for the rights of the oppressed?  I believe so.  Could they use all the education they have at their fingertips here to become professionals that lobby for legislation that will bring safety to their friends who have been forced into living as child soldiers?  I am staking everything I have on it!

Brad and I truly, truly feel the most blessed to be able to live our lives among such incredible people—both in the refugee community and in the Skyline community who serve so sacrificially beside us.  We feel Jesus would be in similar places were He walking on Earth today.  And sometimes His presence is so thick in the work He’s doing within this community that it’s hard to tell He isn’t. ”

Stay tuned as we hear more from the Spero Project in the following weeks.

Art From the Heart

6 Jul

Every final Wednesday of the month, the folks over at projectokc host an event called “Art From the Heart”.

They make birthday cards for widows, oprhans, and refugees.

It all started as an idea, but as it has been manifested it has gained favor and popularity among the arts community in Oklahoma City.

Here is the story of Art from the Heart.

To join up with this effort, visit projectokc.com or simply show up at Sauced in the paseo at 6:30 on the last wednesday of each month.

Tapestry

2 Jul

Joshua and Amy Newberry are investing time, money, and energy into a community of people on the south side of Oklahoma City. Here is a bit of their story, and a few ways to get involved.

The Tapestry Project is an organization that is revitalizing a deteriorating neighborhood through renovation, restoration, and connecting people in need to the resources that will equip them to thrive as a community. The vision is to create model for urban development and community transformation for women, children and families in crisis all across Oklahoma City.

Take a few moments and listen to Joshua and Amy talk about the origins of the Tapestry Project, as well as its purpose.

You can learn more about the tapestry project here.