Thursday, December 24, 2015


This past month has been a real whirlwind. I haven't done the best job of writing it all down, but I know that when God comes through for us it's important that we recognize Him at work in our lives and rejoice! This month alone he brought us to situations where it was simply impossible for us to accomplish anything without his help. All we could do was trust him and in doing so we found that his provision is good. When He leads, He always provides. "It's not my ability, but my response to God's ability that counts." -Corrie Ten Boom

At the start of the month we met a struggling family with 5 boys and baby on the way. They were living in extremely poor conditions in desperate need of some hope. Immediately I could feel that nudge inside. The one telling me that it's time to act! Change is contingent on us responding. In less than 48 hours friends and strangers came together and provided meals, complete new (bug free) wardrobes, heaters, blankets, toys, money, transportation and a safe place for them to call home. It all fell into place so effortlessly that I knew it was God revealing his love and goodness to this family and to me all over again. Just when I thought I could no longer be surprised, he goes and leaves me speechless once again. This family had absolutely nothing and now they have a fresh start. God's love for us stands when all else has fallen. My friend Kelli wrote this about the day we picked the family up -

"As I walked the streets of the Garfield neighborhood I almost stepped on a used syringe and needle. I kicked it to the side and thought about the addiction, hopelessness and just the roughness of this neighborhood. Then God reminded me that He is at work! Those boys were in clean clothes, fed and had been to church. One of the little boys had his arms around my waist as we walked, and the other one was voluntarily pushing my daughter in her stroller. WE walked those streets in love and hope thru God's faithfulness!" 

A week later was the annual CRYi Christmas in the Park party where over 2000 people came out and received gifts and more importantly heard the gospel. It was so special watching the kid's faces light up with excitement. Families started lining up at 5 am to receive a $5-$10 gift. For many these were the only gifts they would receive during the holiday season. This was our families fourth year being a part of this outreach and it just gets more special each year. What really blessed me most was seeing the number of people that pulled together to make sure we had enough gifts and came out and served all day. Churches, businesses, families, individuals sacrificing to make sure these inner city kids have a special Christmas. (link to video)

Living down here we've encountered some really miraculous things and also some very hard things. In Ephesians it says, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." We can attest to this. Just this week a dear friend of ours lost her brother who lived in our neighborhood. His young life was suddenly taken. We grieve with our friend and can't help but feel pain from this loss. Our heart is for this community and every person in it. Sometimes this place God has us looks dangerous and a bit scary. But I know we don't have to be afraid of taking a step into the dark because He always goes before us. Even when the circumstances around us seem so dark we know that in the end love wins. That's why we celebrate Christmas tomorrow. Jesus our savior came and brought hope and never ending peace.

{This is war like you ain't seen.
This winter's long, it's cold and mean.
With hangdog hearts we stood condemned,
But the tide turns now at Bethlehem.

This is war and born tonight,
The Word as flesh, the Lord of Light,
The Son of God, the low-born king;
Who demons fear, of whom angels sing.

This is war on sin and death;
The dark will take it's final breath.
It shakes the earth, confounds all plans;
The mystery of God as man. }

-Dustin Kensrue

Merry Christmas to all of you friends! Thank you for being a light in this city!