Saturday, April 21, 2007

O how the time Flies

Hello everyone!

I looked at my blog for the first time in months and realized that I haven't written in a long time. I believe March of last year was my last entry. That's Crazy!!!
So what has happened since......

Well, I made the decision to no longer continue with InnerCHANGE. I love the organization and all the people that I have met and built relationships with since I became a part of it, but I knew that I didn't want to make another 3 year commitment just yet. I really wanted to go back to school and be near my family.

The second thing that happened: I met a guy, dated him, and just recently broke up with him. This alone seems like a lot to take in. I feel like I learned alot and it was an experience I would never take back. If I had to be honest....yeah its not the funnest thing to go through. But, life never tells you what will come. At least God holds you when it gets a little rough.

The third thing: I have begun to study for my GRE and applying to schools. I am considering a master's degree in Psychology, specifically Community Counseling. I would hope someday, I will have my doctorate and be counseling youth in poorer communities.

And the fourth: I moved Jan 2007 from LA to the Chicagoland area. I currently am working for a office management company. And I recently moved in to an apartment with a female friend of mine. I am enjoying the space and a place to call my own!

I'm sorry this seems brief and distant. I wanted to write more and give you all more details, but my computer is about to die and I am sitting outside the library so that I can connect to some internet connection!!!! Plugging in is out of the question! Darn computers.....

But do know that I love you all and am missing every single one of you!!!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The May 1st March in Downtown LA

Hello Friends!
This last Monday I participated another march that continues to speak out against bills like HR4437. A friend of mine, who also participated in the march, took some pictures and put them into a slide show. I was touched by it and wanted to share it with the rest of you. Just press the play button below to view it!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jake and Mattty

For those of you who haven't had the chance to meet my you go!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Dance I did at Mosaic

I just figured out how to put videos on my blog. I wanted to practice, so I put this video on. This was a dance I did for church. I thought you would enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My thoughts on the March 25th Protest on bill HR 4437

This last Saturday, my team and many of my neighbors participated in a citywide march. The march sought to peacefully respond in opposition to HR 4437. I know that many of you out there might agree with the law being passed and you have your reasons...but I wanted to take a moment and share my feelings about it all.

"When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. Lev. 19:23

"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the LORD your God." Lev 23:22

The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God ---Lev. 19:34

"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing" --Deut.10:18

"And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt." Deut.10:19

It is so easy for us, as humans, to selfishly think about our own needs first. So much so that we never even consider how our needs could hurt another living and breathing human being. We are worried about enough jobs, we are worried about our welfare system, and about our own opportunities....but for some reason we are not worried about the people God is bringing into our country to love or about the reasons why they so desperately long to leave the conditions they are came from. Jesus said "Freely as you received, freely give" Matt 10:8. If this is true: why are we so bent on hoarding the things that are given to us, why are we not trying to help others or willing to share the wealth with those who come here.

The verses I added up above are about how God feels about the Alien or the immigrant in our land. And they are verses that He asks us to live out. He commands us to love, treating people with dignity and respect regardless of where they come from. The immigrants in our land are human beings and deserve to be treated fairly. The bills we create and pass should reflect that. When we begin to create bills, and feel right about creating bills, that inhibit people and take away their options, we have to ask ourselves "What has happened to our hearts? When did we become like pharaoh? When did our hearts become hardened to the needs of those around us? What is the depth of poverty to our own soul that we would support laws like HR4437?"

It saddens me that we have gotten to a point as a nation where we feel the only way we can solve an issue is by being harsher and stricter. And I am amazed at how easy it is for us to objectify and vilify a group of people, enabling us to make overt judgments about them as a group and separate them as bad. We would not feel the same way about this law if it was directed towards those we loved and knew personally.

For those of us as Christians, I think, we need to re-evaluate our thoughts and opinions and ask ourselves if they are in line with what God asks....

March 25 The protest against bill HR4437

This a local reporting of the peaceful demonstration against bill HR4437. For those of you who do not know, this law would make it felony for anyone to aid or help an illegal immigrant, as well as it would place harsher restrictions on illegal immigrants(including making it a felony to be undocumented) in this country. I have my own thoughts and will be adding them soon! In support of our many neighbors and in how this bill would effect the work we are doing in LA, our team participated in this event.

500,000 Rally In LA For Immigrants' Rights
No Arrests Or Injuries Reported

POSTED: 10:17 am PST March 24, 2006
UPDATED: 7:48 pm PST March 26, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- Members of the United Farm Workers union rallied Sunday to mark union founder Cesar Chavez's birthday and to protest a pending federal legislation aimed at stopping illegal immigration. About 4,000 people marched through downtown.

The rally came a day after one of the biggest demonstrations ever in downtown Los Angeles. An estimated 500,000 people jammed the streets around City Hall on Saturday, many chanting "Si se puede," or yes, we can.

In addition to unions and Latino groups, such as La Hermandad Nacional Mexicano, Roman Catholic Cardinal Roger Mahony drew attention to pending immigration reforms a few weeks ago when he announced that he would encourage his priests to render aid to immigrants even if that were outlawed.At issue is HR 4437, a sweeping immigration reform bill expected to be debated on the Senate floor on Monday.

The UFW rally advocated for "the need for immigration reform that respects the dignity of every human being in the U.S. and therefore (we are) calling for the legalization of the undocumented who are here," union activist Alvaro Huerta said.

Activists marched to the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels for a 2:30 p.m. Mass in honor of Chavez.

Participants pledged "support for meaningful immigration reform" and oppose "inhumane legislation such as recent action by the U.S. House of Representatives that would make felons out of undocumented immigrants and those who help them," Mark Grossman of the UFW said.

Despite the huge crowds on Saturday -- veteran police officers said it was biggest demonstation they had ever seen -- no serious problems were reported. Police did declare a tactical alert, but that was done chiefly to ensure enough officers would be available for crowd control work.

No arrests were made, police said.

One counter-demonstrator was pushed to the ground and escorted away by police, and an American flag went up in flames on Broadway near Seventh Street.

Javier Rodriguez, one of the organizers of the rally, said the demonstration was meant to be nonviolent.

"We appealed from the beginning of the process for a peaceful demonstration of the anger and the frustration, but at the same time, the aspirations of the immigrant community and the rest of the sectors that support immigrants," he said.

He said some people estimated the crowd at closer to a million people, and that planning began just three weeks ago for the rally, which was done on a $5,000 budget.

He also noted that the American flag was burned far away from where speakers were orating at City Hall, and that organizers had no idea who the flag-burner was.

The House bill by Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis, would stiffen penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants and those who smuggle them across the border, among other things.

One sore point for demonstrators is a provision that would make illegal immigration a felony -- a deportable offense.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who rose to power through union organizing, addressed the crowd at City Hall.

"We cannot criminalize people who are working, people who are contributing to our economy and contributing to the nation," he said.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, also attended the rally.

"We believe in the American dream, and all we want is that dream to be made available to all who work hard and want to benefit from it," Nunez said. "We don't want a handout -- what we are looking for is sensible legislation."

HR 4437 also would require employers to verify Social Security numbers with the Department of Homeland Security, increase penalities for immigrant smuggling, and stiffen penalities for undocumented immigrants who reenter the United States after being deported. If passed, it would also authorize $2 billion to build barriers along the entire Mexico border.

"The fence is not the answer," said Hilda Delgado of the Coalition for Immigration Reform Los Angeles, one of the event organizers. "The solution is immigration reform. Help these people. They are already working here. Some of them have been here 10, 15, 20 years. They live here. Their kids are from here. They keep this economy going. They pay taxes."
President Bush has been pushing for a guest worker program, but does not support amnesty for undocumented immigrants because he says it would effectively reward law breakers, putting them ahead of immigrants who seek enter the country legally.

Many illegal immigrants have children who are citizens by virtue of their being born on U.S. soil, and some activists have expressed fear that mass deportations would separate families.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who immigrated from Austria, was at Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades for the unveiling of Rogers' just-restored home.

"You cannot continue just avoiding it and looking the other way and pretending like the problem doesn't exist," he said. "We have a serious problem. It affects our state. They should secure and they should do everything they can to solve this problem."

He also said he would support guest worker program, but only in a controlled situation.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich said he supports Sensenbrenner's bill.

"I feel it deals effectively with the catastrophic effects illegal immigration have had on the county," Antonovich said. "It provides the necessary penalities and reforms that are now lacking and which have created a magnet for illegals to enter our country."

But protest organizer Rodriguez said undocumented immigrants are essential to America's labor force and should not be criminalized. He and other speakers called for an economic boycott under which immigrants would stay home from work to show how important they are to the economy and everyday life.

"The national economic boycott is a dream of Latinos in this country to show the people who are anti-immigrant that we are needed," said Rodriguez, who compared the march to the black civil rights movement. "It's like the boycott in Montgomery (Alabama). It's the same thing."

"We will not accept less on the immigration reform than the path to legalization for the 12 million undocumented immigrants that are in this country," Rodriguez said.

"When we look the other way when the people wash our cars, take care of our children, clean our homes, we all know that most of these people do not have any documentation, so it is a double standard in terms of both nations, but both nations need undocumented immigration," said protester Carlos Zavala.

"We're not felons," demonstrator Carmela Constancio told NBC4. "A felon is someone who rapes a child. A felon is a drug dealer. People who just want to live and work are not felons."

Friday, thousands of students from Huntington Park, South Gate, Montebello, Jordan, Garfield, Roosevelt, Washington Preparatory and Bell high schools staged walkouts to protest the bill, and a delegation of 35 Southern California religious leaders will fly to Washington, D.C., today to urge Senators to oppose the measure. CNS-03-26-2006 05:08

Rally Planned For Saturday

Thursday, March 23, 2006

LAKERS VS THE TIMBERWOLVES, The Urban Plunge, and a visit from ABI's family

This last week has been an amazing time for me. It has been a time to be challenged, a time to learn about myself, and a time to be blessed by others. On Wednesday of last week, I led what is called an Urban Plunge. This is a day when people from outside the neighborhood come into our community and experience the ministry we are doing here, as well as they get the opportunity to see how God is at work and very present in this community. Those who usually come are donors, staff from other ministries, friends from out of the area, etc. My job was to take them through various activities, allowing them to experience what we are all about. Our guests were led on a prayer walk, heard about the tenant rehabing of a building called Cambria, got to participate in our tutoring program, and meet some of the Mentors in our Mentoring Initiative (I want to share more, but I won't because I will be writing more in my next newsletter).
What I find special about these times, is how God uses them to touch people... whether it is the mentor who shares how her life has been impacted or it is one of the guests understanding for the first time how there is Hope in communities like God is very PRESENT in this place!

After my day with our guests, I was blessed by a friend of mine from the neighborhood. Laura got tickets to see the Lakers play the Timberwolves at the Staples center. And she asked me to go! Basketball is one of my favorite sports and though I don't watch it much on TV, I do enjoy a good game. And who could pass up seeing the Lakers take on the team from the state I went to college in! ;-) I was really blessed to spend time with Laura and share that time with her. We has so much fun cheering the Lakers on, particpating in the various activities they have you do during a game, and being so close to the court (Row 21)...Awe yeah!

Also, during this week Abi's parents came to visit! On Thursday, they took me with Abi to Newport Beach to visit a friend of their's(for our day off). We spent the day on the beach, talking, and sharing. It really was a blessed time for me. And it was a time in which God used to challenge what I have often felt and known. And there is a big difference in hearing there is a different way to live and seeing it lived out before you. Abi's parents were that for me, they tangibly helped me to see what God speaks of when He talks about loving others and treating people well. And though, I do see this often in the lives of my teammates, it was specificlly good to see it in the lives of parents acting it out in relationship with their daughter. It was a beautiful thing to see how they loved and cared for Abi.

And last, but definately not least....we had another yard sale this Saturday! And that was a wonderful time as well. I got to visit with a lot of my neighbors. And we got to see how God is using the vision John has for economic development in the community and bringing it into fruition. Two more people from the neighborhood helped us sell items and were able to receive much needed supplimental income. We, also, had some people buying items, so that they could resell them on Ebay to help support their families!! YEAH! I am more amazed daily at how awesome God really is!

I love you guys very much and hope you are all doing well! Please see the various pics I have included in the posting. They are of the game, the yard sale, and my time with Abi's family and their friends!!!

The Game
Laura and me at the Game
Kathe(Abi's parent's friend),Abi,and...Me!
The Yard Sale

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

God has a funny way of letting us know His power is greater than our Own!

Something that I am continually amazed by is God's ability to move in the lives of others in spite of our weakness. And what amazes me more is His ability to open doors for me into the lives of those--I was told--would never open their lives to me...people I didn't think would open their lives to me. For this I stand in awe of God.

While I have lived in LA, I have tutored many youth in a variety of subjects. Some of these kids come from pretty tough situations, others come from good situations. There is one girl that I have tracted with for all three years. She is a wonderful young girl, but comes from some tough situations. I have enjoyed meeting her family, but have not had the opportunity to get to know them. Even though, I know their daughter/sister, they have kept their distance. I have been praying that God would open doors into their lives. When I came back from a month in the Midwest, I continued tutoring this girl. But then something began to change. It began with the quick hellos as we past each other on the street and then a quick conversation on the corner with her mother--slowly our relationship began to be built. And Recently I spent an hour in their home hanging out--something that has never been allowed. I can only come up with one reason for this change...God.

I am honored that they would invite me into their lives...I am honored that God would use me...

I don't know what will come from of all of this. I don't know how God wants to use this, but I do pray that every moment I spend with this family--they will see Christ in my heart, in my life, and in everything I do. He loves this family...He sees their hearts...knows their pains...and He wants to meet them in their pain. Pray that God would bless this family with healing and an awarenes of His love for them.

Monday, December 05, 2005





Thursday, November 17, 2005


Hello my friends! It seems like I have been really bad at getting things onto my blog this year....and for that I am truly sorry!

Something I do want to share with you are my weekly times with a girl in the neigbhorhood. Every Thursday..she comes over and we eat dinner together and I help her with her homework. She has really opened up to me in the couple of months and I am honored that she does. Please keep these times in prayer. I really feel like God is doing something and I know Satan never likes that.

I would also like prayer for my cold. I have had it for the last two weeks. Pray that I get better and that no one else gets it. I have had to stay in bed a couple of the days which hasn't been that much fun.....

Friday, October 07, 2005



Well its been about 3 weeks since I came back to LA and I have spent the majority of the time reconnecting with families and getting my apartment cleaned out and organized before my new roommate came in to the area. I think that was a feet in itself...trying to figure out how I fit everything into half the space I normally did when I was living alone. It is amazing how one can spread themselves out when they are living alone. ;-)
A couple of highlights: weekly I have been prayer walking around the neighborhood. God has begun to show me some amazing things. Some of those things I plan to share next week. On Saturday, I invited one of my good friends and her kids over to my house. I made them Polish Sausage and SauerKraut. It is my favorite dish and I wanted to share it with them, blessing her in the same way she blesses me. She shares with me all types of food that is made in Guatemala. I spent the whole day cooking and in the end they really liked it!
I recently died my hair...Yeah. It is the first time I have done this in over 2 years. I colored the bottom half of my hair dark red brown and the top half of my hair Strawberry Blonde with streaks of the dark red brown (like highlights only they are called lowlights). It actually looks pretty good!
One sad thing that has happened is my Bearded Dragon, Matty, has been sick since I came home. He wasn't eating anything or having a bowel movement. I tried every home remedy I could find, but it didn't work. So I finally decided to take him into a vet and find out what was wrong. The doctor was able to give him a shot of vitamins to jump start his digestion and gave me food to feed him every day. I am proud to say that He is feeling a heck of a lot better and is having bowel movements. You should see him eat the "special" food....I mix it with water and feed it to him via a syringe. He just licks it with his tongue like a dog would go after ice cream... hehehehehe.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

How do the Choices we make AFFECT OTHERS?

On June 30, 2005 the US Senate passed a free trade agreement with five
Central American countries and the Dominican Republic (called
one remaining hurdle to the agreement¹s implementation is a similar
vote in
the US House by July 29 and in two or three of the other participating

InnerCHANGE has been working with Salvadorans, Guatemalans and
Hondurans for
many years in the inner cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Lord
willing, we will see new teams launched into Central America in the
years. We have seen the fruit of unchecked economic policies and
that leave small farmers unable to compete with large agro-business,
them to abandon their lands for either an urban slum or a piece of the
American pie in neighborhoods that we know all too well in Los Angeles
San Francisco. The free movement of factories south of our border is
huge problem for many on both sides of the border. One of our own
missionaries, Celida Peñate, once worked in a factory on the Mexico/US
border and knows first hand that the wages do not feed a family and
yet, she knows the lack of recourse the workers face when they attempt
organize for basic labor rights.

Both the process and the product of the current free trade agreement
Central America are badly flawed. DR-CAFTA was not negotiated within a
framework of democratic accountability and did not include broad-based
citizen participation. The text was only made public after the
were completed. There were no social reviews or impact assessments by
independent bodies. This process has engendered mistrust and even
unrest in Central America. The product is flawed, too. Instead of
engendering democracy, it actually gives greater decision-making powers
closed tribunals than to the participating governments. Instead of
prosperity to these impoverished nations, CAFTA will bankrupt small
and deprive the people of Central America and Dominican Republic of the
ability to grow their own food. In 1991, Honduras reduced its tariff
on rice imports because of a drought. In just a few months, the amount
rice that came into the country was more than annual consumption. This
devastating to Honduran rice producers when new harvests arrived.
rice production was reduced by 86 percent in the ten years followed,
the number of rice producers falling from 25,000 to 2,000 because they
not compete with the influx of rice.

Please pray with us at this critical time, before the final vote in
Congress. Pray for congressmen with ears to hear the voices of the
farmers and factory workers on both sides of the border who are
speaking up
for trade that is fair, not just free. Pray for a better, fairer
to DR-CAFTA, a trade agreement that results from a truly democratic,
broad-based process that honors all members of society.

For those who want to do more, offers a quick way for
individuals to write their congress members. For those wanting more
information on DR-CAFTA (and FTAA), you can check out these websites:

InnerCHANGE commitment to service:
By prayer, fasting and the leading of the Holy Spirit, I will wage
war against all that is contrary to God and the establishment of his

Friday, June 24, 2005

Yosemite, Conference, and BEFORE

These last couple of weeks have been busy.

The InnerCHANGE conference was held June 15-19, 2005. The focus was on the prophetic Current. For those of you who don't know, InnerCHANGE is made up of 3 Currents that we attempt to live out equally: The Missional Current, the Contemplative Current and the Prophetic Current. The Prophetic current asks the question: How are we fighting for justice? Where are we standing in the gap for the oppressed...being a voice in the midst of darkness or betrayal? This conference challenged us to think of what it means to be prophetic in our communities and it really means to live our lives prophetically. Another highlight was meeting others from teams overseas and catching up with those I already knew.

Our Team decided to take a retreat the two days before conference in Yosemite. Since the conference was less than an hour away from Yosemite, it seemed like the perfect time to go. I never knew how beautiful Yosemite is. Our rented a place in the Park and spent the days laughing, exploring, and enjoying one another's company. On Tuesday, we climbed up along Vernon Falls. I tell you...if every trail had huge amount of water spraying on you all the way up...I think I would hike more. ;-) It was so refreshing...

The week before I left for conference, I helped host a baby shower, went to a wedding shower, took my friend shopping for baby stuff with the money she got from the baby shower, and saw some of my family that was out, on business, in LA. ..okay take a breath.

Do I tell you all this because I am proud to say I did some much in so little time.....I think not. In fact, I probably would have enjoyed spreading out all those things over the coarse of 2-3 weeks. I tell you this, because though so many things have happened....each one touched me in some way. Through the baby shower, I learned that when I am not in control of every detail, the party can still end up being a hit and more often than not - better than if I did it myself. Through both showers, I enjoyed fellowship and opportunities of being with people that I do not see every day. Through my IKEA shopping experience with Karina, I was able to share my Swedish experiences and memories (IKEA is a Swedish Store). Not to mention, it was Karina's first time there...she had quite the time there as well. We sat on the furniture and were tempted by all the deals.

And I think what touched me most was seeing my family and sharing with them the people I care for neighbors. My cousin, Jamie and her friend, Melissa, are opening a high end women's clothing store in Steven's Point (Near where I grew up). It is called the Pink Boutique. They were in LA to buy clothes for the store. When they came to pick me up, they were able to meet various people in my community. They met my friend Karina and her kids and they met Karmela and her daughter Cynthia. They even had the opportunity of meeting Jorge, a single father in our community who wants to start a youth center for kids. For me, seeing these two worlds converge, is always something beautiful to me. When you care about someone you want to share your life with them. My family and my friend's in Westlake are both deeply rooted in my life...I care about both very much. And that day...each were able to share in the other.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

This was Written by a Friend of mine....Funny!

Acting has been a little slow, so I started temping today. What can I say?

Ever notice how staplers and staple removers always look like they are ready to eat something? It's weird... how come they always look hungry? And mean?

Ever notice how scotch tape dispensers, no matter if it's a public school or a huge corporation, are always the same? Those big tan or black things that weigh way more than what is required to keep a little roll of tape from moving around the desk? Is there only ONE company in the world that makes tape dispensers, and therefore all tape dispensers look alike?

I had a lovely desk with tons of space to use, which was nice, a lovely computer, (that I wasn't supposed to use for some reason) and a phone that had more buttons on it than a NASA space shuttle, all blinking inexplicably.

Ever wonder why they like to use a screen saver on the computer that looks like tropical fish swimming in a fish tank just to look up at the ACTUAL fish tank with the same tropical fish that is in the office? Maybe it's just me.

I was introduced to the shredder, which I have to say is the most ridiculously fun piece of equipment in an office! I had so much fun shredding documents that I even shredded the only proof of two transactions that totaled $110,000! Wow! That shredder is F-U-N. The chewing out I got for being so good at using it wasn't fun at all.

When in the world did they start making post-its that pulled out in an accordion shape?

In the bathroom, there was a funny picture of a toilet that had a leather seat, a laptop computer with phone and DSL linkups jacked in the wall, and a fax machine. The caption said, "Going On-line."

Ever wonder why there is an unexplainable banging sound like pipes being smashed together over and over again at your workplace? It made me DOUBLY curious that it was a Security Agency I was working for, with high tech sensitive equipment. What? You DON'T hear the sound of banging pipes at your office?!

Somebody sneezed, and I said, "God bless you!" Afterwards the manager pulled me aside and told me that we aren't supposed to talk about God in the workplace.

I must say, I am proud of the way I made the transfer of calls within the office much more expedient... I found it much easier to yell out to a person in the next office rather than taking all that time to figure out the NASA phone. I mean, c'mon... isn't it kinda goofy to call a guy on the phone to ask him if he can take a call when you can just yell out to him from 7 feet away?

Lunch was FABULOUS! I love Trader Joe's Chocolate Covered Blueberries! And the ten minutes I had to eat them was more than enough! I had ~FIVE WHOLE MINUTES~ to check my email, (on my phone, I wasn't allowed to use the computer) use the toilet, (the one with the funny picture) and practice on the phone from NASA. That was, of course, after I had finished filing (in triplicate!) all the work orders for the last three.... MONTHS.

My name somehow changed from Kevin, to Kyle, to Ken, and finally, to "What did you do THIS time!?"

My rep from the Temp Agency actually poked his head in to check out the business. Conveniently, this was at the same time I was doing my best work on the shredder! F-U-N!

Never in my life have I wanted to smoke so badly. And I don't smoke!

People ask me sometimes why I want to be an actor. Now I know what to tell them.


Tuesday, May 31, 2005

So Where Has RIKKI BEEN?

Many of you are probably wondering if I fell off the face of this Earth. Well....Good News, I haven't! I have had a lot happen though.

At the beginning of May took a week long trip to Seattle. Why? You ask. Well, let me tell you. In the heart of Seattle lays a wonderful college called Seattle Pacific University. And it was there that the founder of InnerCHANGE, John Hayes, was asked to speak and meet with students about the work we do through InnerCHANGE. John asked me in January if I would like to come with him and Tim, John's right hand man. They wanted somebody young and hip to be there. So I stepped up to the plate and kept it real for them. ;-)

For real though, it was a good week and I got meet many students who really have a heart for God. And who really have a desire to make a difference in this World. I think my favorite part of the week was sitting with the students, hearing about what God was doing in their lives, and helping them discern how God was leading them in the future....whether it was with InnerCHANGE or not.....

While I was in Seattle, I got to visit one of my closest friends from College and her husband. It was really good to see them. I often only get to see her when, she comes down to visit family in the LA area. So we rested and talked and she showed me all of Big Foot Country! Another Highlight while I was in Seattle was I got to visit a friend LA. Funny...I know. But she was home for the summer (Seattle), so we took it upon ourselves to get together on her turf! She took me to her favorite restaurant and I think it was the best seafood...I have had in a long time! Thank you Shauna!

I wasn't home more than a day before I was on to the next trip. But, the best part was visiting my friend Karina and helping her children with some homework that Saturday before I left. I often miss my neighbors and friends when I leave on a trip, so I always enjoy the little moments I can get with them.
The next week after that..I was in Anaheim for NSO, New Staff Orientation. Now that I am transitioning from part-time to full-time with InnerCHANGE, I was asked to take a week long class. While I was there I really got to understand more of how CRM fits into InnerCHANGE and see the vital role they play in ensuring InnerCHANGE is functioning well. I really enjoyed meeting the staff that work in the office. All their work allows me the time to focus on serving in LA. While I was in Anaheim, I stayed with Shelli Smith and her husband in Newport Beach (see pic below). Traveling from LA to Anaheim everyday can really be time consuming, so Shelli and her husband were kind enough to open their home and hospitality to me. It was a big blessing and I was very grateful. Their Niece, Tara, was staying with them for a little bit. And I really enjoyed talking with her.

One of the last things of note that has happened is this: As of Yesterday, May 30, 2005 and 3 wonderful years together....I said goodbye to my car. It was a wonderful car, but as my lease was coming to a close, I had a choice. I could either have bought it, or given it back. And after much thought decided that it would be good if I gave it back and didn't have to owe money every month for a car, pay lots of money on gas, and worry about LA drivers on the road with me. So, I sent my baby back and bought a Bus Pass!!!! Many tell me...that I will want a car in a month, however, I am enjoying myself. Its not very often you can read on your way home from and to work..... ;-)

Love you guys! Enjoy the PICS!

Seattle....a thing of beauty Posted by Hello

Rikki and Angela Posted by Hello

Mike and Angela...and their wonderful dog Cleo Posted by Hello

Newport Beach Posted by Hello

My Silver Baby and Me.....I will miss that Car of mine..... Posted by Hello

The Long Awaited Picture

These are my two wonderful Bearded Dragons. I have a video clip of the two of them...that I am going to try and send out via email!! But, until then here is the next best thing! Just to warn you all though...Matty's name might be changing. I am coming to the conclusion that Matty is really a which case the name Matty might not work for him....being that its a girls name. ;-) But, I will keep you posted....

MY BABIES... Posted by Hello

Monday, April 18, 2005

Oh How the Time Flies

Hello to all my friends and family! I'm sorry I haven't been able to update you for quite some time. It been at least a couple of months......
Some major highlights have been:
On March 17, 2005: I led the Los Angeles InnerCHANGE's Urban Plunge Day. Its one of those days where others from outside the community and are interested in learning more about our community and about what we do as a ministry in Westlake/Pico Union Neighborhood. So basically I was in charge of planning, creating, and carrying out this special day for our guests! I for one really enjoyed it and it confirmed for me what I really want to be doing...and that is...working in my community for my community. Which leads me to the second highlight of the last few months.
At the beginning of April, I put in my 3 month resignation in at my receptionist position. My last day will be July 8, 2005. And I will be support raising so as to work full-time in Westlake/Pico Union Neighborhood through InnerCHANGE. I am considered a "Missionary-in-training" through the organization. This is something that I am very excited about and something that I really feel God is asking me to do. So please pray that the transition goes well.
A couple of weekends ago Jarod, an intern from last summer and good friend of mine, came out here to visit. He came out to see the InnerCHANGE team and hang out in the warm weather.... Miriam, Jessika, Jarod, some of Miriam and Jessika's friends and I went to a Middle Eastern restuarant and drank Turkish coffee. Which might I really good. Drinking it brought me back in when I was in Israel! Oh the Memories! On Sunday morning, Jarod and I went biking on the coast. There is a bike path that stretches through all the beaches in the area. It was really beautiful, but I think we had to get off our bikes more than we were able to ride them because the sand poured over on to the bike path! was a wonderful day anyways.

And one of the last major things that happened is.... I got another pet! Yeah, I know what your thinking...where is she going to put another animal! But relax....its a Bearded Dragon just like Jake. And I am calling her Madeline (Matty for short) And its the cutest thing ever. My ex-boyfriend, Danny, found Matty in his backyard. Apparently Matty had been lost..Danny tried to find out who the owners were, but when they couldn't find them, he called me up and asked me if Jake wanted a companion? After much thought (5 secs) I said yes! So he brought Matty over on Sunday before Church. And an even better blessing... Danny was able to get me one of his older cages, so that I could fit them both into one cage.

It fun to watch them. The two of them sit in the cage staring at each other alot which is kinda funny. Matty tries to engage Jake, but Jake just stares at her! I think its kinda cute. Jake knows he rules the coop, but He is being very gentle with Matty. At least I think he is....atleast I am praying that when I get home no limbs are missing from the two of them.;-) But generally they like each other.
It is a little sad though.....when Danny found Matty, she had been through alot. She was dehydrated and without food. And to top it off, she has one hand missing and a few fingers are gone too. Poor little thing...she is defiantely a survivor.....
And I think the thing that amazes me is that she engaged Jake first not the other way around! So all in all...she is my kinda girl!! She doesn't let life get her down! Or circumstances for that matter! ;-)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

To Love......

What is LOVE if it can easily be given?

But what is TRUE LOVE...only that we care for those who care for us?

Or is it more?

Does it call us to give what we don't have?

...or do we find that what we are giving is imparted by Christ and Christ alone?
Our call is to give what we never had knowing that God is supplying....

To LOVE: is to see each moment as a gift and a moment to be lived for the Ultimate Love of our lives.

To LOVE means to see others in their brokenness a part from our own. And knowing respond to another with words that bring one more bit of healing to their brokenness. It means to weep when you see the pain of another and it means allowing those who could hurt you into your life. It means to see God's heart. And to feel the pain He feels when one is lost or turned from Him. To love is the most powerful gift I have ever known. It has the ability to change hearts. It can move mountains. And it empowers the "Fools of this World" to shame the Wise.

I have heard it said that it is fact and manly wisdom that brings success. But, I have found LOVE is far greater. It is knowledge that makes Man smarter and wiser, but it is love that penetrates the soul. And it is our soul that tells our mind how we are to use our knowledge...


Divine...Divine...How can it be?
That your LOVE can Penetrate Me
Broken, Bruised and Lame, I come
Feeling as if nothing can be done.
Your Love O'God empower my soul
And Changes me...So that I can be whole.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Please Welcome Lance Mark Alisurez....

Lance Mark Albisurez...Isn't he precious! Posted by Hello

MOMMY with Baby Posted by Hello

Auntie Rikki with the Adorable little Lance...yeah he looks great--can't say much about about me.....;-) Posted by Hello

On March 1, 2005 in the wee hours of the morn, Lance Mark was born via C-section. He came out weighing 6 pounds, tiny. But, such a quick learner. One of the nights Mel, Kristin, Jude (Oma), and I came out to see him....and Roxy. And as we passed him around to each person, He intensely studied each one of us, watching every move we made. I am telling you...this one is going places!

Isn't he the most adorable baby one has ever seen!!! Okay..maybe I am bias, but can you blame me. ;-) After all, he does happen to have two of the greatest parents I could ever know and they just happen to be my closest friends!

Congratulation Chris and Roxy!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 25, 2005

Prayer Request for My Friend Karina

On Tuesday, I found out that a dear friend of mine, Karina, was in the Hospital. She went into the Emergency Room on Monday because she couldn't breathe that well. After looking at her, the doctors admitted her into the hospital and they don't know when she will be leaving. She had apparently had an Asthma Attack. The doctors say she is stable, but they cannot say when she will be well enough to come home. She is, currently, 6 months pregnant, so extra care should be taken to help my friend and her baby. If you could pray for her and her unborn baby's health and for her husband and kids during this time, it would mean a lot.

A Story from John Shorack in Venezuela

I read this story the other day and thought it was something that needed to be shared. The man who wrote it is from the InnerCHANGE Venezuela team. It is something we all should think about:

Luis ­ More than a Running Partner

A couple weeks ago I finally went jogging with a man from our hillside
Luis Rodriquez. Luis is two years younger than me (that means he¹s 43
old). In his late teens and early 20s he was a professional boxer,
the world (to Indonesia, Thailand, Norway, Germany, Greece, USA, most
American countries and more). He sparred with Sugar Ray Leonard (USA
medalist in 1976 Olympic Games) and shook hands with the golden boy
East LA, Oscar de la Hoya.

Luis is also a baker. From his very humble, hillside ³rancho² (the word
squatter homes), he bakes and sells bread for his neighbors from two
home-made ovens that he converted from refrigerators. His bread is very
and affordable. Luis takes pride in providing this service to his
(his barrio is the only one I know of that actually has a bakery within
community, virtually everywhere else requires taking a jeep to the
district at the foot of the hillside to buy fresh baked breads.)

For those of you who know running, Luis has run a 2:40 marathon. Not
bad for
a 40 year old. He goes for an 8 mile run every morning at 5:30am
(parenthetically, not unlike his home-made ovens, Luis¹ running shoes
like they were converted from sandals). If you saw his body, you¹d know
I mean when I say to myself, ³So this is what a professional athlete¹s
looks like.² I listen with genuine respect when he tells me, ³I played
baseball, too, but only Class A because the opportunities didn¹t exist
them. Otherwise, who knows, I might have played in the majors.² He¹s
kind of guy who can say that with credibility. His body speaks for

It was 5:30am, the jeeps were making their early morning runs up and
the hill. I got to the factory entrance to wait for Luis. Suddenly he
emerged from the dark and we were off. As it turned out, I didn¹t have
anything to worry about. Luis wasn¹t interested in our pace. He wanted
talk. And talk we did. For an hour and a half. He didn¹t waste anytime.
soon as we hit the flats at the bottom of the hill he jumped right in:
do you think of our government? The question caught me off guard a bit.
made a few safe, moderately positive remarks about the president,
what he is trying to do, while not wanting to get caught up in the
personality cult that follows the president. As we ran through the
together, oblivious to the physical exertion, Luis began sharing his
with me. Here are two remarks he made that I will never forget (I
them as accurately as possible.):

³I want to see a president of your country be the first one to step
and eliminate his own weapons of mass destruction.²

He went on to tell me:

³As long as injustices like Saddam Hussein¹s get treated by further
injustices, like those that George W. Bush is doing in Iraq, then we
have a world of injustices. Because those in power who could do justice
no incentive to do what¹s right, since they see that solving problems
injustice gets rewarded.²

This was no ordinary jog in the park, was it? And Luis is no ordinary
guy. I
affirmed his instincts. That is no small thing that you¹re saying, I
replied, praying for the Lord to give me wisdom. In fact, I continued,
understand something about the gospel that I am trying to teach the
Pentecostal pastors. That got his attention.

³I have no respect for religion. I believe in humans. Religion,² he
went on,
³is full of bad people who do bad things and just hide behind

You know, Luis, your vision for a US president that chooses to lay down
weapons of mass destruction as the first step toward peace, is only
because we have a God who already did that very thing. The God I
worship is
a God who humbled himself. He didn¹t insist on Lording over people.
he laid down his power and showed us the way of love and forgiveness.

Needless to say, I got a lot more from my morning jog than I bargained
Somehow, I have to believe, that Luis got more than he bargained for,

John Shorack, January 2005

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Some people come and go in your life, others you may not see, but they will always hold a special place in your heart, and then there are those, that when you meet them, you know at that very moment...they are a person you will want to actively keep apart of your life forever. I can't say that the latter has happened often, but I can say that my friend Roxy is one of those people.
I met Roxy a year and a half ago, when I moved out to Los Angeles. She was one of the first people I met out here. And soon as I met her--I knew we would be instant friends. And she has proven to be one of the greatest friends I could ever have.
On Saturday (February 5, 2005), I had the opportunity to celebrate the coming of her and her husband's first born son, who is due in March. Mel, a friend of mine, and I planned the Baby shower and a close friend of Roxy's, Barbie, and her husband hosted the shower at their place. It was a beautiful day with lots of warm weather and no clouds. It was wonderful.
What struck me most that day, was not the large amount of gifts people brought or even the cultural diversity that was present. But it was the moment, we all came together and introduced ourselves and explained how we knew Roxy and Chris. As we all went around the room to share our stories, we also began to talk about the many ways Roxy and Chris have both touched each of our lives. Each person began to bless the two of them in this new journey into parenthood. There were many moments of tears and many moments of laughter, but best of all....there were many moments in which LOVE was shared between each other.

This last Week

This last week, one of the 11 year old girls from the building....came over to my house. She loves to write things in my computer. Often she writes about what she likes to do, who is in her family, where she lives...what's it like. I save them all...because they tell me a story...her view of the neighborhood. This week she wrote about her favorite things to of the things she likes to do is read. I asked her about that...what books she has enjoyed.....when she likes to read. It was neat to see her come alive as she talked about her favorite books. Seeing this joy and wanting to help her do better at reading, I asked her if she would like reading a book with me. And when I did, her eyes began to glow.

Just a Few Facts!

According to the Los Angeles Times:

In the Last year, Los Angeles recordeda 25% increase in requests from families for emergency shelter.

Los Angeles County has approximately 34,000 homeless family members at any given time---a population roughly the same size as the total population in Beverly Hills.

In Los Angeles County, more than half of families seeking emergency shelter are turned away, a study by the US Conference of Mayors concluded, and families oftne must be split up to be housed.

For families that suddenly find themselves without a home, the county has 975 emergency shelter beds and has been hardpressed by limited funs and high real estate costs to add more. A proposed $4.5 million , 30-bed emergency family shelter slated for South Los Angeles has been stalled for nearly a year. Official haveing $2.5 million for the project and have asked the county to pony up the balnace, but so far have received no comitment.

Los Angeles spends about $58 million annually on homeless service and the county spends about $285 Million, including healthcare, welfare and othe social services.

2/3 of the county's 88 cities don't provide homeless expenditures at all.

In Comparision, New York City (not even the entire county) plans to spend $708 million for homelss services an recently announce a $30 million project to rebuild a 20 year old agency that processes families applying for emergency shelter.

--In September, LA Family Housing closed an East Los Angeles shelter.....there was not enough funding to absorb the shelter's $600,000 operating cost.

In general, Other large urban centers, especially those in colder cliemates where homeless people risk weather-related injuries or deaths- typically spend more per capita that Los Angeles County does and consolidate their services.

This is merely food for thought....

It's had me thinking about a lot of things including this:

What continues to amaze me is how a city larger (NYC) than LA and has a higher rate of homelessness, has mangaged to do a better job meeting the needs of the homeless.

And sadly, it is hard for me to hear that Los Angeles has the same amount of extremely rich people as they do extremely poor people. And yet we continue to have insufficient funding to help the poor.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Week of Festivities!

This week...I have spent most of it cleaning and organizing my apartment. John had a Yard Sale last weekend, so until then-the majority of the stuff we were selling, was in my apartment. So, this week was the week to get everything in order since I now had the space to do it. After work on Monday...a girlfriend of mine came over. It was such a blessing. She works with an after school program in Watts. So the two of us are a great support for each other. On Wednesday, however, I was sent by InnerCHANGE to San Francisco. It is always a joy to see the team that is up there.
My team wanted me to go up there to see how San Francisco did their Urban Plunge Day and hopefully get ideas for our Urban Plunge Day. What is Urban Plunge Day you ask? It is day for people who are interested in learning more about InnerCHANGE to come see what we do. We take them around to varies areas of our community and give them a little taste of what we are all about! It is a rather neat experience. Ours is March 17th!
This plans are to celebrate some Birthdays, help a friend of mine from the neighborhood paint her kitchen, and go to a wedding shower for one of them men in InnerCHANGE and his future wife.

Monday, January 24, 2005


To give you every detail of my week...would take days, but I did want to give you all some highlights!!! Last weekend, I moved into my very own apartment!! It's still a studio, however, it is all my own. I know...who would want to live alone. But, actually, having my own place is very therapeutic. There are so many things that I am doing with people...that it is nice to have a place where no one is, but me.....unless of course, I have others over....which I do! And it is such a blessing.....I even have furniture!!! The day I moved even began with a trip down to San Diego. A man living down there, offered his furniture to our team, so we got 1 couch, 2 futons, a love seat, 3 end tables, some lamps, a table, a dresser, etc. all for a reasonable price. So, 2.5 hours down, renting a truck, loading the truck, and 2.5 hours back!....a 10 hour trip. And I believe it was more than worth it! Our team has been praying for furniture for the last 3 months and then "out of the blue", this man wants to bless us with more than what we even asked much more that we were even able to bless some of our neighbors. One of my good friends and her husband were really in need of a bed for their kids. Because of the tight space (a studio apartment) they really didn't have much room. We were able to give her one of the futons. During the day they have the room to move around because the futon can act as a couch and then during the evening, the kids have more than enough room to sleep comfortably when they pull it down. It was a joy to be able to bless a family that so often blesses me with their presence and friendship!
Along the rest of the week, aside from work, I had a friend tell me that she might be deported. This was a scary thing for me. I didn't want to loose someone so close to me, especially to a place that might not be the safest. Immediately, I searched the internet for information on how to help her.
My friend moved here as a refugee from El Salvador when she was five. I'm not sure if any of you have every heard of the war in El Salvador, but it was a very intense situation. My friend has memories of people being skinned alive. Other have to me stories of Guerilla warriors that came into villages...simply line up all the men or women and just shoot them. Kids would watch as their parents were killed. When my friend's family came, they were offered asylum and have been living here for the last 17 years with no problems. Apparently, in July, when she was suppose to receive her annual work permit...instead came letters that she would soon be receiving it. In September, she received a letter saying that she would need to come in for finger prints and still no permit. While having her prints taken--they told her that instead of receiving the permit she would be sent on an "interview", regarding her status. When her mom and her showed up they were presented with a form stating that they had never filled out the proper paper work, in 1998, to continue living in this country. However, the two of them have no recollection of ever receiving the paper work. Which doesn't surprise me, being that it took the government, 5 months of not issuing their work permits to finally tell them why they weren't issuing the permits. Everything is so backed up in government offices because they don't have a high enough labor force, that it is quite was never sent!
My roommate and I spent the week contacting as many people as possible to help them out. And in the end, though not through any of our endeavors, the two were able to get a lawyer. We are thankful they have someone to defend their case and thankful he was able to fill out the proper paper work, increasing their chances of staying. But please pray over this entire situation--that the judge would be in their favor. There is still a chance, she might deported.
This whole situation has caused me to think a lot where it is God is leading me. I thought about the Law. And I thought about the many ways I could have helped my friend had I had my law degree! I see crazy things every day and I watch as the injustice in the World hurts people I care for deeply. And I think to just isn't fare. And I ask God...Why? And as He answers me, I am overwhelmed with the Brokenness of this World. A World, that out of its brokenness, tries to function...tries to find their own logical answers. Answers that often feed only unconscious selfish needs. And at the same time...I am, also, overwhelmed with the unabounding love God has for every person in this world, every person in their brokenness. I feel His longing for Truth to scream out louder than anything else and His desire for healing and wholeness in each of us.

Friday, January 21, 2005

My Trip Home!!!

I wanted to share with you a little piece of me and the place I come from. I grew up in Chicago and Mosinee, WI. My father and his family live in Chicago and my mom and her family live in Mosinee, WI. I treasure each experience I had the opportunity of having in each of these places growing up because they are a part of who I am. My experience home was wonderful because I got to spend it with some very great people, people whom I love dearly. I hope you are just as blessed in seeing these pictures as I was blessed being in those places to take them. These pictures are of people that I hold very dear to my heart: they are my family.

The Drive up Through WI...Isn't it Pretty! Posted by Hello

My Home Town...Mosinee! Posted by Hello

My Street.... Posted by Hello

The Neighborhood Rec Center.....It's where we go Ice skating, have the Polish Fest (Majority of us are Polish), the Car show, the place the Mosinee Hockey Teams play (really big here). It's really the everything center!!! Posted by Hello

The Wisconsin River...going over the Bridge into Mosinee Posted by Hello

The Paper Mill! The Main Employer in our town of 4,000. Ever use the Paper Towels in a Public Restroom....chance are, it came from here.... Posted by Hello

The Day of the Storm! 8" in two days... Posted by Hello

The Home of my Youth..covered in 8" of snow! Posted by Hello

The Corner of 5th and Main St. I grew up on 5th..and the picture is the view from the house! Posted by Hello

My Roomates (And still good friends) when I lived in Stevens Point....Amanda (Left) and Laura (Right) Posted by Hello

The 3 of us Posted by Hello

Tucker on this new Truck.....isn't He adorable....(My cousin, Jaime and Her husband, Terry's son) Posted by Hello

Christmas Eve with my Dad and Family

The sister and here boyfriend up close! Posted by Hello

Another Fam shot......My Auntie Herta is on the Left with Tori and Anna. My Uncle Karl is on the Left. Posted by Hello

A little Goofy....but we love each other... Posted by Hello

Morgon, Tori, and Me. Aren't we cute....(My Cousin Maria's kids) Posted by Hello

My Cousin Ken and His Girlfriend, Melissa Posted by Hello

ME and Santa (My Uncle Karl) Posted by Hello

My cousin, Anna and I Posted by Hello

My Dad and My Uncle Karl..I mean Santa! Posted by Hello

My GRAMMA and Santa! Posted by Hello

The Cousins: (Left to Right) first row: Erish, Anna, Kenny, Me, My sister: Dani..second row: Maria with her two children: Morgon and Tori Posted by Hello