“…Flesh of my Flesh…”
It’s 3:08 am as I write this… I can’t sleep… I woke up at about 2:00 am or so, my heart so burdened, the weight of leaving Newark becoming heavier and heavier on my heart as our departure draws closer. I find myself asking God why? “Why are you leading us away from this place where we have spent the last seven years of our lives pouring into the kids of this community, building a youth center, changing a neighborhood….?” Each one of these kids has become like our own children, each one so important to us. Flesh of our flesh, fellow human beings, made in the image of God.
Some of these kids have been raped… violated by adults and others who where supposed to care for them… Many of these kids are fatherless, abandoned by an earthly father of selfishness…. All of these kids are poor… Maybe not compared to the kids in Haiti, but compared to the way I grew up and the standard of our country, poor… All of these kids need Jesus. I think of their lives and imagine them in 20 years. Are we abandoning them… Am I turning away? Is leaving them to further my education so I can church plant and duplicate better what has been done here the right choice? I keep asking myself that question. I keep checking my motives… This is the hardest thing I have ever done. Yesterday a kid hugged me and said he wasn’t going to let me leave… I wept… I don’t want to leave, how can I leave…? But God keeps reminding me to trust Him, and trust His people to step up and continue to serve the poor, broken and marginalized kids of Newark while we are gone.
Looking into the eyes of my youngest daughter Katy-Grace in the picture above, I can’t imagine going away from her. I mean look at her. She’s beautiful. (Not to be proud or anything) I see her mother’s feature and I love her and would never want to leave her… As I look at all these pictures of these precious kids below attending our summer camp my heart aches in a similar way. I see their Father’s Features…Yes, they are not my very own, my DNA does not run through their blood, but God’s does… They are His children and He will never leave them. This ministry belongs to God and even though I leave, God will not. He will still work in this place. “Greater things have yet to come in this city…”
These kids are our flesh and blood…. they belong to all of us. They are made in the image of God and precious to their Father in heaven. They are the least of these in our country, the marginalized and forgotten… They are inner city kids of Newark NJ… As of right now, 39 of these precious kids still need to get sponsored for summer camp. Our summer camp starts in 8 days and as usual we have no idea how we are going to fund it. God has supplied an amazing team of people who are stepping up to pour their hearts into these kids, but it seems He has not raised up the people to fund it. yet….
So now I ask the people of God, on behalf of my children here in Newark… your children here in Newark… “Will you turn from your own flesh and blood?” You may not know these kids personally, but I do, and I plead on their behalf. I ask for your help. I am asking the Church of Jesus Christ, and everyone I know for that matter to come along side us and redeem Newark by redeeming the next generation… Join us in this mission to make right what has been broken by the sin and the selfishness of the human condition. As Isaiah says later in the 58th chapter: “Spend Yourself on the hungry.” This is an invitation to join God in the amazing redemption work He is going to do this summer. The amazing work He already has done when He spent Himself by coming to our broken planet in the person of Jesus Christ to lay down His life on the cross for our sin.
There are so many ways to help. Right now our biggest need is $15,000 to run this summer camp for the 45 kids and 12 teen staff God has brought us. Can we raise that in 8 days? I believe God can. That seems like a lot, but it really isn’t if you think about it.
If half the people reading this were willing to sacrificed a pizza, or a trip to the movies, or a few trips to Starbucks than all these kids would have a 6 week long summer camp experience permeated with the love of Christ developing them for God’s Glory and the redemption and joy of their community.
We have made it as easy as ever to sponsor kids or even form an online team that can raise funds for them if you can’t personally give. I stayed up many a night building this website so I could leave an effective tool to help people help kids in Newark.
For the King and the Kingdom,