August of last year, in response to those horrendous video’s showing Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, I wrote a piece that blew up my little internet world and landed on RAAN’s top posts of 2015. In the piece, I admonished evangelical Christians to walk across the “tracks” to not only save babies from the death chamber that Planned Parenthood is, but also to make contact with those lower income, black and brown mothers who make up the majority of abortions statistics, for the goal of reaching out to love and serve the mom’s of those babies.
Somehow, I let myself off the hook from going into these underprivileged and lower-income neighborhoods because my husband did not have a calling or desire to enter these areas to serve. To be honest, it was just not on his radar. He grew up vastly different than I did and securing a nice home in the country with a nice quiet life was his idea of “success”. I prayed much and prayed some more.
By the end of the year, we discovered a new church plant that was specifically honing in on the areas I wrote about and had a heart for. I informed my husband about the church plant and asked him if we can move our finances around a bit to begin financially supporting this new church plant. We prayed about it together for a few weeks and then reached out to the church plant pastors. After getting a response, we sat on it for a couple months. The Lord seemed to be working in the heart of my husband because the next time I brought up the issue of sending financial support, he said the following words:
What if we didn’t send money? What if we join them?
For those that know my husband, one would know that God is the only one that could have provoked my husband to say those words. It took me off guard and I was speechless for several minutes while I looked at him, confused.
What do you mean join them? We live in Washington. This church plant team is going to be in Los Angeles. How will that work?
I asked my husband with major and serious perplexedness. I also knew that the nature of his job would never have us transfer to the L.A area.
My husband said he didn’t know and we just stared at each other for several minutes.
They probably won’t even want us to join their team, we thought and shared out loud. We are a multi-ethnic blended family with a divorce in both mine and my husband’s histories, even though we have been married now for 12 years. We surely did not represent the traditional nuclear American family that most families in ministry are. I also know that many evangelical churches with a good and strong emphasis on Bible exegesis, things I love, appreciate and hold dearly, place marriage on such a high pedestal, families like ours are often invisible in the church. So I asked my husband to reach out to the pastors and see if they will be open to having “our kind of family” join them.
To make a long story short, the pastor that my husband spoke to on the phone expressed an excitement and appreciation of the experiences and life history that our family represented and welcomed the idea that we were considering joining them. Can I just say……THAT WAS UNEXPECTED!
We began to slowly feel more and more confirmation that this was the direction that God was having us go. We began preparing ourselves spiritually, mentally, emotionally, as well as tangibly. We got our house ready to sell and once the improvements were made, we apprehensively put our house on the market with a hope to see God move.
The house sold over the weekend. THAT WAS UNEXPECTED.
To make more of a long story short, we are now in California, renting a teeny tiny apartment, as we wait for job opportunities for my husband to manifest. Back in the beginning of the year, my husband received clarity as to who he wanted to serve and how he wanted to serve. The only question he had was “how”?
With that said, since July, we have been slowly plugging away and doing all the leg work to establish ourselves as an official non-profit here in California. We are currently working with grant writers to secure funds to help us buy a street front commercial property with enough square footage for the outreach we are wanting to see happen in the 90805 zipcode. We want to live in the community that we are called to serve so whatever building we acquire, we will do additions to the building so that we can work and live right smack in the lives and neighborhood of the people we are wanting to serve.
We now feel that it is time we share what we are wanting to do here in North Long Beach with our family and friends in the hopes that anyone feels called to:
1) pray for us, but most importantly pray for the people that we will encounter or who will take advantage of the services our outreach will offer
2) financially support us
3) join us
We don’t know what the immediate future holds. We know that my husband might need to quit his job in order to be fully available for this non-profit outreach. We know that we are not wanting to do a simple after-school program to get kids off the streets for an afternoon with busy work or sports related activities.
We are seeking Gospel transformation and we will not settle for anything less.
Individual God-induced-regeneration where the Holy Spirit is welcomed in the lives of these young people is what we are after.
This will take massive amounts of work, patience, love, mercy, compassion, motivation, perseverance and longevity to reach and establish deep relationships with young kids, youth and young adults who have no inkling of what Gospel love is.
Please consider partnering with us in the three ways mentioned above. We can’t do this alone, nor do we want to.
Thankfully, as we are learning the hearts of our new church leadership, we are seeing more and more confirmation that their hearts and the missional characteristics that God has placed in the hearts of our own family is more like-minded than we could have imagined.
THAT WAS UNEXPECTED AS WELL, beautifully confirming the magnitude of how God has knit this whole plan together.
We don’t know anything other than…..we are here, with a desire to plant deep roots. Willing and waiting to serve this neighborhood.
Stay tuned for more details.
Oh, there is a little button on the top of the blog page where you can donate if that is what God calls you to do. You can do a one-time donation or set up a monthly deal. We chose to use Paypal because we learned that other fundraising sites take a portion of your funds for their overhead. We don’t like that and want everything you donate to go directly to help serve the 90805 zipcode.
Don’t forget to follow our new Facebook page as well. HERE
Can I lastly say, or write, this is a very scary adventure that we feel God has convicted our family to. I also want to stress that we feel ill-equipped for this conviction and calling. My husband and I REALLY feel like misfit missionaries in the city, in more ways than you can imagine.
I know that many don’t think that the surrounding cities of L.A. county as a mission field. However, can I just say, for us it is. A mission field ripe, and I mean RIPE for the harvest.
Today, during one of our morning conversations, my daughter started crying due to the weight of the sights she has seen here in the city in conjunction with the events that have transpired over the last week in our country. Through tears, she shared her heart’s burden for people living in other inner cities. This prompted me to gather my kiddos under my wing and pray. We prayed for the people God will allow us to meet while here, we prayed for those people living in other inner cities and urban areas across our nation that do not know our living Savior, or worse, have a wrong understanding of who and what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and we prayed for more workers for the harvest (Luke 10:2, Mathew 9:37)
Will you pray with us?