GARBAGE & JESUS
We chose to move our family to an impoverished area. I was determined to live a life of Christian authenticity and for me, it meant coming out of my suburban shell and immersing our family into gritty city life. After our gas was stolen, our mail box disappeared, and I had to replace the porch furniture twice... I finally decided that it was time to pray. So, I began laboring with God asking Him how to impact my city.
I was praying one afternoon and I heard a distinct command in my spirit, "Go pick up trash." I discussed this new idea with the Lord (assuming I knew what He was saying), "Oh yes Lord, spiritual junk is everywhere... its a wasteland." The Lord graciously responded, "No Cheri, literally go pick up trash."
I raised my eyebrows and pictured myself in a green uniform, "Lord, are you wanting me to join the Tacoma Waste Management team? I don't understand."
I opened the Bible and saw how the early church so richly took care of one another and their city. I prayed some more and the idea kept popping in my head (accept now with added help), "Take the church and go pick up trash." I thought maybe I needed a walk to clear my head.
I could just picture the announcement at Sunday service, "Hi guys, please join us as we go pick up garbage in known gang territory. We need to teach you what needles and other potential hazards look like, no children under the age of 8 will be permitted to help..." I could picture the congregation quietly Googling new local churches on their phones as the service continued.
The Lord continued to bug me over it and I brought it to my husband Dwayne (who happens to be the Lead Pastor). He thought it was a "great idea." Um, okay. So, we announced this "ministry opportunity" at church. I remember writing up the announcement in the bulletin and wondering if I should add a footnote that bullet proof vests might be helpful.
Well, the day came and our church body showed up. We handed out gloves, garbage bags, and safety tips. We stood in an abandoned gravel parking lot and prayed for our city. It was there that I saw the heart of God.
Follow Jesus, He knows the way.
A year later, this ministry has led to five of these precious kids giving their hearts to Jesus. We continue to love and minister to these families. "His ways are higher than my ways."