Before working at Desire Street Ministries, I had a limited number of experiences around poverty. I grew up in a nice neighborhood in Colorado Springs, CO, and went to school at Colorado State University, also in the nice city of Fort Collins. Both of these cities have recently been named some of the most desirable places to live in our country. I had been on mission trips and seen poverty in short spurts, but for some reason, had never truly taken my thoughts for the poor beyond feeling sorry for them.
Upon deciding to work with an inner-city ministry which helped revitalize impoverished neighborhoods, one common phrase I heard from friends was, “That’s neat, I didn’t know you had a heart for inner-city ministry.” Well…neither did I! In fact, I’m pretty sure the “tin-man” was a good picture of my heart for the poor. But God has let me experience this promise: “I will remove your heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh” [Ezekiel 36:26].
When I used to hear about God’s heart for the poor, I merely pictured Him caring a lot about them. Now, my understanding of His heart for the poor has expanded immensely, because I have seen how much His heart overflows with generosity towards the poor, and towards those who serve them like our Desire Street partners with inner-city ministries. They are transforming impoverished neighborhoods throughout the Southeastern U.S.
Although these ministry partners aren’t the wealthiest individuals I’ve ever met, they are far more rich than anyone I know. It makes so much sense to me now why we call these people our “heroes.” I’ve met some neat people in the last two years, including some who are well-known, even “celebrities.” But the people I’d most want to spend time engaging with are at Parker Street, Common Ground, Summerhill, Desire Fellowship, St. Roch, and Mercy Street.
I’ve wondered what it is about this group of people that draws me to them so much. Our ministry partners have experienced brokenness: they’ve seen brokenness in their neighborhoods, and have been broken themselves. But, brokenness leads to a deeper engagement with our King. And when you’re around people who are living life engaged with the King of the Universe, it’s easy to notice. These friends make me want to be more aware of my own brokenness, so I can be more engaged with Jesus, and be more amazed by Him.
God gave us His Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing us of what we have to come in eternity. I’ve been blessed to taste that deposit—tasting His Spirit in rich ways—by being around the community of Desire Street, including our staff, and especially the people in ministries who we call our partners.
It’s easy to talk about something you believe in! I believe in what God is doing through Desire Street, and somehow, I want to stay connected to them. Thank you Desire Street! Thank you God!
P.S. Working at Desire Street has also taught me the art of being frugal…like getting excited over finding a good box for shipping!