Last night we gathered with other Christians in our neighborhood to discuss the Gospel, what it means to us and to our neighborhood, an under-resourced community struggling with (or spiraling into) urban blight, drug addiction, prostitution and poverty. We gather weekly to fellowship, reflect and pray. Some who live on the other side of the neighborhood from us have befriended a bottom rung (i.e. not well off) drug dealer. We’ll call him Jonesy.
Last night, after we had prayed for God to make use of us in the neighborhood, to make our lives a lifestyle of worship evident by our loving service to each other and our neighbors there was a knock at our host’s door. It was Jonesy. He had an emergency. He owed someone $50 bucks. They broke into his house and shot his dog to remind him that payment was due or else…
The gunshot wound wasn’t fatal. Brooks, our host, informed us as to what was going on. We passed the hat and quickly came up with the $50 to pay the debt and dispel the threat that was hovering over Jonesy. Last year a 20 year-old got shot and killed just a few blocks away over a debt of $100. Brooks, a Christian that lives across the street from Jonesy, gave him the money stating that this is from the Church and is God’s grace to you. We got the dog in Brook’s car and off they went to the vet.
Those who partner with us in our ministry to the Dominican Republic and Haiti also partner with us in the inner-city as well. Last night I reached into my wallet and pulled out our money, our ministry partner’s, mine, Vic’s and God’s, to help pay a life threatening debt on behalf of a local drug dealer in Jesus’ name.
I can’t help but think that the Adversary really gets pleasure out of such acts of wickedness… from a dog being shot as a threat, to the meaninglessness of being a drug dealer in a community that has nothing, generating more nothingness, to the desperation of a mother in Haiti feeding her child a cookie made of dirt to stave off hunger pangs a few thousand miles away, and the dulling reality of that desperation becoming a normal means of coping with hunger. I can’t help but think of the sickening smile on his face.
But you know what makes me smile? What gives me pleasure? Everything from leading a small delegation of North American Christians on a day trip into Phaeton, Haiti with the intent of establishing a daily nutrition center through the local church and working on a plan to bring sustainable agriculture and micro-economic growth there in Jesus’ name to knowing that last night when I took our cash out of my wallet the laughing mockery stopped because suddenly Hope was injected into a scenario that was supposed to be hopeless. I thank God for the opportunity to pay a life threatening debt on behalf of the local drug dealer.
You know why? Because I have a debt that was paid for me by God, himself, in the person of Jesus Christ. And last night, because of many Partnerships in the Gospel with us, we could help communicate that truth to Jonesy in way that could actually make sense to him one day. Please pray that it does.
So today we want to remind you to smile too. From the brokenness of the inner-city of Louisville, Kentucky to the interior of Haiti and the Dominican Republic the mocking of our Adversary is silenced with the coming of God’s Kingdom as it blossoms from seed and takes root, returning the dead to life. Hopelessness cannot remain where there is Love (I Cor 13:7).
If you follow our work and ministry and feel the urge to partner with us financially as well know that it is welcome and needed. Find out how here or contact us directly.
You can also connect us with your church, small group or Bible study. We'd be glad to come and share.
Thank you and Peace be with you today!
Jeff & Vic