by Kristie R.
“The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.” -Psalm 145:9
Stepping into SMI I did not know what to expect. I knew the program would be an enriching experience as it included all of my passions: ministry, underserved urban populations, and Hispanic communities. As we went out on our first day I was taken aback by the kindness of the people and how they gave us the opportunity to hear a piece of their story. I encountered so many stories of hurt, pain, and anguish, yet people were hungry for prayer and for a reminder of the hope of Jesus Christ and the goodness of our God. Their expression of gratitude was overwhelming. Some were grateful to see their community being cared for, while others felt
blessed to have meaningful conversations. As I continued to meet more amazing people throughout the weeks, it was so evident to me how much God was present and moving throughout North Philly. Among the brokenness and hurt there were several displays of the Lord’s goodness and mercy.
One vivid example of His goodness was the McPherson Square Library. Over time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the park surrounding the library has grown to be a location where a lot of people congregate to use drugs. For this reason, many local community members are hesitant to go to the library or bring their kids to the park. During a volunteer opportunity, I got to spend the afternoon at the library and meet Brian, the children’s program director. With such joy, he showed us all of the different stations he had designed to engage kids of all ages. From a jewelry-making station to a bike repair station and a well-balanced lunch, Brian had thought of everything for kids to have a safe place to play, learn, and make friendships. As I walked around the library and spent time with the kids, I was overwhelmed by the goodness of God and his gentle mercy.
The community at SMI is also one of the most compassionate, thoughtful, and authentic groups of people I have ever met. They intentionally pray for you and genuinely want to know you. They are a beautiful representation of God’s grace and goodness. As Susan Post said during one of our training sessions, God is already working in Philly and calling us to come to Him and experience firsthand what He is doing. Our Lord is good and His mercy is all over His beautiful creation, all you have to do is stop and look around. Thank you SMI for an incredible three weeks.