... Even if they don't realize it. This morning Pastor Fred Lopez of Hope Resurrected Church and I met with Ogden City's Mayor Caldwell. There is a lot of stuff going on in the city right now - urban redevelopment, blight areas, refugee resettlement, new jobs are some of the ones that we read about in the paper. But many of the old problems still exist.
We discovered that there a are a lot of agencies helping in various ways, but often there is a major overlap because there is a lack of co-ordination between agencies, and often it's difficult to keep track of who offers what service.
One of the major issues is a lack of structure and positive role models for young people in inner city areas. Mayor Caldwell recently attended an event where 4th graders were invited to participate in a "Reality Town'. There were any number of companies 'offering' jobs that we're represented, but the majority of the 4th graders went to the convenience store hoping for work. Why didn't they aspire to something else? For many of them it's because there was food there- something that didn't always happen at home. God, please let my heart break as yours does for those who are hungry.
Gangs are still an issue, along with drug and alcohol abuse which often leads to unemployment, prostitution and crime. Sometimes chronic unemployment is the motivating factor for the drug and alcohol abuse. Hope Resurrected church is seeing lots of people from those backgrounds accepting Christ. They made it a point to reach out to that section of the community.
The city is working with various state and federal agencies to improve the availability and condition of low income housing. Lots of programs exist, many of which require sweat equity.
Yes we need to keep praying, but at some point, we're also called to action.
How will you respond when Jesus calls you to to play a role in the life of "the least of these"? Ask Wayne Feller about the guidance we're given in Matthew's gospel.