Last Saturday, I had a rare unexpected day off. I used that opportunity to watch the March for Our Lives event. I sat proud of the way the youth stood up for what they believed in and demanded action! There are times when I am asked why do I spend time working with youth, and last Saturday was proof of why.
As I sit here writing this, I am preparing to leave for another Jamaica Mission Trip to work with youth there for another year, my heart is warmed by what I witnessed. In my youth there were people who poured into me and contributed to who I am today. I feel that it is important to give back to youth and help them develop into productive citizens. You never know how a simple encounter will impact a youth.
There are many programs out there you can become a part of. Big Brothers Big Sisters and Girls Empowered Mentally for Success are two programs that I am part of that strive to help you. I am a mentor in one program and on the board for the other. Even if you cannot give time, you can invest in programs in other ways.
I challenge every person that reads this to find someone to invest in our youth. There will come a day when they will be in charge of making decisions and policy changes. This can only happen through education and sharing.
Wow, just realized that I have not written anything since March of last year! The second part of last year I was focused on training for a half marathon and accomplishing goals that I had set for myself, that blogging fell to the side. But that is alright because I am back and ready to educate and advocate!
I usually start the first blog of the year talking about my goals for the year, but this year I want to do start off differently. There are so many issues in the news today that I could speak on, but I honestly do not know where to begin. So I am going to start this year off writing about preparing for another year serving the youth of Jamaica on a mission trip.
Today the team met to start preparation for the trip. I am excited about another year meeting new youth and having the opportunity to let God use me in whatever way He sees fit. I have been participating in this trip since my Junior year of undergrad (I refuse to count the years! LOL). We have an amazing team that is forming and we are looking for other people to go, assist financially, or pray. If you are interested in helping in any way, please let me know.
Until next week I leave you with this quote from my Passion Planner: “WHETHER YOU THINK YOU CAN, OR YOU THINK YOU CAN’T-YOU’RE RIGHT. HENRY FORD”
So things are bunkers in my life right now! I am studying for my licensure exam which is very expensive and I also have to pay for the fees to get licensed. I am moving to a new apartment on my birthday, which everyone knows takes a lot. And my brakes need to be repaired immediately! I determined that this year there was no way I could financially pay to go Jamaica. I had accepted that this year was not meant for me to go, but apparently God had other plans.
I received a call stating that the leaders were not accepting that I was not meant to be there this year due to finances. Then I received an email days later titled “Sending for Pumpkin A.K.A. Dr. Shandra Davis. She is in the middle of a move.” It was an email written by one of the leaders It was filled with pictures of me with campers and staff from previous trips. It also included my words about past trips I have attended. This brought tears to my eyes to know that this team has my back and they are willing to make the impossible, possible.
So I am sending out a SOS! It they can believe God to send the money, so can I! I leave for the trip on April 17th which is only 3 days after I move! The best birthday gift I can get this year is not only to be in a new home, but also to have the privilege to go minister to the children of Jamaica. So I am asking everyone to assist me in raising $1200 so I can go. You can go give online at the DBC website. Here is the link http://www.dbc.org/jamaica Just hit the big blue GIVE NOW button, sign in as a guest, fill in the form and put my name at the bottom box … just that easy!! If you would like to mail in a donation, please contact me directly for directions. If you are unable to share monetarily, please lift me and my team up as we prepare to go minister. Pray for the hearts that will be touched and changed.
Transformed Jamaica Mission Trip 2015
I am at it again and this time I have brought my workout partner with me! We are training for the Space Coast Half Marathon in Cocoa Beach, FL on November 27, 2016 to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through Team In Training. We are training and raising money for our Honored Hero, my mother, Shirley. Please help us raise money to help patients and to find a cure. You can make a donation at Shirley’s Sparkle Girls
Can you say tired! So today was the last full day and it was full of fun. We ended on a high note playing “Steal the bacon” after exercising at 6AM. We then had a wonderful morning session. I ended up spending an hour and a half with the boys. Today I was stretched as I taught the boys. The Holy Spirit led me to give my testimony about the failed marriage. This was the first time I have given that testimony to a group of males. It was hard, but I pushed through it and the boys were receptive. A number of them came up to me and spoke about the struggles they have gone through. They also talked about wanting to treat ladies differently.
The rest of the day was pure fun! The youth engaged in Field Day, we got dressed up, had a banquet, and ended with a great dance. At times the day was bitter sweet knowing it was the last day. A few of the youth have distanced themselves in preparation for goodbye. I am proud of the lives that have been transformed!! I may be horse and exhausted, but it is all worth it!
So the storm has started and it is a good one! Today we had an alter call at the request of the youth. How awesome is that! We had youth who accepted Christ as well as youth who rededicated their life. These youth were so pumped that it happened early in the day allowing for them to absorb so much more. I had the opportunity to continue speaking to the gentlemen, and even had a open forum with them. We addressed respecting women in authority based on issues that counselors have had and we addressed issues with the ladies, in conjunction with the intended curriculum. Throughout the rest of the day, the young men showed improvement in not only how they treated all of the females, but also in expressing themselves appropriately with their emotions. Many of them took great strides towards becoming a man.
In regards to the young ladies, I had the opportunity to share part of my testimony with the young ladies in my group where most of them are haunted by the memories of their past. These young ladies are focused on learning how to move forward and are taking risks by stepping out on faith through their actions at camp.
It was beautiful to walk around campus and observe the transformations taking place. This is turning into a perfect storm leading to lives being rebuilt and changed forever!
So I know that I have been away from the blog for a while. I have been retstructuring my life, which I will discuss later this week or next. So today is the first dayy of the 2015 DBC Jamaica Mission Trip where we conducted a camp for 60 youth under the Child Development Agency and workshops for the workers. Today was filled with travel and preparation. I am happy to finally be with all of the team. I was reunited with past family and friends, and introduced to new family and friends. I am excited about what God has in store. Please continue to life up the team and safe travels for those that will be coming tomorrow.
This year’s theme is “Transformed” with the key verse being Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing andn perfect will.” Please pray that lives will be transformed and the youth and workers will leave different, better than they came.
Brought attention to #WorldCancerDay by wearing green to represent Lymphoma and took a #KissCancerGoodbye photo with my Honored Hero, my mother. To end the night I was given one of the #LightTheNight Volunteers of the Year awards from the Suncoast Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society . I am so honored to be a volunteer for this great organization whose mission is to assist patients and cure blood cancers.
As I sit closing out the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march, I can only think of one word “HOPE.”
Last week I had the opportunity of facilitating my first cancer support group that was filled with men and women of all ages in various stages of their cancer fight and their caregivers. Our theme for that night was “HOPE.” I was inspired by their strength and moved by their individual stories. I was inspired by the group of people who wanted a place to belong, to share, cry, laugh, and learn. During that group I brought up the quote by the late Stuart Scott:
The members of this group were also inspired by his words and encouraged to keep going even as some faced upcoming medical procedures. I left that group feeling honored that they are allowing me to facilitate that group.
Throughout last week and this weekend their message of hope even facing life threatening and/or terminal illness has remained with me. This weekend has been filled with messages of hope as the country celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Selma March and the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. The people who marched 50th years ago with Dr. King did so on hope. Hope for a better future. Hope for equality. Dr. King stated:
I would agree. Nothing can be accomplished without hope no matter the situation, circumstances, or person. We have to have hope that things will change. Hope that we will accomplish our goals. Hope that we will survive. This does not mean that we do not walk out principles and steps to do what needs to be done. Hope is an action. Having hope allows us to wake up every morning and get out of bed. Hope allows us to push through the obstacles that come our way. Hope allows us to respond with love when those around us and close to us hurt us. Hope allows us to continue mentoring and teaching even when it seems like no one is listening or paying attention.
Today I rest in this verse and pray this prayer over all who reads this blog:
May we all continue to have hope as we move through the journey of life no matter what obstacles may come our way. Amen.