Friday, November 02, 2012


Jim has really been feeling lately drawn to a certain part of our new neighborhood, Church Street. For the second time in less than a week, we've spent time walking up and down that street, praying over it, talking to folks we encounter, singing to the Lord, and listening to Him, too.

Praying for the church of Jackson to really be the true church.  Forgive us, Lord.

This area, nestled in the historic Farish District, used to be a beautiful, bustling neighborhood where children safely played, grandparents worked in their gardens, women walked to the stores, and men worked hard to support their families. Over the last few decades, the neighborhood has become pock marked with drugs, drunkeness, crime, abandoned houses, failed businesses, prostitution, and extreme poverty. There are still many people who do care for their homes, work hard, and follow the law, people like the lady who stopped earlier this week when we were walking to ask if we needed help. Sadly, the sin and darkness that has reigned here for so long have scared away many and even some of the churches.

Bringing the light of Jesus to Church and Farish Streets.

But bit by bit, that's changing. Light is pushing back the darkness. Love is replacing hate. Folks are seeing the beauty again, even in unexpected places like this old car that Merry thought was so "cool".

While prayer walking on Church Street, Merry spotted this "cool" car.

Or this "art" painted on the side of a building on Farish Street that caught Merry's attention.

Graffiti art on Farish.  You should have heard Merry praying over this building.

You should have heard Merry praying over this building. She prayed that people would come and lay hands on it and as they did that they would pray that lives and the building would be turned to God.

Merry prayed that people will come and lay hands on this building and pray that lives and the building would be turned to God.

And I join her in that prayer. I pray that God's people would turn their hearts to those places in desperate need of God's truth, love, and power and be willing to go and do just as Merry said, lay hands not just on this building but on people themselves. That God's people would pray for people to be healed and delivered. That God's people would get to know the folks who live here, folks like this sweet grandma who is a regular at We Will Go and was just out getting her daily exercise. When you know them, you can then love them. Some of them are easy to love, like her. It is a joy to just get to share with her and hear her stories. It is a blessing to know that by transforming this neighborhood through the power of Jesus, that we're helping give her a better place to live, a safer, friendlier, more peaceful place.

Me and sweet Aldora.  She was an unexpected blessing.

And then there are others that are more challenging to love but need it just as badly, if not more so. Like the three guys who came and asked for snack bags tonight. The family was having our weekly movie and pizza night when there was a rap at the door. Jim got up to answer it and a couple of minutes later he called to us to turn off the movie and come to the door. There were two racoons outside in front of our house. Raccoons! In front of our downtown house! We didn't even ever see raccoons in our house out in the country!

Two raccoons climbed out of the rain gutters in front of our house.  Who says we don't live in the country anymore?

After the excitement of the raccoons passed, Jim gave the men their snack bags, prayed for them, and he came back in. A few minutes later, we got a text from another missionary saying she'd just given snack bags to the same three men not realizing Jim already had because we forgot to send out our text with that information. They are supposed to only get one snack bag a week and they know this, hence the fact that they weren't holding bags in their hands when they came to either of our doors.

We couldn't help but laugh that maybe that's why the raccoons were out, to snag the snack bags the men had hidden somewhere, probably in the bushes beside our house.

So yeah, some neighbors are more challenging than others. Some will cuss you and lie to you and steal from you. Some hate you and yell at you and only use you for the stuff.

But that's why we're here.

The perks are great. I love getting to walk the girls to ballet and being close to stores and places to eat. I am so thankful for the amazing missionaries that we get to meet and the beautiful community of believers here at We Will Go. The kids love having their own rooms in this rambling old house and I enjoy having Jim only two blocks away at his office during the day. And so many of our neighbors are absolute sweethearts, like the grandma we saw this evening.

But we didn't sell our farm, get rid of all our animals, and move to inner-city Jackson for the perks and the easy, already-know-Jesus folks. Yes, we are here to serve them and support them, but ultimately we are here because Jesus told us to come and help rescue the perishing. He told us to come and lay it all down for the sake of His call and the lost souls. He has shown us that Jackson is on fire and folks are perishing in the flames of sin. They are being destroyed by hatred and addiction and unforgiveness and violence.

This is a place that Jesus wants us to harvest for His kingdom. And we are seeing fruit already. But in the meantime, there are still a lot of stones that must be removed, weeds that have to be pulled out, seeds that must be planted, and baby plants that need lots of watering.  Streets like Church Street are just one of the fields He is preparing for harvest.

There's no question about that.

The question is, who will say "yes" to His call for workers? Who will be willing to go, till, plant, nourish, and ultimately harvest?

We only have one year here til we move to Africa, but I can quite honestly say that I am absolutely blessed and honored to be among those He has called to live, love, and walk these streets.

And I'd be pleased beyond measure to have you come alongside us, even if it isn't moving here but only coming once or twice a week or coming for a week or two and staying on base as part of a short-term mission trip. I can pretty much guarantee you won't regret it. It is amazing how much He blesses His laborers. His wages are definitely the best around.

1 comment:

Karen Deborah said...

Your stirring the flames in my heart with this. Sweet Jesus please send My sweet husband and me to this place to live and serve.