Thursday, 5 July 2012
Tuesday, 3 July 2012
Sunday, 1 July 2012
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Our final days in Hamtramck as a team were very impactful as we take a look at where God has brought us to broken ness over a city that is fighting through deeper struggles that I have ever faced in my entire life. We have had some time to digest what God is speaking to us and where we will never be the same because of God's work in the last week. Below is some of my thoughts but I encourage you to ask e in person.
Thursday and Friday I went with a part of the team working to Finnish a house project and this mean that we had to travel across the city to get there. Honestly, I have never seen so many abandon houses and large buildings in my life. In minnesota, even in the worst parts it doesn't compare. Entire blocks vacant and when I asked Andrew, on of the leaders, he informed me that the trend is that streets tend to survive or crumble together. Although we may seem self sustaining in our individual driven society its clear that if a street or neighborhood doesn't unify there is very little hope. Another thought that hit me pretty hard as i noticed some of them were nice brick houses that seemed very salvageable and some were even big, and at one time beautiful, apartments and schools. This brought me back to Psalm 127 where David says that if a house is not built in the lord, those who labor, labor in vain.
Friday night after work all day we got a chance to go into Detroit to learn and be tourists. There was a place called the Heidelberg Project where an artist took a broken down and abandoned area of Detroit, his neighborhood, and made a statement of it after he had returned from the army. Mostly its colorful dots painted over abandon houses and stuffed ani also nailed to trees but there were also statements against war, poverty, commercialism, drugs and violence. All in all it was unfiltered and somewhat disturbing. Then we explored the down town where there were many sculptures and statues commemorating Detroit as an auto empire and historical landmark. We finished the night relaxing and worshiping in the rain at Bell Isle which was very beautiful.
Saturday we had debrief but before that many of us worked a community garden threat was just getting started, there we met the chief of police and many community members. One of the most powerful times before we left was saying goodbye to those we had sever. The people were so grateful, they spoke highly of Acts 29 for showing them love and we got to pray with them. After many hugs from grateful hearts we went out as a team the last night at Royal Kabob which was an awesome time of fellowship with the Acts 29 staff that could come. As we conclude our 13 hour van ride we can only thank God for what he has done in the things that we can and cannot see. Some fruit from this trip may not be known until we see Jesus. The greatest thing I learned from the time there was that serving Jesus will cost you everything, and is entirely worth it.
Keep praying for their perseverance and our focus as we return to school. We cannot thank Sharon, Brad, Jonathan, Andrew & Abby and Shawn enough for their example and love.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Over the past couple days God as been stretching our team from Crown and breaking many hearts for those without God here in Hamtramck and and pray for Acts 29 and their ministry to the community. Last night we went street witnessing; breaking off into groups of two or three and going to start spiritual conversations. The Lord prepared the way for us and gave us many people and groups of people to share the Gospel with. Personally, my group had a few good responses where the individuals were in agreement that this city needed God but there was one gentlemen that said he needed to get his life straight before he could return veto church. What is proper response for this man? For me the answer comes in Luke 9:23 where Jesus says if anyone is to come after him they must deny themselves , pick up their cross, and follow him daily. Another conversation that was seed planting came with two Bengali men who were Muslims. They were delighted to talk with us about God which was encouraging and their response to us was that we are the same because we serve the same God and we are also unified because we love people of other religions. How is a Christ follower to respond to these men who say are beliefs are universally the same? In this situation the real problem comes when deciding weather Jesus is really God and if having faith in his death alone is the only way to be at peace with God. The rest of our group had some wild stories and relationships built that will lead to further meeting to discus faith. All in all it was pretty powerful, and we had some solid fellowship at the Yemen Cafe last night as men afterwards.
Going back, Sunday was day of resting in preparation for the long week ahead of construction, ESL and various other ministry events. We kept it fairly low key while making a visit to the park later in the dash and having a once little pick up soccer match with some kids from the neighborhood, this was a great time to relax and begin to talk to people about Jesus. We also visited the buhdist temple in Hamtramck were we toured their facility and heard about their practices. Personally it seemed rather vague beyond attempting to empty "yourself". Pastor Sharon also gave us more info on the history of Hamtramck and highlights of the culture, I.e. kale chips.
Monday started off bright and early and the team struggled a bit to adjust after sleeping in the days prior but things go it off to a quick start after Brad, one of the leaders at Acts 29 lead morning bible study. There were two projects we were helping with, one was a porch that had collapsed that we had to demolish and build anew. The second was a house being remodeled of a lady who runs the thrift store that is conjoined to the Acts 29 building. Then at noon and at 7pm we helped with 3 different levels of English classes. Steve; my semi-co-leader, Kari and I made Fajitas for the team for one of our nice dinners with the Acts 29 staff. One thing that realty fought my attention and was during the evening English class, 7 of the students took ten minutes and did their evening prayers, and although it was small, it showed their devotion.
As we finished up our first true work day it was really interesting to see the form or I impression the team was already leaving. Along side that, we finally had a trace and a name to be broken over and to pray for as well as a relationship, with nonbelievers in Hamtramck.
Tuesday was much a continuation of English class and projects around the city with last night focused on street evangelism. We are praying that God will move in this city from these dry bones and be a light to Detroit and to the nation for Jesus. One aspect that I need to constantly remind myself is that this mission is not only about Acts 29, it is about Good transforming lives and redeeming his people out of this evil world to be children of God. I come representing Crown college yes, and I do advocate acts 29 but first and foremost I am a citizen of heaven and I carry the the good news, the gospel.
Wednesday was mostly a rest day for the team but I got the great privilege to travel to northwest Detroit to work all day with two solid guys Brad and Andrew. It was solid and we have much to be thankful for in the work we were able to accomplish.
Please pray for the team because some are sick and others are getting worn out. Pray for those we interact with that we will have courage to carry the good news and speak often of his work in our lives. Pray that we can be encouraging too one another and to they Acts 29 staff as days get long ad people are stretched.