Its all their fault.
Three years ago, my “world” lay in shatters.
My life purpose was utterly uprooted. My heart was strewn out, torn from the people and place I loved most deeply. (see below)
And God was sending our family to the place I swore I’d never go….to the Bible-belt South with church on every corner to work in a monocultural community.
A year ago we moved into this community.
And now, just now, it is all coming clear:
It is all their fault.
I sit across the dinner table from Pastor Larry and he explains how the food bank and ministry, Fountain of Hope, came to take up residency right there down the street. So close, that my boys and I can walk down a couple mornings a week to join the morning Bible study that is open to the public.
“Yah, back in 2007 we started with 25 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a prayer team of 5 men that pray every morning on the phone for this neighborhood. We’ve been praying that the Lord of the Harvest would send laborers out into the field of Grove Park.”
Ms. Theresa, my faithful prayer partner, who grew up in the neighborhood and has sadly watched it’s demise, “Oh, honey, I been prayin’ God’d call ’em from the north and the south and the east and the west, to rebuild this place.”
And sweet and faithful Pastor Harper, stationed by God at Paradise Baptist Church. “When God called me here, He told me I’d be here for a while, and I’d work my tail off, and for the past 11 years, I’ve been workin’ and prayin’, workin’ and prayin’…And right now, what’s starting to happen right here, it’s God finally moving in a way I’ve never seen before.”
Pastor Wade, commissioned by the AME church to Holsey Temple, tucked back in the neighborhood, amongst the dilapidated houses, who has faithfully shepherded a tiny congregation while having huge heart for the homeless here. He says, “We pray, and we plug along, hoping that God will bring the people here into the church so they can hear about God’s love.”
Powerhouse, Mr. Terry, with a fire for the Word of God and a powerful testimony of coming out of homelessness, He declares what we already sensed was happening… Nehemiah came and rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem. God has us here to rebuild these walls here in this community!
“but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name. ” Nehemiah 1:9
And so, with my heart being in the farthest of places, we were called into a place where we had no desire to come.
But with powerful prayer warriors crying out to a Powerful God,
no amount of Kimberly’s kicking and screaming, and complaining and fighting could keep us from this place.
It’s simply all their fault.
We, and so many others, have been moved into place…”for such a time as this”…even if we hadn’t wanted to come.
And if those knees hadn’t been worn down, and those cries hadn’t been offered up, and those hands hadn’t been joined together, and hearts hadn’t been unified in one request for a broken down, hurting, and crime-ridden area of Atlanta,
Then we might have missed out. Missed out on seeing God unite people, breathe hope and love into people, breath life into a community.
We are truly privileged with the honor of being here.
And its all their fault.