"Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" - Isaiah 58.
After a few days in Atlanta, doors began to open and we found ourselves standing in the middle of the ghetto.
The area is called Vine City and it is straight up scary. The streets are covered with black men and women staring down every car that passes by. Their faces are so hard. No smiles. No laughing. No crying. No emotion. They just stand there, lifeless. To the physical eye, their faces scream that they are not scared of anything. To the spiritual eye, their faces scream that they are scared of everything. They are scared of both life and death and understand the fragility of their time on this earth. They stand there looking as if nothing and nobody has the power to crack through their tough layers. So many people are fooled by their looks but we know that Jesus Christ has that kind of power. A lot of them hang out around this pole that we call, "The Pole of Death." It is a telephone pole that has like 6 or 8 stuffed animals nailed to it. A lot of the animals are decapitated and some have ropes around their necks. Back in the day the gang members would just throw some shoes over the telephone lines to mark their territory. Now we see that they are into murdering stuffed animals instead. There is a darkness and a heaviness about this area that immediately broke our hearts. We realized really fast that our praying and fasting was done in vain if we did not hold strong to what Isaiah said. If we fast with the intention of simply avoiding food, we have it all wrong. Fasting is twofold. We fast A) to hear from God and B) with the intentions of putting action to His visions.
So...there we were. 2 white girls driving around the worst ghetto in Atlanta in a creepy white van. Naturally, we parked and got out. People were literally stopping in the middle of the street to stare at us. They were so confused as to why we were there and why we were not scared of dying. A few guys warned us saying things like, "The people here are not right." All we could say in response was, "We know, that is why we are here." One guy named Dred stopped and stuttered for a while to get his question out, "Who are y'all?" We told him that we were there in the name of Jesus. He pounded his heart and said, "Ya'll really mean it. Ya'll really mean it." We are two talentless, random, white girls who showed up on a door step with little to say and limited plans on what to do and God began moving.
We spent the week mimicking the Dream Center's idea of "Adopt a block." We went door to door asking whoever opened up if they needed any food, cleaning supplies, household items, etc. One by one they told us what they were in need of. We wrote down all that they mentioned and then asked if we could pray for them. We prayed for Anthony's car to start. We prayed that Crystal would be able to take care of her grandchild. We prayed that Marvin would find some of his stuff that was stolen. We prayed life over Paulette, Keith, Flava, Michael, Geraldine, Mel. We prayed comfort over James and Cheryl who recently lost their dad and brother and whose mom has cancer. God continues to remind us that it has nothing to do with us or what we have to offer but with a willing heart, his glory will fall. Each time we entered the neighborhood, we had to fight through the fear of the possibilities. As we did, the Lord showed up and we walked away rejoicing in his power to move beyond any social, cultural, or
At the end of the week, it was time to shop. We went to the store and bought groceries and supplies for nine homes. Everyone who requested groceries received ground beef and hamburger helper, spaghetti and sauce, rice and beans, oatmeal, bread and toilet paper. Those who also needed cleaning supplies got bleach, laundry and dish detergent, pine-sol, and sponges. The bill came to $130 and it provided four meals for eight families as well as cleaning supplies for five. With a small amount of effort and and a small amount of funds, the Lord can do great things. It really does not take much. We want to be able to make a deep impact on a few rather than just scratch the surface of many...so we are going to invest in these 11 or 12 houses.
When we delivered the goods we were greeted in all kinds of ways. Some were surprised that we actually came back and many were rejoicing in the Lord. Anthony told of how his car started as soon as we left and that his sister was reunited with her son that she had given up for adoption...He gave all the glory to God. Paulette could barely get a word out because she was overwhelmed with praise over what the Lord has done. After praying over her earlier in the week, she received a phone call that her son had gotten out of jail. She clapped her hands, raised her arms, and jumped for joy repeating "the Lord works in mysterious ways!" She smothered us with hugs and smiles and we celebrated God's power together. Marvin greeted us with the genuine joy to just be able to share his heart with us, "his sisters in Christ." He shared with us about who he is in Christ. He said that people have always called him things like, "Captain Ugly" or "Mr. Burnt up." He said that to the world he may be poor, ugly, and weak, but he is complete in Christ. Even those passing by were drawn to the Spirit that was falling on that place. People were calling us the "Girls that came to help people." They were coming to us with prayer requests because they believed that for some reason, our God was answering. We promised our return as we parted ways and once again, marveled at the work of God.
Isaiah goes on to say....
"Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, 'Here I am.'"