Police Chief Tarasovic & Metro Richmond Faith Leaders Partnership
Faith Leaders Walk in Gilpin Court
Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 3:00 P.M.
Richmond Police Faith Leaders Partnership takes its positive message of prayer and empowerment to public housing communities. To date, they have gone to Mosby Court, Wittcomb Court and Hillside Court. Following these walks, there have been noticeable decreases in major crimes and violent crimes. Thank the Lord!
As you know, Louis and I live just a short ½ mile north of Gilpin Court. Gilpin Court, Metro RVA’s lowest income census tract, is an infamous community plagued with crimes – murders, shootings, assaults, drugs and more. Some would ask “Can anything good come from Gilpin Court?” However, I have read that same sentiment about someone else I know and love – Jesus. In John 1:46 Nathaniel asks – “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Only Jesus of Nazareth!
I believe a lot of good can come out of Gilpin! Good is already in Gilpin because God is already there! So, join us in what God is already doing in Gilpin by encouraging and praying with and for the people of Gilpin Court.
We believe in the power of prayer to transform communities and cities!
At 3pm on Tuesday, March 11th, we will meet at the Calhoun Center at 436 Calhoun Street. If you plan to attend, bring a guest with you! And remember to wear comfortable shoes and a smile! Also, remember to RSVP to Sgt. Carol Adams at 804.646.4069 or Carol.Adams@richmondgov.com.
If you can’t make it, please join us in praying from where you are! Let’s believe in a transformative time of prayer.
SAVE THE FOLLOWING DATES:
Faith Leaders Walk
April 8, 2014 436 Calhoun St Gilpin Court 3:00 P.M.
Faith Leaders Community Day/Bike Ride
May 17, 2014 436 Calhoun St Gilpin Court 8:00 – 3:00 P.M.
What do you call the stuff you pull out of the dryer vent, the stuff that collects in your belly button, or the stubborn fiber that covers your favorite black pants which only comes off with a lint brush…or duck tape? Lint, right? Not to be confused with Lent – the religious observance that covers about 6 weeks of time leading up to Resurrection Sunday (Easter Day) (beginning with Ash Wednesday). I knew a whole lota nuttin’ about Lent up until about 7 years ago. According to Wikipedia (not my usual source when I have questions on religious practices, but it worked this time…), “The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.” A time for fasting. Normally, a Lent Observer will pick one thing to fast from… I have heard of everything from chocolate, sodas, social media, TV, alcohol, and more. I have been guilty of picking something just for the sake of saying I was doing it, because others were. Not a really solid motive, right?
4 years ago, this blog was started as a Lenten project. I wrote every day…telling my story, specifically how I moved into the inner-city of RVA, just a short 1/2 mile from the largest public housing complex between Baltimore and Atlanta and how I met Louis. Since then, I also write about our everyday life, what I have learned about God, about myself and about others. This was a time of sacrifice – because it took time to write EVERY day, and as I recalled the stories, I was regularly reminded about how much God loves me, how he works within the details of my life, how I have grown and changed through the process, and how others are much different than I thought.
This year, I’ve given thought to how I might observe Lent this year. This isn’t a ‘got-to’ but a ‘WANT to’. I’m not approaching it from a legalistic point of view. In the last few months, God has really been teaching me a lot about me…my sin, my trust issues, my fears, and more! Then, this morning, I read this post… 20 Things to Give Up for Lent. Go ahead and take time to read it!
I thought I would list what I’m giving up, but then I thought, everything I would give up is already on his list.
Being critical versus critical thinking…
Lack of trust…
These ring particularly true with me, and something God has already been working with me. I love how the article wraps it up…
“God has so much more in store for you. But so many of these things above are holding you back from walking in the full destiny he has laid out for you. Today is a new day.”
Just like lint clings to my favorite black pants – making them yucky. Just like lint can clog up a clothes dryer, these things…these sins can clog up my life…making things really ugly. They keep me from my destiny. As I reflect on the season we are approaching, I don’t think Jesus died on the cross for me to spend time worrying, comparing, impatient, full of doubt. He died so I can live life…and live it more abundantly! To the fullest!
So, I’m not waiting until Ash Wednesday to give them up.
I’m starting today!
Who else wants to live in freedom?
As we think about Valentine’s Day, many are planning dinner, roses, chocolate, balloons, and other special things with their loved ones. Today, I spent time looking at what the Bible had to say about LOVE! There are soooo many verses on the topic. Here are a few I thought I would share with you.
This was one I was really surprised to find. I think it’s our new household verse! We share so many meals with people around our table. And, I find myself (sometimes) thinking too much about what we will serve. Trying new things. But, in the big scheme of things…it doesn’t matter what you are serving when you are surrounded with those you love.
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.
Here’s another favorite. So grateful for my biological family…and my family of friends!
A friend loves at all times, and a brother (or sister!!) is born for adversity.
Kinda funny gathering of things for the writer not to understand. I can think of so many more than 4.
There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.
This is another one that I fell in love (pun intended) with today.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Here are several that I grouped together. The real love story. The one that we are challenged to model our marriages after. How Christ loved the church. He loved us enough to lay down his life for us. the best love story ever.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers
And a few more really, really good ones.
1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
1 Corinthians 13:1-3
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
1 John 4:16
So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
Louis and I have been nominated for the RVA Rock$ Cutest Couple Photo Contest. Now, I don’t think we are the cutest couple in RVA, but I would really, really LOVE to win the grand prize.
Grand Prize: ”Our grand prize winner will win a fantastic night out courtesy of RVARock$ that includes roses, dinner, limousine transportation and a massage!”
How to Vote?
- Click the above image.
- Register to vote or log in if you are an existing user. REVISION: I know that it’s a pain to register. It really is. But, once you are registered, you don’t have to do it again. You can vote unlimited # of times…so it’s totally worth it. Thanks!!! Vote a lot…if you will. The current winning couple has over 10,000 votes at the time of this writing, so we have a lot of catching up to do!
- Search “Other Half” in the search field.
- Repeat… A. LOT.
- Share with your friends, A. LOT.
Thanks a million!
Since moving to Southern Barton Heights, I have more anniversaries than I ever thought I could. So many memories. So many reasons to PRAISE GOD!
So many reminders that…
- God protects us.
- God is in control.
- there’s power in the name of Jesus.
- there’s healing in the name of Jesus.
- God cares for every. living. soul.
- obedience is key.
- Jesus is the Word that became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. (John 1:14 MSG) and…
- as Jesus Followers, Louis and I are called to our neighborhood.
- being a Jesus Follower isn’t the safest place to be on earth and IS absolutely the safest place to be…all at the same time!
- and…it’s totally worth it!
This week is another ‘anniversary’ that I will never forget! This time 6 years ago, Louis and I had been out like maybe 5 times in 4 weeks. So, we barely knew each other, and I wasn’t quite sure that I liked him…until January 26th – the date when I met Louis’ friends. That’s the night I decided I liked him. It was following weeks that I learned I really needed to consider him seriously. The next night, Frank got shot 9 times outside my back door and a bullet came in the house. Much to the surprise of everyone, Louis came back! Never hear this story? or want to hear it again, keep reading and check out the links below. If you are wondering where we got the name of our ministry Into The Neighborhood, read these links for that story, too!
This is the first song I heard this morning, while I was busy cooking breakfast for Louis and me. I was reminded again, that Frank is only alive today because he called on the GREAT NAME OF JESUS. As tears rolled down and dripped in the bacon, I praised God for his goodness, his healing, his tender loving care. It took me back to that night…. January 27, 2008 at 8:30pm when Frank was shot 9 times – right chest, left shoulder, left thigh, right hand and 5 times to the gut. The night that Louis and I met Frank we also gave him first aid. By the time the paramedics arrived that night, Frank was only breathing once a minute and had no pulse. I assured him that we weren’t leaving him. I prayed with him and shared that there was power in the name of Jesus. And if he called on Jesus’ name, he would be healed. Frank couldn’t talk at that point, but he did grab my thigh. I knew he was all good. Just as the lyrics say….”Sick are healed, and the dead are raised. At the sound of Your Great Name” (Rest of the lyrics are at the bottom of this post.)
This is what Louis and I were doing 6 years ago this week. Happy Reading!
Your Great Name Lyrics
Performed by Natalie Grant
Lost are saved; find their way; at the sound of Your Great Name
All condemned; feel no shame; at the sound of Your Great Name
Every fear; has no place; at the sound of Your Great Name
The enemy; he has to leave; at the sound of Your Great Name
Jesus, worthy is the Lamb that was slain for us
Son of God and man you are high and lifted up; that all the world will praise Your Great Name
All the weak; find their strength; at the sound of Your Great Name
Hungry souls; receive grace; at the sound of Your Great Name
The fatherless; they find their rest; at the sound of Your Great Name
Sick are healed, and the dead are raised. At the sound of Your Great Name
Jesus, worthy is the Lamb; that was slain for us
Son of God and man; you are high and lifted up
that all the world will praise Your Great Name.
Your Great Name.
Redeemer, my Healer; Lord Almighty
My Savior; Defender; you are my King
Redeemer; my Healer; Lord Almighty
My Savior; Defender; you are my King
Over the last few years, you have read about Louis, me, Southern Barton Heights and so much more! I recently spoke to a group of 50 women (and a few men, too) at WOVEN’s Hour to Empower Luncheon, and I felt led to share the impact the community has had on me. Here are 11 things I have learned! These are in no particular order, nor is it an all-inclusive list. My learning is ongoing….nonstop….like a firehose.
- I wouldn’t trade my life, my community for any other community in the world. I love my neighbors. I love the way my paradigms are being challenged and shifted. After Frank was shot, he asked me if I was moving. I went on to tell him – that people asked me that same question when the windows were shot out of my car and my car was stolen. “If I had moved, who would be there for you the night you were shot 9 times? All your friends ran. But, God loves you so much!” As a matter of fact, I recently told a friend – after driving south on 76 during 5pm traffic, “I’d rather have that bullet come through my front window every 6 years than deal with this traffic every night!” And…I meant it. Crazy, maybe. Honest though.
- It’s painful, but necessary, to learn the difficulties of the materially poor. Although I didn’t grow up in the ‘rich’ part of the West End, I have been made aware of how my privilege of education, race, and network provides me. The fact that Louis and I have 2 cars, when 60% of the city population has 1 or no car per household.
- I am reminded at any point, that if I have a tire blow out – I have money in savings. Even if I didn’t, I have multiple friends I can call that could loan me money. For many of my neighbors, everyone they know is also in the same situation. Generational poverty is impactful.
- I take for granted that I had a father and mother in my home. Now, my home life was far from perfect. None-the-less, my father was at home and provided for the family. Kids today are growing up in a fatherless society. So, girls and moms don’t even know what to look for and expect. Respect often has never been modeled.
- I have learned that it is not as simple as ‘pull yourselves up by your bootstraps’, but I’ve also learned that handouts create entitlement. (That statement should offend the Republicans and the Democrats equally. LOL)
- I have learned that the church – as an institution and a body of believers, in many cases, have left ‘loving your neighbor’ up to the government. And we can see that that’s not working out well for us right now. The church has outsourced ‘neighbor loving’ to the government and non-profits.
- I have learned that the materially poor inner-city people want the same things I do…that I would dare say most of us want. Safe, affordable shelter. Good schools. Reliable transportation. Steady employment with a living wage. We aren’t all that different. We are all have sinned. All have fallen short. And we all are made in God’s image. And that being materially poor takes great faith!
- As a bit of a type A personality, I have also learned to leave capacity in my schedule. I need to leave time in my calendar to say Yes to God. Louis and I are praying over our calendar more than ever before.
- As a group of women, I can also share that I have learned that having my house clean and in order is no longer a top priority. I would be exhausted if it were! With the sheer number of neighbors we have coming by along with 2 aging labs, Bella and Wesley, it’s impossible.
- I have learned that I don’t have the answers. Nothing is that simple. It’s actually quite complex. It’s vastly important to ask questions and to listen more than we talk. It’s more important to do things WITH the community not FOR or TO the community. Even though it will probably take much longer, it will be much longer lasting and sustainable.
- Prayer has become an integral part of my life. My passionate pursuit of God has become my #1 priority….well, most of the time. I try to anyway.
Why do you live where you live? What have you learned about yourself, God or your community recently?
Louis and I have been walking along side a mom and her children as they try to navigate the complex, arduous processes of the government and non-profit systems for ‘helping’ the homeless. (You may have read some of it in my last post… If you missed it, check this out…. Help Even the Unrighteous Poor.) Some time in the near future, I’m going to write at length all the steps, phone calls, emails, etc. that we have made to city council, DSS, RRHA, Commonwealth Catholic Charities – Central Intake, and countless non-profits. Yet, this family is still living in a hotel with no access to a kitchen. She’s currently on unemployment, because her seasonal position ended….a whopping $100. Since she’s on unemployment her food stamps have decreased to $400….to feed a family consisting of herself plus 4 children under the age of 18. And…remember….food stamps doesn’t cover prepared foods. So, without a kitchen food choices are limited. And, her food stamps haven’t lasted the whole month. Thankfully she does have a car to get to a decent grocery store, but gas is running low – as she now has to transport her children to 3 different schools…not to mention all the running around…trips to DSS, RRHA, Central Intake, etc.
Did you know that shelter space for families has a few week waiting list??? Where are all of those families living???? In this families’ case, they could be with a family member – exposing their children to drugs/alcohol addictions and all that comes with it and worse.
Oh yeah…and RRHA has 3-4 bedroom apartments available. Yet, she can’t have one, because she hasn’t taken the required budgeting class, orientation, etc which aren’t scheduled for weeks.
So, she remains in a hotel…funded by who???? Oh….take a guess. Let’s just say – it’s NOT any of those organizations, although she did get a week from DSS.
And today I learn…Mom has a job orientation tomorrow AND got a phone call for a housing opportunity at the same time. Which do you choose when you can’t do both???
Getting the idea????
Church… what are we doing about that??? what CAN we do?
There’s another family who we are doing life with… food stamps cut to $400 for a family of mom and 5 children under the age of 18….3 of which are growing boys. Car is working, but needs new tags. She can’t get to her job.
How could that be?
Did I mention that the schools are closed? Therefore children who usually receive breakfast and lunch are now hungry…really hungry.
Church… what are we doing about that? what CAN we do?
I’m not just talking about handing out free food, although we could use some for both families! (Let me know if you are interested!) I’m talking about relationships…mentoring…loving. When I read the Bible, I don’t read that Jesus said – “oh…go on down to the Food Bank, DSS, RRHA, RBHA or any other organization.” When I read about the Good Samaritan, this is what I read…
Luke 10:25-37 (NLT)
The Most Important Commandment
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Church – who is your neighbor???
Parable of the Good Samaritan
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Let’s take a look at that again…
‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
When you look at our current system of taking care of the least of these, does ‘neighbor loving’ look like the way Jesus described it in verses 33 and 34???
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.In modern times, what does compassion look like???
34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.
- How can we treat the wounds of abuse, addiction, family fragmentation, limited education, lack of financial skills, job restrictions?
- What is modern day ‘olive oil and wine”? We can’t just bandage them without the treatment.
- So what does it look like to sooth the wounds in today’s time??
34 (cont) Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.
- OK…so then, he carried him to the inn on his donkey. That means he had to walk! They both couldn’t ride on the donkey. Which really means he WALKED BESIDE HIM while guiding the donkey to a place of healing. An inn. Where he took care of the battered and broken.
- What does it look like to WALK ALONG SIDE of a beat up, tired, frustrated, hopeless family who has no place to lay their head?
So, I am left wondering…where was this Samaritan Man going? Where was he walking when he happened along the beat up man?? How could he afford the time to stop what he was doing? We don’t know that part of the story. But, what we do know….is that he stopped. He put his plans on hold. And he walked alongside a beat up, naked man. He gave of his OWN money and he STAYED in the process with him until he could take of himself.
What would that look like today? For a unsuspecting person or family to walk along side a broken, beat-up, naked, hungry, possibly homeless family until they could take care of themselves? Anyone willing to try?
That is your challenge….by choice because it IS a choice…a conscious decision. What choice will you make?