by Trevor S.
We come into this place with good intentions, energy, excitement, and passion for positive change and spiritual development. We enter with various levels of experience, understanding, and history. We represent a mix of diverse faith traditions, but with a common objective in mind.
So, what does it mean to enter a foreign place? What does it mean to come with our own weakness, ignorance, and presuppositions? Every time we knock on another door on the street or enter an exam room with a new stranger, we have no idea what space we have entered.
For many our interchange is brief. “Yes, I already got the vaccine.” Or, “No, I am good with prayer right now.” Yet, for many others we are invited into the open and candid stories of these neighborhoods. We hear of tragedy and triumph, of despair and perseverance. As one speaker pointed out, “God was at work in this place before we got here”, and we are privileged to see that presence and to catch a glimpse of his hand, his voice, and his words.
As a few glimpses of this work, consider the testimonies we have heard. We have heard the stories of those who have recently lost loved ones to gun violence and yet confess faith in God. We have heard of faithful marriages spanning decades and centered in God. We have heard the testimony of our translators and how they have preserved through migration and death of spouses, but still hanging on to Jesus.
Every day we hope to find that one person that is ready for spiritual connection. And, we never know. Yet, it has been made obvious that we cannot in ourselves create the movement of God’s Spirit. We would love to force a spiritual moment, but that’s not how God works. As Zachariah 4:6 says, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” Yet, God still wants us to be part of the story. As Romans 10:14 says, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus. And we have felt and experienced his presence as we have in our feeble efforts made a place for Him to work. And, yes, He will continue that work whether we are here in North Philly to see it or not. I have been privileged to be here. I have been privileged to see God’s hand at work.
Thank-you for the hospitality of this community. Thank-you God for the love you have for us all!