Dying to Live!Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 Filed under: 2k12, Frank | Tags: Elisabeth Elliott, Jim Elliott, missional, reflections, RVA, Southern Barton Heights, urban ministry 1 Comment
“There is nothing worth living for, unless it is worth dying for.”
Elisabeth Elliot, wife of Jim Elliot, missionary to Waodani people of Ecuador
I moved to SBH almost 7 years ago. I had no idea what God was going to do, or why I was called to live here. In the first few years, a few things went awry…small items stolen from the yard, neighborhood kids presented minor challenges, etc. However some more challenging things occurred as well, like my car being stolen – what the police suspected was gang initiation because a bunch of Altimas got stolen that night and car windows being shot out on another occasion when kids were having a bit too much fun with a bee-bee gun. During these times, friends and family challenged me about my decision to move here. Others asked if I was moving out. Of course, there wasn’t a chance I was leaving. The good outweighs the bad.
Nothing was more challenging than the night a man got shot 9 times outside my back door…on my 4th date with Louis. I didn’t know him, but after the scene was clear, Louis and I responded with first aid, encouragement, prayers and the gift of presence. I am happy to say that Frank didn’t die in the street that night, but lived. That was 4 years ago to the day….January 27, 2008 at 8:30pm. I am sorry that Frank was shot that day. But, grateful that we were there and sooo appreciate the friendship we have developed since. I can now say we are family.
While still in the hospital, Frank asked me if I was going to move. He reminded me that not only was he shot 9 times, but that a bullet also went into my home. The hole is still in the wall actually. I’m not sure why we don’t fix it. It’s like this constant reminder at the bottom of our steps. If we had moved, who would have been there the night that Frank got shot? Who would have given him First Aid when everyone else ran? It reminds me that we do make a difference, even when things seem hard. God loves Frank so much that we found ourselves cooking on the grill that night instead of going out. He loves this community so much that the neighborhood kids were safely in the house that night, instead of being dropped off after Youth Group at 8:30, their normal time. God is in the midst. Even when I may doubt, there is no doubt.
If it’s not worth dying for, it’s not worth living for. There are a lot of other things we could be doing, a lot of other places we could live. But, this is where God has called us, and this is where we shall stay until God calls us some place else.
Especially after the last week, I am reminded again of how we are being used by God. I am thankful for the many opportunities we have had to love and be loved. I wouldn’t trade ANYthing for the last 7 years! In the meantime, my prayer is that we will follow the advice of Jim Elliot…
Wherever you are – be all there.
Neighbors trying to leave the ‘hood for very different reasons – it hurts and confirms for me my commitment to stay all at the same time.