Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Taking the Gospel to
"The Garden"
On July 22nd we joined RAVEN MIDWEST Directors, Terry & Eileen Shuff, Assoc. Directors Steven & Jodi Ignowski and the Raven Midwest Team for the Matthew 25:34-40 Outreach to the Washington Gardens Housing Project in Elkhart, Indiana.
On this hot afternoon, the team cooked smoked sausage, hot dogs, and chicken for the community that in the week before had been rocked by murder and violence. As the team assembled and redied for the crowd that would come, Anthony LeBlanc (aka. The Bald Headed Jesus Freak) formed an impromptu worship team and began "lifting up the name of Jesus" in the hood!
Soon dozens of children began pouring out from dilapadated apartment buildings hoping to catch a glimpse of what was happening in the parking lot adjacent to the complex. What they found was a site much different that what their young lives were typically accustomed to: the sharp screams of an abused mother were now replaced by the sweet sounds of laughter, joy and praises unto the Lord of Hosts. The stench of filth, stale beer bottles, and the poignant scent of marijuana was now subdued by the aroma of BBQ being readied on the Raven Grill!
The atmosphere was certainly being changed that afternoon. Hope and hapiness were the order of the day in a place where just hours before drug dealers and gang members peddled their violence and uncertainty in a community ripe for revival!
Terry said to me as the throng of children began running to the outreach site, "Man, I never thought that I would be ministering to so many kids!" I thought to myself, "Isn't it just like Jesus to use this bald-headed, giant of a man (white at that) to have such an impact on a community such as this."
I later thought to myself that someone is going to reach out and claim these children. The drug dealers and gang leaders have committed to being there and bringing the temptation of instant gratification, wealth, and the sense of belonging to something. What this community needs and is seeing through the work of Raven Midwest is a group of people equally commited to providing the Godly examples and hope for the future that many of these children and their families only dream about.

Raven Ministries is often known for its "Hard Core" in-your-face evangelism in places like New Orleans' Bourbon Street, the innercities of Los Angeles and San Francisco--but our heart is "going, being, and doing whatever it takes to reach people right where they are at."

Jude 1:22-23 truly represents our philosophy of ministry "And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh."

Sometimes the prescription for deliverance is a firm hand and sturn rebuke and other times all that it takes to melt a hardened heart is a gentle touch and a comforting word. We endeavor to always be sensitive to His Spirit in all that He would call and direct us to do.

Pray for this area that God would rescue the many who have desired to see Him move in this community and that those ensnared in the yoke of bondage would be set free by the Power of the Blood of Jesus!

1 comment:

RAVEN Deb said...

Amen. Going, being and doing whatever it takes, Amen. Thanks for sharing the experience. PTL.