Monday, July 26, 2010

Week 28


A typical pre-outreach pep-talk.


Everything seemed to run like clockwork during pick up.

After arriving back at the church with the kids, and sending them off to class, I made my way into the sanctuary where service was already taking place.

I took my usual Sunday morning seat at the back of the sanctuary (since I would have to leave early to take kids home)......

scanned the crowd (because I am nosy like that)....

and could not believe how many parents of bus kids were there.

Now, this was just an ordinary Sunday morning service.

No special performance.

No promotions being advertised.

Not a Spanish service weekend.

and I was amazed....

as I realized that this is a regular occurrence at our church.

Today bus ministry reminded me of the story of the Little Engine that Could....just when you get discouraged and feel like giving get a little glimpse of hope...and find the strength to just keep going....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Week 27

Outreach was canceled today due to Vacation Bible School.

The bus went out Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday morning to pick up kids that were a part of this years event.

It was great to see bus parents hanging out at the conclusion of Saturday's water fight


The amazing set:

Our AWESOME Children's Pastor:
The performance:

I sat on the second row during the performance, feeling (once again) like a proud mama watching "my kids".

Monday, July 12, 2010

Week 26

Outreach was canceled so that the Blue Bomber Crew could do this:

to raise money so that 56 bus kids...

could be a part of this:


Did you know that when you come to a school bus stopped on either side of a road with the bus's red lights flashing, you must stop, and remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing?

Two people on the road this morning did NOT know this.

Almost causing what would have been horrific accidents with two kids and a Bus Worker. (so thankful for God's protection)

Therefore I am going to be purchasing two of these:

and two of these (to be installed on our bus):

and maybe a few of these:

So we can look like this:

{click on the paypal link to the right if you are interested in making a donation for these items}

Route 3 = 19 kids

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 24

This week I want you to meet:
Justin Fig.

You may remember him from here.

A few things you should know about Justin:

He is 15 years old.

Justin is hilarious, many times without even trying to be.

He likes to skateboard.

Justin is flirted with often while out on bus by "cholas" in our neighborhood (they yell "hey cutie" at him - as well as other things that I cannot post).

From my first day on bus, Justin has been eager to show me the ropes.

It is obvious when we are on outreach, that his reason for being on Bus is due to his love for people. He always goes the extra mile to connect to others. Countless times he has requested that I drop him off in the middle of a group of kids skateboarding so he can try to connect with them.

For months I have watched Justin establish a friendship with a teenager named Raiden.

Two Friday nights ago: Raiden shows up at my door, at 4pm, wanting to know what time the youth event was later that evening.(this is the first time he has ever done this).

Last Wednesday night: Raiden showed up for our regular church service and even sat in the front with all of the guys.

Last Friday night: Raiden comes to our youth service. Not only does he come but he brings a friend (Jesse). Not only does he come and bring a friend, but he comes to the altar on his own and is touched by the presence of God.

Yesterday (Sunday) morning: Raiden and Jesse show up at 8:00am to help us do wake up. They go into the church for the morning service at 10am and Jesse gets the holy ghost.

Sunday night: Raiden comes again to our evening service and gets the holy ghost.
I truly believe that a big part of Raiden coming to church is due to the relationship that he had with Justin.

Thank you Justin for being you and for reminding ME of the importance of connecting to people and taking time for them.....

....after all

that's what it's all about.

Route 3 = 20 kids

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 23


Today the morning started off at 10am with a meeting for the Bus Captains and their assistants. We went over our procedures, making sure that everything runs smoothly.

It felt so good to be on outreach, after being gone for a few weeks!

We did stop by one of our "regulars" that has been missing the last few weeks:

Me: Luis, where have you been?
Luis: I have been home, you guys have been leaving me!
Me: No, we haven't. We knock and knock on your door and you don't answer.
Luis: Well, last week I did not go because I lost my shoes.
Me: You only have one pair of shoes?
Luis: No, but I only like to wear my cool shoes and was too embarrassed to wear the other ones that I have.

FINALLY....we at least have one reason why kids are not coming!!!


Route 3 = 21 kids

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 22


This was the last in a line of horribly planned Saturdays.

I missed outreach for the third week in a row (I am sure you are all sick of hearing it and are questioning my level of commitment......aaauuuggghhh)!!!!

While I did not go on regular outreach I did play a small part in getting a teen girl to come:

Call on my cell phone:

Unnamed parent: There is a girl making out with a guy in the church parking lot.
Me: Who is it?
UP: I don't know.
Me: Can you tell them to leave, or do you want me to?
UP: Can you?
Me: Sure...**sigh** (thinking...why do I always have to be the bad guy???)

I walk up to a black primer-painted mini van.

Me: What are you guys doing here?
Guy: Nothin' just hanging out.
Me: Is there anything you need regarding the church?
Guy: No
Me: Then you need to leave.
Guy: Okay.
Me: awkwardly standing there while they say their "goodbyes"....(and such is the life of a yp's wife...**sigh**)

The girl (who will remain unnamed to protect herself from her stupidity) walks over to a group of our girls that were hanging out at the church.

Unnamedgirlwhodidsomethingdumb: Don't tell my mom I was with that guy.
One of our youth girls: I won't tell her if you come on the bus tomorrow.

She came.


A glimpse of my Sunday morning:

Some of the bus workers warming up the play-doh before the arrival of the kids.

Morning prayer.

Street sign while doing wake-up.

First Route 3 pick up of the morning.

Weird things you see on Sunday mornings.

Cookies = the breakfast of champions.

Taking kids home.

Jackie: Yesterday we went to go visit my Dad in jail.
Me: Is he going to get out soon?
Jackie: I think so, but they are going to send him to Mexico.
Me: Well, being in Mexico is much better than being in jail. At least then you will be able to talk to him whenever you want.
Jackie: My mom says that we are not going to buy any new clothes or do anything extra for a year.
Me: Really, why?
Jackie: We are going to try to save all of our money so he can come home.
Me: (blinking back tears)

::talk about making the problems I have seem so little and insignificant::

Route 3 = 24 kids

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Week 21


Missed outreach AGAIN due to some scheduling issues (didn't realize I had booked two weekends away in a row).


I feel so out of the loop and miss spending time with the kids.

I was talking with Brandon (Route 3 bus captain) about the importance of Saturday evangelism.

On Saturdays you:
-connect with kids.
-meet new kids.
-build relationships with them.
-play games with them.
-visit their clubhouses.
-talk with them about their week.
-find out what is going on in their lives, their homes


Route 3 = 25 kids

Week 20


Bus Ministry is built on consistency.

That being is a good thing that I am not the only person on the team, as I was out of town this weekend.

I feel completely GUILTY every weekend I am not there, but I am thankful for a team of people that step up and take over my responsibilities while I am gone.

Even though I was in Cabo getting some R&R...bus ministry was not too far from my mind....

Especially seeing these everywhere:

...which closely resemble the buses of the "other" church in our city that picks up some of OUR kids and takes them to ANOTHER church.


Meet the Blue Bomber Bus Drivers:

Route 3 = 25 kids

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week 19


Today was the first time I have been afraid in our neighborhood.

Lane, Angelina and I were knocking on a door on an upstairs porch of one of our kids.

Looking down we were able to see into the parking lot next door.

We heard a loud banging, and I made eye contact with what had to be a gang member (I hate to stereotype, but I am 99.9999999% sure he was a gang member).

Him and his two friends were attempting (and succeeding) to break down the fence and get into the yard at the bottom of the stairs we were on.

As the "adult" I tried not to show that I was intimidated....but inside I was dying....thoughts of..."this is it"....raced through my mind.

On a positive note, this is the first time in this neighborhood that I have ever felt afraid.

Pretty good for an active gang/drug area.

We also found out that one of our regulars moved. I was a little relieved to find this out, since I had been leaving Blue Bomber cards on her porch and kept returning to find them ripped up.

In Bus Ministry it seems like you are continually starting over:

~You meet a kid
~Spend weeks building a friendship with them
~Get them to ride the bus on a regular basis
~They move

I have to look at it with the hope that they will never forget the time that we had with them.

If I don't look at it that way it is easy to become discouraged and frustrated.


We had the cutest little visitor on the bus this week....and she wore the most adorable pink sweater (pictured).

Mauricio (bus rider): Are you guys a part of Jesus' mom?
Brandon (bus captain): What about Jesus' mom, you mean Mary?
Mauricio: No, are you a Jesus' mom?
Brandon (bus captain): Yes I am a Christian.
Mauricio: No, I mean like Jesus' mom...
Brandon: What do you mean?
Mauricio: You know, his mom, the one that goes like this:

and he puts his hands like this......

I think he was referring to this:

and we were cracking up listening to him try to describe it.

...oh the things kids say!

Route 3 = 20 kids (it was a HORRIBLE WEEK numbers-wise)

Week 18


Outreach was canceled due to a wedding taking place at our church.

Knowing this, I planned all week long to do a quick run through our neighborhood.

Unfortunately, life got in the way....and I never made it.

Even though I still consider myself a novice in bus ministry, I think it is so important to feel a personal responsibility to reach out.

Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed in myself, I just did not make the time.


In spite of no outreach, our numbers were still pretty decent.


I leave you with this:

Want to be super efficient in your bus ministry?

Start making the kids run it themselves...

Route 3 = 29 kids

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Week 17

I am going to start by saying......I cannot believe I have made it this long.


The amount of time and dedication it takes.

I am completely surprised at myself.

I think what has made me stick are...

the kids.


For the first 30 minutes, the entire Bus team (all 3 routes) went out to help us in our new area. We made so many new contacts and connections.

It felt so good to have the support of the Bus team behind us. We were even able to get a few kids together for a candy rain.


All of the kids that rode the Blue Bomber were given a shirt. It was so AWESOME to see all of them wearing them while they performed for Mother's Day.

Props to Tim for being a part of the Blue Bomber the shirt, come every weekend you are in San Jose.

A few things about Sunday:

I can't help but get annoyed whenever I hear a parent say,
"Why didn't my kid get a t-shirt, why are the Bus kids treated special?"

My response to this person/s:
"Instead of focusing on what your child is not getting, why not teach your child to appreciate the fact that he/she has a parent willing to bring them to Sunday School every week. If YOU would take the time to "adopt" a bus kid, we would not have to come up with "church clothes" for them."

and that is me saying it nicely.

On a lighter note...

Riding back to the church after picking up the kids, it was so cute to sit next to one of them practicing the songs and the signs for their performance that morning.

Two breakdowns on my route:

Breakdown #1 = asking Jackie about her dog, who unknown to me had run away last week. Hello waterworks.

Breakdown #2 = Luz's mom showing up an hour after the Mother's Day performance due to a miscommunication on the time.

Everything ran smoothly, even with having to sort out all 3 routes, following their performance.

I could not help but feel like a proud mama while watching all of the kids perform.

Really....the bus kids start to feel a little like your own.

Route 3 = 27 kids

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Week 16

On Saturday we did this:

to raise money to have this:

put on these:

for all of them:

so....we were not able to do our regular outreach.

Over the next few weeks I will be posting random clips regarding the ins and outs of Bus Ministry....stay tuned.

"Wake up":

and because it is just plain funny:

Route 3 = 27 kids

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Week 15


On outreach we had half of our team missing and was without a bus captain. That being said, we focused on follow up.

While doing follow up, we were invited into one of our kids club house. In sidewalk chalk they had written two signs:

Pray before entering

Blue Bomber Parking

What a great feeling to know that they think of us even when we are not around....

A group of us also went over to one of our new areas just to say "hi" to one of the girls that we have been connecting to. She was outside playing with one of her we did what we do and connected to her friend too (I think one of our motto's should be "Kids reaching kids").

After outreach was over Anna, Angelina and I went to deliver a "promised" Slurpee to one of the girls that had had a hard time in Sunday School the week prior.

A few things:

We are so advanced in how we identify the different routes.
....sharpie markers are extremely economical.

Jacqueline runs up to me with a bag of candy:

Jacqueline: Can you hold my candy while I play?
Me: Sure. Where did you get this candy from?
Jacqueline: I brought it from home.
Me: Why?
Jacqueline: My brother did not come this morning and if I left it at home he would eat it.
So, I walked around all morning carrying my attendance and Jacqueline's bag of candy.

Speaking of attendance, things went so smoothly this week.

What a relief!


last but not least...

Sunday night....


It is always exciting when anyone off of the Blue Bomber gets the holy ghost or baptized...

....but it just feels a little more special when it is someone that you have been directly connecting to...


...might I add that also on Sunday we had 2 mothers of Blue Bomber kids get the holy ghost and had 3 kids baptized.

Don't have a bus ministry?

Get one.


Route 3 = 33 kids

and if you still have not had enough....

A few video facts:

~0.4-0.11 seconds in -shows Justin being LEFT by the bus....good thing JWest was taking the video from his car, or poor Justin would have had to walk back to the church.

~You may notice kids carrying bread. Our church has the hook-up and we get a ton of leftover bread, pastries and other goodies form Grocery stores, Starbucks and Panera Bread. We use the cookies and pastries as a snack for the kids when they arrive at the church. Everything else is divided and bagged for anyone to take home.

~High-fiving the kids as they leave is a creative spin we put on a possibly chaotic situation. You see, when a route is making their way to the bus, it is necessary for them to pass through the gym (full of kids playing). So, we make a wall in an attempt to keep any kids from getting distracted and being left behind.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Week 14

This week my standard format is going out the window and I just want to talk.

Today was one of the hardest Sundays I have had so far. I have never felt so exhausted.

I had high hopes (and the brilliant idea) of putting together a really cool video that I would title, "A day in the life of a bus worker". But today, nothing worked out.

I woke up so tired (not a really good way to start a Sunday morning), really wanted to get video of how we do wake up, and only had about 10 minutes to get some good clips.

First house: no answer.

Second house: no answer.

Third house:

Jacqueline opens door, I start recording

Me: Good morning Jackie.....are you coming today?
Jacqueline (starts crying): I can't go today. The police came and took my Dad and we are going to the jail to see him.

camera. off.

Then, it was back to the church where I attempted to do some video clips in our gym. I walked through, got some great stuff, walked out and realized I had been pressing the wrong button and had recorded NOTHING.

Attendance was crazy (still working on getting it together)......all I will say about it right now is AAAUUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

But in spite of a morning where nothing seemed to go "right", today I feel honored to be a part of the Blue Bomber Crew.

People are always commenting to me about my blog, and many of my friends "share" it with their friends. But, to be honest, it was never started to promote myself as a bus worker. In fact, I feel so awkward when people compliment me regarding working on it....ME.....with my measly 14 weeks, while I work with people that have been doing this for years.

I feel so honored to be working side by side with some of the most passionate and sincere people in the world.......yes, you heard me right.....I said in the WORLD.

Not just anywhere would a team of bus workers: show up today at 7:30 am, work their behinds off running around with their kids, stay after everyone left church for a bus meeting (at 12:30pm - to give you a timeline), and then feel a burden for one of their bus kids and stay and pray for them in the prayer room (and when I say "pray", I mean on their faces weeping).

Things like that don't just happen anywhere.

One of the best ways to describe bus ministry would be to say that it is a continual emotional roller-coaster.
In one day:

I find out that one of the teen girls that rides the bus has been molested, hit her teacher and was kicked out of school.

An hour later, Luis (a regular bus rider) runs up to me after his class and tells me that he wants to get baptized tonight (note - pictured below is another bus rider that was baptized this weekend, we are still waiting on a permission slip from Luis' mom).

You have a high. You have a low.

In one morning you are frustrated that so many of your "regulars" don't come, but then realize that numbers are still great due to a bunch of new kids.....

....and such is the life of a bus worker.

"Do you think they are going to have the red carpet out for us today?"
Overheard, route 3 bus rider on their way to Sunday School

Route 3 = 38 kids

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Week 13

This week bus ministry was canceled due to our quarterly First Church Connect.

In spite of that... was a nice surprise to look over and see one of our regulars with her mom, aunt and two cousins.

...another surprise was having one of our bus kids (that walked over on his own) turn off all of the lights in the middle of the event.

This weekend everything is back to normal...

..good thing too because I missed those kids.
{don't you just LOVE the new sign on our bus?!?! }

Route 3 = 5 kids, 2 parents (without running buses!)