We’ve moved in to our home in north Mpls, a few blocks north of the recent police shooting; and 4 blocks from the 810 project. Damascus Way has joined forces with Antioch Ministry in an effort to bring the Gospel & a sense of security to the neighborhood kids. This includes an afterschool ‘homework’ program during the school year and summer outreaches like ‘Ice Cream & Bible Study’. Since moving in, many of the children we work with have been stopping by more frequently for cookies, something to drink, and to hang out. Every time we hear a knock, my wife and I look at each other, take a deep breath, say a silent and quick prayer, then open the door to these kids who are essentially orphans. It really can be at any hour of the day or night. We know we’re supposed to have ‘boundaries’ in our ministry but what do you say to a kid whose walking around in only a sweatshirt in 0 degree weather – or who shows up at 10 at night crying because “Mommy’s not home yet”? Not to sensationalize or anything, but the reality is that some of the parents are in jail or on drugs.
We had a chance last week to have 3 of them in our kitchen with us. Conversation turned to hearing God and knowing His voice. “How do you do that?”, was the basic question. I told them. All three lined up and said a simple prayer about ‘inviting Jesus into their heart’, then waited and listened for several minutes with me. They each stated they felt something in their heart. One said, “It feels like I’m walking on air!”
Do I think that their lives are forever changed and all is well with the world now? Nope. Not even close. I understand that they are 7, 8, and 10 and living in a very dark world. But I also know that they understand there is a Father in Heaven who is real and who loves them. My hope is to love them unconditionally and to see them the way Christ sees them. I am in love with God. He is in love with my neighbor. The one without a job. The one without a father. The one who is addicted to substance. All of them. His heart is broken for them, and His desire is to restore them unto Himself.
Mary’s Story – a neighbor
Mary* lives in a very spiritually dark apartment complex (much illegal activity) but we met a believing neighbor on a past outreach this Summer. He allowed us into the complex where our team met Mary. She had just lost her husband due to alcoholism. She was resistant to the Gospel at first, but allowed our team to pray for her hurting back. She described heat touching her and removed a brace she had been wearing. She was asked if she was ready to talk to Jesus now? The answer was yes…
My wife and I took her out to tea this past week. We spent a half hour in our van, listening to her grief and her loss. We were compelled to sit with her and listen. And when she was through sharing, we sat longer. We asked God to visit us and bring comfort. His amazing Glory filled our van and we just all sat there in His Presence for a long time.
I was reminded of the Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn… They will be comforted,” Jesus said. As we entered the cafe and began sipping our tea, she laid out practical needs for a job. We prayed. The next day, she was hired. Jesus is so real, so alive, so passionate, and such a good Father. If we ask for bread, He will not give us a stone. I am writing this after dropping her off at her second day on the job.
-Tim Daniels, Volunteer Coordinator, Project 810