Life in South Phoenix
This morning I had breakfast with a good friend and fellow laborer for community transformation in South Phoenix. We enjoyed Matt’s Big Breakfast one of Phoenix’s great eating establishments. We brainstormed and talked about what it takes to see an individual, a family and a neighborhood turn out for the better. We will be partnering together to do a four-day urban mission trip for some high school and college students who live in Scottsdale. My hope is to share my passion for urban transformation through living the gospel out in word and deed with these young adults. It is always easy to talk about something that is still out there versus actually making a plan and doing something.
It has been exciting to watch God work often in spite of my weaknesses and quirks with a network of churches in the greater Phoenix area. We have seen God raise up a group of tutors who have volunteered to help some urban youth that live in a Habitat for Humanity Community (South Ranch). This seedling beginning in September is now birthed into a group of 20 plus youth that come consistently. We have done a summer program that is more like a VBS or Bible Study that sees the spiritual and social circumstances of the youth addressed. We have had them help with doing two carwashes to understand what it is like to plan something and then carry it out. We have then raised funds that can be used to have fun activities such as roller-skating and going to a local pool.
We have also been painting houses of low-income families in a similar area over the last year. It has been an adventure to get to know many of these families who have lived in this neighborhood for more than twenty years. Our hope is to learn from these grandmas and grandpas their stories and be part of a synergistic process where God intersects their lives and the lives of their adult children and their grandkids. There is a great need for partnering with these families not to seek to fix them by giving them something for free but helping them to catch a vision of what would happen if the Gospel of Jesus Christ impacted their lives and they stepped up and reached out to those around them.
As we walked around the neighborhood today and handed out 100 flyers it struck me that I have no guarantee that any child will show up next week for our VBS program at Sarah Coleman’s house or we could have 30 kids and be shocked. Often God asks us to step out and make the moves but He ultimately has to cause the seeds that have been sown to grown and sprout. I am excited to see what He does knowing that He deserves the praise and credit. My hope is to see the youth that help gain an appreciation for the lives they have and then catch a vision for sharing Christ and their life stories with others. We do seriously need to get off the couch and get out in our neighborhoods and do something – anything for Christ and be planting seeds all of the time!
Thanks for listening – Dave