Live Like LucasThe non-profit organization Live Like Lucas was founded in August of 2015 in order to accomplish the goal of empowering youth to spread kindness. Our first official event was on January 16, 2016 where we had over 200 youth as well as adults participate in service projects and random acts of kindness in the Grand Rapids area. We served a pancake breakfast at Park church, made over 100 lunches and hygiene kits and distributed them to the poor along Division avenue. We made breakfast and did activities with the children at Hope Community, which is temporary housing for single moms and their children. We went to nursing homes and played bingo and bowling with the elderly. We distributed fifty 10.00 gift cards at Meijer as a random act of kindness. The result of just this one day was astounding. The volunteers had their eyes opened to situations that they had never been in before and met people unlike they had ever encountered. They saw people in poverty as real, worthy, human beings who weren’t just lazy. They saw the elderly, as one student put it “peppy and funny and mischievous.” They connected with people who were far outside of the Forest Hills “bubble.” And they wanted to go back. They wanted to do more. They asked, “When can we do this again?” Live Like Lucas is not just about spreading kindness out on the streets of Grand Rapids but also in our schools. We are currently researching programs and speakers to encourage our youth to practice kindness EVERY DAY- not just to their own friends but to those who feel alone and disenfranchised. We want to encourage friendships across all social, racial, and socio-economic boundaries. Teaching kindness also needs to start young. We are working on a program with “Lucas puppets” for the social workers to use to teach lessons on being kind to others and encourage conversation about sadness and loneliness and bullying. The kids will be able to put letters to Lucas in a mailbox so they can express their feelings and in turn the social workers can address these issues. One especially powerful method of learning about kindness in a global way is through mission projects. Our goal for next summer is to fund or partially fund at least 10 trips to Guatemala for kids who would otherwise be unable to go due to financial concerns. Lucas went 2 years ago with my grandparents and it was life changing for him to see the utter poverty and lack of medical care that was available for these people they visited in remote villages. He was prompted to really think about what his future looked like- he had planned on going into the medical field and now felt drawn to the mission field. Live Like Lucas has a vision of youth who look outside of themselves, look outside of wealth and power and popularity as goals and really see the world as how it is- full of hurting people. Even a small act of kindness can turn someone’s day around. It may even change their life.
Monthly Archives: August 2015
I had absolutely no intention of blogging tonight, I have been working on candles for about 4 hours, and was working on the tedious task of cleaning up wax drips and putting away the various paraphernalia I use and was really looking forward to going to bed. Until I realized it was 12:23 am, August 16.
When I realized the day had turned over my eyes immediately filled with tears, catching me completely by surprise and my heart just filled with that incredible heaviness, that physical hurt. It hurts to hurt. My eyes burn, my throat is tight, I can hardly breathe. My chest is like lead.
I have been avoiding going to this place so much lately. Trying so hard to avoid that hurt. Feeling like I had to try really hard to distract myself lest I get sucked down into the mire of grief.
It has not been hard to stay busy and distracted. Guatemala, of course- getting ready to go, being there, reflecting on the week, thinking about my goals going forward. Working on making the Live Like Lucas foundation happen. Trying to figure out what to do about the race. It just isn’t going to be able to happen this fall, sadly but instead next summer. It is an extremely involved process and every duck has to be in a row.
Oh and of course my four other children. My 24/7 job. Well almost. I do get a night off now and then…
I guess what I am getting at is I feel another tidal wave coming on. The mind will only let you tuck away those thoughts for so long before they coming flooding out again and what better day than 7 months to the day that my son went to heaven.
The feeling that I have in the pit of my stomach of that of total fear. I have lost him. I have lost him until heaven and that just seems so far away. I have thousands of hours, millions of minutes to survive until I can finally join him in heaven -although no one knows how much time they have.
I wish so badly, that I could take him to drivers training. To go get school supplies. I ache to have him with us at the pool with us. To sit next to him on the couch watching Big Bang Theory. To take him and his friends bowling. I see his friends and classmates on my Facebook news feed every day, their lives continuing on at a rapid exciting pace and my son’s has stopped.
It is beyond comprehension.
I could have written 10,000 plans for my life and not one of them would have included losing a child.
Like a million carat diamond ring slipping into the bottom of the ocean. Only worse. Much much worse.
I have been avoiding that pain of loss. The one that goes all the way into the marrow of your bones. I carry the heaviness every day, that will never stop. Never. But that deep grief, there is a time. God knows when that time is. He is holding me in the palm of his hand, just like before, just like today, just like tomorrow. He will not let me drown in my suffering.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8
I felt compelled to write about the medical “investigation” component of my trip today after my daughter was complaining excessively about her plantar wart. I promptly showed her this picture of Elena:
We had gotten to know her pretty well during the week, her house was one of the first ones built and she was very sweet. We came back the last day that we were working in the village and she had a scarf wrapped around her neck. We asked her why and she promptly showed us her swollen mouth. She had a cavity in one of her front teeth that had gotten so bad that the tooth had cracked and now her entire mouth was infected. You can only imagine the pain- I have never had a tooth nearly that bad but have had needed root canals and I thought the pain before that was unbearable. I never saw Elena shed a tear. These people are used to pain and hardship. I am not sure what would have happened if we had not had a solution through GRACE ministries. The grandson of the manager of the mission house was a volunteer paramedic. Due to the frequent needs for tooth extractions he had learned how to take out teeth, at least non-molars, to relieve the pain for the poor people. He would drive the 1 1/2 hrs to her village to extract the tooth. I am sure her family would not have been able to afford a dentist.
There was another woman in line for the food distribution who I noticed had a scarf around her mouth and I knew immediately she also had a tooth problem. Mauricio the translator asked her to see what the problem was and could immediately see it was a molar. Unfortunately that is something too complicated for a paramedic to handle. It was an awful sight when she pulled the scarf down- her face was hugely swollen and the smell from infection was putrid.
This is just a small glimpse inside the world of these people. There are no free dental clinics other than the ones provided by missionaries and with the hundreds and hundreds of villages the chances of them getting one is very slim. This village had never even had a food/clothing distribution or a team of doctors visit their village.
The Live Like Lucas medical van would be used for people with similar urgent painful situations. Because of the enormous need of these people it would be used in many contexts to try to improve the quality of life and reduce suffering for these people. Please help. You can donate through the Go Fund Me
or if you would like a tax receipt you can write a check to GRACE Ministries P.O. Box 756 Grand Bay, AL 36541 make sure it says medical van in the notes.
Through the Go Fund and money sent directly to Grace we are at just over $10,000! Share with everyone you know who has a heart for the hurting and might light to donate. Lets do this.