Monday, April 12, 2010

The Call

New City makes burritos on a monthly basis and takes them to the downtown area of Phoenix that has numerous homeless shelters. We have been doing this for 1.5 years. Each time we do this I pray that I would be able to talk to at least one person. We always have different groups help us both make the burritos and hand them out.

This time I talked with Kevin. He is a tall man, with long hair that abruptly asked me to pray for him. He had court today and was nervous about what was going to happen. This is sad to say but I have given my card to many in this area and said call and let me see what I can do to help. Until Kevin no one had called. Today I got a voice mail from Kevin saying that he wanted to talk.

I am so sorry that I didn’t have my phone next to me. I pray that Kevin will call back and get me. He called from a number at Andre House that didn’t give access to a real person, but just messages about their services. I am excited to hear his story and discover what happened in court today. I know that the look of most faces when we hand out the burritos is one of thankfulness and a true appreciation for shaking a hand and listening for a minute.

Now I hope that Kevin will take a step and call me again. I pray that I can be persistent in finding him this week. Jesus loves the lost, the least and the last. I pray that I can learn how to also care for those who have been forgotten and overlooked.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Stand Up

My life at present is somewhat stressful with dealing with my dad as we transition him into a senior complex. I love my dad but because of his dementia and roller coaster emotional outbursts he isn’t the easiest person to help. As I continue to see God open doors and teach me about relating to my neighborhoods I see the lesson that I am learning with my dad is patience and persistence. I can’t stop caring and allow distractions to stop me from doing what’s right.

God has blessed me with some great examples in my neighborhood of people who are standing up for the truth and doing real community development work. The challenge is that this slow, hard and frustrating. One of my heroes is Fay who is a long term resident in South Phoenix. She is involved with so many different things but what stands out is that she is quick to speak the truth in love to help people see the difference between a quick fix and a real long-term solution. She is slow to give out ‘freebies’ and would rather see people step up and stand up for themselves with Jesus’ help. She is a true partner who I am coming to appreciate and see my need to watch, listen and learn as I to walk in our neighborhood.

I have another new friend, Cynthia, who also is a long term resident in South Phoenix. Her parents had birthed a ministry of helps in their home 30 plus years ago. Cynthia is caring out their passion to see the neighborhood transformed. She too wants to walk with me as we learn together about community revitalization. I am learning that grassroots efforts and word of mouth are the better way to impact a neighborhood. I see the need for connecting with the people who have a heart for the community and through them learn more about the needs that are crucial to address. The challenge is learning how to connect with the people who don’t care and see God motivate and transform them to be different.

There is real evil in these neighborhoods that is always looking at what we are doing. It is a spiritual force that at times can be oppressive and even overwhelming. The good news is that Jesus is greater than any of them. The opportunity is to ask God to help me start praying for them, loving them and being open to learn about life from their perspective. I am still the outsider coming on their turf wanting to take over. So what we are doing threatens them because this is a war. I know that this is going to be a battle that can only be fought and won with spiritual power.

I write this just to give thanks to God who continues to introduce me to the right people who are in the right places. So open your eyes to find the Fays and Cynthia’s in your neighborhood or workplace.