Category: wilmington (page 1 of 2)

Sledgehammering, Springtime & Speeches – Compassion Trip Update!

Hello from sunny Wilmington! We’re alive, well, and having a fantastic week! We have had vague and slightly shady memories of white stuff falling from the sky as we enjoy the spring weather, love the people around us and love Jesus.

Our days have been [in the words of various members of the team]: full, inspiring, fun, loud, rich, encouraging, joyful, eye-opening, heart-breaking, exciting, groundbreaking [as in one of our work projects literally involved breaking a sidewalk that needs to be replaced at the UrbanPromise school… ;)], adventurous, heart-warming, challenging, straight-up-awesome, and filled to the brim with Jesus.


We’ve spent our mornings sorting thousands of pounds of food at the Food Bank, doing yard work at the UrbanPromise school, and mulching a local park in Wilmington.

After eating lunch, showering at the local YMCA and taking a midday break at the coffee shop across the street, we split off and head to one of UrbanPromise’s four elementary school after-school programs. The stories we hear from both the staff and kids about the families involved with UrbanPromise’s programs are both heart-breaking and hopeful. They are stories of brokenness and restoration – the type of restoration that only the love and hope of Christ can bring.

You’ve probably heard it before, but really believe this – UrbanPromise is making a radical, eternal, and world-shaking difference in the lives of the children they serve and in the city of Wilmington as a whole.

Please keep us in your prayers as we head into the second half of the week, and join us in praying for the UrbanPromise staff, kids and their entire ministry.

Lots of love & see you Saturday evening,

theUG Compassion Team 2015


PS: At the after school camps we’re helping the kids work on their upcoming speeches. We think they’re doing pretty awesome… you?! 🙂


Updates from our compassion teams!

Camden Update:

Camden has been such a blast so far! We arrived at around 7pm Sunday night and had pizza for dinner and our first worship night as a team. Monday morning we were up bright and early to meet the other work teams and get some orientation from the urban promise leadership. After an intro to UP, we were given an interesting yet thought provoking and challenging tour of the city and its neighbourhoods, a mass grave of still born babies from a heroin and cocaine crisis in the mid eighties, UP’s Boat Works where kids learn how to build canoes and kayaks, and general information about the city and its history and demographics. The afternoon was spent preparing for Junior High Olympics and we closed with another evening of worship.

Tuesday we opened the day with a devotional led by the principal of Urban Promise Forward School, then work projects before lunch and the first day of Olympics – Spirit Day – consisting of team building challenges. Our evening was filled by a screening and discussion of The Sunset Limited.

Today, Wednesday, was begun with more work projects around campus before kicking off day two of Olympics – Mental Day – featuring fear factor style challenges. We are now preparing for Youth Night (similar to The Underground).

We look forward to Physical Day of  Olympics and meeting up with the Wilmington team tomorrow before wrapping up Olympics and a trip into Philadelphia and the journey home.


Wilmington Update:

We’ve had such an awesome week so far!  We’ve been serving with the kids at camp freedom and doing various projects around the city and the camp.  Here’s a little glimpse of what we’ve been up too!

IMG_1937 Here’s Alison and MIchael scrubbing the grease off the doors of camp freedom on tuesday morning

IMG_7046Here’s Alison and Rahman doing after school program homework

IMG_2002 Matt Wells getting beat at a game of pickup basketball!


IMG_7756 Our team having lunch in the park yesterday.  NO SNOW HERE 🙂


March Break Compassion Trip!


We’ve raised money, planned the details, packed our bags and now the day is here to head down to Urban Promise for a life changing week of serving others.   Our grade 9/10 students head to Wilmington Deleware and our grade 11/12 students head to Camden New Jersey.  The mission of Urban Promise USA  has been to equip children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and leadership. They strive to fulfill this mission through after-school programs, summer camps, schools, experiential learning, job training, and a host of other programs that challenge youth to develop and realize their potential.  The neighbourhoods in which Urban Promise find themselves are economically struggling and the kids don’t have access to many resources to better their future, this is where Urban Promise fills the gap.  Our teams will be doing a variety of different jobs around the city as well as building relationships with children at the march break day camps.  

Ways you can pray:

– amazing attitudes of selfless service for God
– the children we will be working with
– that God uses this experience to grow our students spiritually
– that we get many opportunities to love people in the neighbourhoods we are serving
– unity in our teams
– safety

We have limited wifi but we are going to do our best to do more updates from both trips this week!  Check back!

Wilmington – We’re Still Alive!!!

So I’m sitting here in a church full of us, the other work group from Virginia Tech University (they’re pretty awesome) and a bunch of UrbanPromise staff and this – this is the Body of Christ at it’s best. 🙂

This is gonna be short and kind of incoherent because it’s 12:30AM – just a warning/apology in advance. 😉

In the mornings we’ve been helping out at UrbanPromise in whatever way possible – cleaning cars, stuffing/stamping/addressing envelopes, gardening… it’s fun.

Camp has been awesome. We’ve all been doing different things, but something common across all of the camps is that we’ve been helping the kids in Grade 4 & 5 with their speeches for next Thursday’s speech contest. We’re pretty sad that we’ll be missing it, but it’s been awesome/frustrating/rewarding/sweet to work with and encourage the kids.

We did some sightseeing and dinner in Philadelphia tonight, which was lots of fun bonding and sharing good times as a team.

Like I said, right now we’re just hanging out with the UP staff. These people as so. inspiring. Wish you could all meet them because they are too awesome.

We’ve been hearing lots of great testimonies about how awesome our God is, and we’ve definitely been seeing how awesome our God is.

Wish y’all (getting my Wilmington talk on) could hear ALL the hilarious, amazing and inspiring stories, but you’ll just have to ask us when we get home. 🙂

Please pray for a good last couple days, strength to say goodbye, safe travels home and continued strength and favour for everyone at UrbanPromise Wilmington!

Much love & thanks from the Wilmington Crew!

(by Alyssa Esparaz)


Hey everyone!

We’ve arrived safe and sound in Wilmington!

We’ve had an amazing day and a half here so far, meeting the UrbanPromise Staff and the kids at our camps, weeding gardens at the UP school and dealing with deflating air mattresses.

Yesterday morning, we met Salema, one of the staff at UrbanPromise, who led us in a devotional about surrendering our fears to God – which was a really awesome way to start the week. This will definitely be a week of surrendering any worries and fears to God.

We spent the rest of the morning hard at work weeding flowerbeds at the UrbanPromise office and school. After lunch and showers, it’s off to camp!

UrbanPromise hosts four different elementary school after-school programs throughout the city of Wilmington – Camp Victory, Freedom, Hope and Promise. All of us are at different camps for the week, hanging out with the kids, helping them with homework, and participating in whatever programs the staff has planned for the day.

Something really encouraging for me personally, was seeing kids who I met last year, and seeing so much growth. Definitely see God working through UrbanPromise here!

After camp, we had dinner at Mr. Rob’s house. Mr. Rob is the executive director at UrbanPromise Wilmington and he’s a pretty sweet guy. He really encouraged us and sent us off into this week with purpose and more knowledge and understanding about UrbanPromise.

It’s been a great day and a half, and we’re super excited for what God has in store for the rest of the week! Please be praying for good weather [it’s a little rainy here today. L], energy and health, and pray that we would really be the Body of Christ this week.

Thanks for loving us, praying for us and supporting us!


– Alyssa Esparaz for The Wilmington Crew

Compassion Team | Silent Auction & Coffee House







Join the Sr High Compassion Teams, on Saturday February 9th at the Oakville Site (2700 Bristol Circle, Oakville), for their silent auction and coffee house.  It will be a night of talented musicians, meeting the compassion teams, great baked goods/desserts, and an incredible silent auction.  The event is from 7-9:30pm. You don’t want to miss this incredible time to support our team!

Some top silent auction items include:

2 Lower Level Maple Leafs tickets

2 Raptors Tickets

Gift Card to The Keg

Epson Multimedia Projector (perfect for your home theatre)

Team Canada Hockey jersey

Women’s Casio Watch

Canon Inkjet Photo Printer

Gourmet Gift Baskets (from Flower Creations)

Lemondrop Frozen Yogurt Gift Cards

Artwork, by Kendra Heil

…and so much more!


We would love to have your support! If you would like to donate to this event, please email See you February 9th!

Wilmington update – Day 4

Last night we had an incredible experience at the church we are staying at. The folks from Urban Promise put on a simulation using drama, props and storytelling to capture aspects of the life of a boy in the Urban Promise program. Normally, the kid whose life it’s based on would come and speak at the end but he is at college — so it’s great that he missed it. 🙂 

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Wilmington update – day 4

Hey Everyone! 

We are having an amazing week in Wilmington! I’m at Camp Victory and the kids there are so adorable and super fun!
I’ve really been seeing God through all the kids and Urban Promise staff here.
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Wilmington Update – Day 2 and 3

Hi everyone!

So sorry that updates aren’t coming faster from the Wilmington team. We have extremely limited internet access but here’s a quick update.

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Wilmington Update – Day 1

After 13 hours of traveling (when you drive 3 full vans, everything takes longer than you’d think… No such thing as a quick pit stop) we arrived in Wilmington! We are set up at a great church and the pastor there absolutely loves hosting Urban Promise groups — what a warm welcome.

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