This week….5 years ago….I moved into Southern Barton Heights!!! WOW! What a wild ride it has been. If you had asked me 5 ½ years ago where I would be living…this would be the LAST place I would have said. Actually…I didn’t even know that this part of Northside even existed. When I first started looking for a new home, I drove through SBH quite by accident….following 2nd Street until it turned to the left and dropped me off at 1st Street. I was simply just trying to get to the other side of I-95….where you see those houses up on the hill to the right as you come from 64 to 95N. So…I naively drove through Gilpin Court/Jackson Ward and across the 1st Street bridge and into SBH. I remember thinking….this would be a great neighborhood…if only it was located somewhere else. I fell in love with the architecture and the community feeling of it. But, as I drove through, I just knew it was not for me….and kept looking elsewhere. Then, I came back…entering Battery Park by way of Overbrook…and seriously considered some houses adjacent to the park. Friends…both white and black/African-American told me I couldn’t move there….as a single white woman…that I would be a target. So, I stopped looking in Northside.
Then, I continued to look in other parts of Richmond…and placing contracts on houses…and getting totally shot down! Remember, this was the height of the housing boom. Somehow, I ended up back in the SBH area looking for a home. You can read more of that story in the following posts… In the beginning…, Daring God and Our House…..
Something (or should I say…Someone!!!) kept bringing me back to this area….and that was God. I had NO idea why!!! Nor did I ask, surprisingly enough. Walking in blind faith…or stupidity, not sure which I was doing at the time! Now that 5 years have gone by…I can see why the Lord wanted me here….for serving others….and changing ME! I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. Only God could have made the changes in me. There have been times that I have tried doing this on my own…in my own strength and power. But I have learned that I am not capable of that and sustain it for the long-term. When I let the Holy Spirit guide me, and allow God to show off….(to use Christianese for a minute…I must decrease, He must increase…..)that is when the real stuff happens! That is when the impossible happens. I can name sooo many times when God filled me with His Power…the Holy Spirit…to do His work. I am so much more dependent on God than I was 5+ years ago!
This week, I’ve been reading this book called Radical by David Platt….and it has really been challenging me. Some people would ask….why are YOU reading a book called Radical? You could write it. What you have done is radical!!!” Yes…moving to Southern Barton Heights may be called radical…but not nearly radical enough….is what I am realizing. Platt writes on page 68…
In the Gospels we see how Jesus ended his time on earth by commanding his followers to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. The letters are filled with the same emphasis as Paul, Peter, James and John led the church through persecution and suffering to spread the glory of God to the nations.
So…that same commandment is for us….today. So…what we do here in SBH is really not all that radical to Jesus…this is what he expects of us. Luke 10:1 talks about how while on earth Jesus sent people off in pairs to villages to prepare for him to come…as they didn’t have cell phones, internet, etc to announce it. In 2007, I prayed for the other ½ of my pair….to prepare SBH for Jesus to come! And that’s when I met Louis 2½ years ago. I truly feel like the Lord has sent us here…to prepare the way for Jesus to come. His presence is already here. You can see it…feel it…in so many ways. The revival that will take place will not be because of anything that WE did….but what the LORD did.
Platt also writes on page 46….
The gospel beckons us to die to ourselves and to believe in God and to trust in his power. In the gospel, God confronts us with our utter inability to accomplish anything of value apart from him.
God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through. ~Francis Chan, Forgotten God
In addition, nowhere in the Bible does it say that it will be easy and glamorous. No one said that it would be a piece of cake. In fact…Jesus DOES say that we will be persecuted for HIS name sake….that people hated on Him before they hated on us. The Bible also says that we should find pure JOY in suffering. That joy part…I am still a work in progress there! I have a ways to go!
Later, I will share with you some of the suffering, persecution, or discomfort that we have encountered since beginning this work. Not to point us, but to point to how faithful the Lord has been through it. Please pray for wisdom and strength as we continue to be the Light on the City Hill.
On Friday, 8/27/2010, STEP (Strategies to Elevate People) will be hosting a Fish Fry (and chicken too!!!) from 11-2 and 4-7. Perfect for a work luncheon….or a cook-free dinner for the family! Place your order by Wednesday, 8/25 to reserve your meals by using this Fish Fry Order Form. (Note: Free delivery for 5+ lunch meals!)
Thanks for supporting this wonderful ministry to Gilpin Court!! To learn more about STEP, attend the reception any time from 4-7pm.
This evening a group of middle and high school youth from Commonwealth Chapel took their Sunday evening to selflessly serve Southern Barton Heights by picking up trash around the community. Rondell even jumped in to help; and neighbors came out to welcome and thank them!
In John 13, Jesus says…
12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
These servant youth and their leaders were being the hands and feet of Jesus and will be blessed for their servant’s heart. Louis and I appreciate their giving spirit, and we had fun getting to know them better! Thanks again, ComChap Youth Group!!!
Ministry can be hard work sometimes….and requires a little down time. That’s this afternoon…time to chill. Louis laid down on the floor for a few moments to stretch…and Wesley had to get right up there next to him. Well, the next thing you know…Louis is snoring…and Wesley is not far behind. I captured a few shots before Louis finally opened his eyes. Enjoy the pics of my 2 favorite boys in the world! Love ’em both!!!
Taken from the National Night Out 2010 website…
What is National Night Out?
It’s America’s Night Out Against Crime!
The “27th Annual National Night Out” (NNO), a unique crime/drug prevention event sponsored by theNational Association of Town Watch (NATW), has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, 2010 (Texas will celebrate on October 5th, 2010). We cordially invite you and your community to be a part of our NIGHT OUT 2010 team.
Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations and local officials from over 15,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 36 million people participated in National Night Out 2009.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT is designed to:
- Heighten crime and drug prevention awareness;
- Generate support for, and participation in, local anticrime programs;
- Strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships; and
- Send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.
Southern Barton Heights had a great time hanging out together…strengthening our community spirit and enhancing our partnership with the police! I personally appreciate all that they have done for us in our community. Although our streets still have a bit of crime, our community should be better known for its history, its wonderful architecture, a mix of great people who have been around for ages and those of us who moved in more recently, young and old, different races, religions, classes, and beliefs…..and I LOVE IT! I can’t imagine living anywhere else!
I wish my pictures better reflected the diversity of our community. And…yes…that is our very own Councilwoman and VP – Ellen Robertson on the dance floor!!!
There has been a ton going on!!! We’ve been so busy that we really haven’t had time to blog about it! So, I will get you caught up….but in no certain order! Just random posts about what has been going on the last month! Although our calendar has been full of serving our community (and a few persecutions by some who don’t necessarily like what we are doing in the name of Jesus!), we had a awesome time relaxing with our family.
My aunt Pat (I call her Aunti Patti) came for a visit from Oregon in early July and stayed with us. On Friday night of her visit, we had a bunch of friends over so Pat could see them all at once. It was a wonderful time to catch up with long-time (note… I did not say OLD!!!) friends (and their kids who have grown up soooo fast!!!) who I haven’t seen in too long. Although, I hope that we will all do a better job of staying on touch! I didn’t get nearly as many pictures as I had hoped to!
In addition, my sister Rebecca and Nat, my nephew, came to visit! It was a great time of catching up with family! Louis and I even managed to take Nat and Madison (my local niece) to Water Country USA on one of those 100+ degree days! And…we managed to make it to our first Squirrels game….we won!!! And…we had chill time with family in Mom and Dad’s back yard. I can’t believe I didn’t get a pic of my sister!!! Argh!
Last Sunday, we also had a wonderful time of fellowship with The Walkers, who are long-time friends of Louis’ and missionaries in Panama, Brenda’s home country. We, again, had a gathering to provide Chris and Brenda an opportunity to share the work they are doing in Panama and Chris’ online ministry, Evangelism Coach. We had a great time meeting some new people, as we welcomed their friends into our home. We also had a special time of prayer for the Walker Family as they serve the Lord in Panama. (This time, I realized I got no pics of the kids…dag.)
OK….the last family/friend night….was in Charlotte, NC, Louis’ old stompin’ grounds. Right after he wrapped up his Math Degree (yes…I said MATH!!!) at Davidson, Louis served in a church across the street from Piedmont Court, one of Charlotte’s project. He and a friend, Richard, bought a house together and lived and served there for about 5 years. Richard lives in that same house and until recently, continued to serve that same community even though the projects had since been torn down and replaced with mixed income housing.
While assisting with his mom as she continued to heal from her knee replacement, Louis was able to reconnect with Richard. And on our last trip to Charlotte, I was able to meet his long-time ministry partner who I had heard sooo much about. Meet Richard…a man I have grown to love and respect….and appreciate for his sound advice. (And, Ladies…he’s single!!!!
We are sooo blessed to have friends and family who love us…and whom we love! Being in ministry can sometimes be tough…and discouraging…but, God has blessed us with wonderful, loving, and caring family and friends with whom we can fellowship…and just chill! We are glad to have done that…a lot…in July.