Thursday, February 26, 2009

What are you doing here?

Last night one of our ministry vans was broken into. Thanks to a neighbor's awareness the damage done was fairly minimal before the two young guys were scared off. So much for the security of a club, because she spotted them walking down the block with the van club in-hand. Then as she returned from the corner market she saw them back in the van and scared them off. They managed to take the club, jack the driver's side key lock and completely remove the key lock in the steering column.

This would seem like the interesting story, but car break-ins really aren't that unusual around here. What was interesting to me was the encounter with the Crime Lab Technician who came to dust for fingerprints (none were found, however).

Andrew, myself, and another staff member, Gil, were waiting outside with the police officer handling the case when the Crime Lab van pulled up in front of World Impact. As the technician stepped out onto the street and looked up to see three white faces looking back at him, he exclaimed, "What are YOU doing here?!"

This is a question we've heard many times from police officers in the area, but maybe none have asked it with such force. We made small conversation with him while he dusted the door and steering wheel for finger prints. We told him we lived close by and worked at World Impact. He didn't seem too taken by our explanations and still had a look on his face that reinforced his previous insinuations.

It was what he said next that was most impacting from the whole evening. As he dusted the door with flashlight in hand he started in with, "There's a million different ways they could've gotten the club off. They've got 24 hours a day to think of ways. They couldn't spell CAT if you spotted them the 'C' and the 'T'. If they would only use their ingenuity towards something positive..." He continued with his stereotyping and oversimplifying and I found myself getting a little tense and feeling defensive.

Granted, figuring out ways to get a club off a car is not a positive use of one's time. However, I wanted to say, "If they can't spell CAT it's probably because our screwed up, non-accredited school system didn't teach them anything!" Or, "Maybe they are just like people everywhere in the world, who when faced with decisions to do the hard thing or the easy thing, just do the easy thing because it's what they know."

No doubt this officer is a nice man with good intentions, who has been jaded by his years of work on the streets, but his obvious ignorance to some of the real issues in our community and the blatant stereotyping saddened me. And I know that there are many in our neighborhood who would throw back stereotypes with equal force about crooked cops. I was struck with the depth of the chasm between this day and age of political correctness. There is so much misunderstanding and so much lack of effort to cross the seemingly stone-carved barriers on both sides.

All day today that incident has left it's heavy trail throughout my thoughts. Last night, as I watched him back up his van, flip on the police lights and head off to a murder scene in another section of town I was left with the feeling that society (including all sides) as a whole is OK with just doing damage control and it burdens my heart with how far we have yet to go to bridge the gaps, to have justice for all, to see all men as equal.

We continue to pray peace, renewal, and revival over our city for all its inhabitants.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ja'Marion's First Birthday!

It's hard to believe that one year ago today, I (Adria) stood in the delivery room as little Ja'Marion made his entrance! What a year this has been. There have been so many challenges and so many joys as we have walked with this family over the past year. We pray that God blesses Ja'Marion and directs him in a path that brings God glory. Keep praying for this family because God is working in their lives!!

Here are some photos from our little party...

Monday, February 2, 2009

February Update

February 1, 2009

Dear Team,

Greetings from St. Louis! If you go to your computer and do a quick internet search on America’s most dangerous cities, you will consistently find St. Louis in the top five. When I talk to people who are not from St. Louis I am constantly reminded of people’s opinions of the city. Most people see inner-city St. Louis filled with racial tension and danger and they want to stay as far away as possible.

I am sure that there are a number of reasons why we are always among the top five most dangerous cities. I have joked in the past that we are #1—everyone always wants to be the best at something. In 2008, there was an average of one murder every other day. Violence seems to be at an all time high. And, unfortunately, the church seems to be closing its doors at an all time high as well.

I do not generally speak about the dangerous side of the city in our monthly letters. By nature, I am an optimistic person and I want to keep you informed about the best things happening in our lives. The reason I am telling you this is that we need your prayers. Notice I did not say want. We need your prayers. There are so many different ways that Satan is trying to tear down the harvest that we are preparing for our Lord.

This is a new and exciting year that holds in store many great and amazing things. I am a firm believer that some of those things will only happen if prayer warriors are interceding for us. This year also holds many challenges for us and Adria and I are very grateful for your prayers and support. During these tough economic times, our support has not wavered and that is something that humbles both of us.

Adria and I are here until God calls us elsewhere and it is an honor to serve Christ in this ministry. Pray for our church planting efforts—that God would raise up indigenous leaders from our community and that through these churches lives will be redeemed. Pray for the youth and children we work with to have a clear understanding of His saving grace and that they would desire a relationship with Him. Pray for our staff to multiply and be unified. And last, but not least, pray for our safety—both spiritual and physical. Thank you for interceding for us and supporting us financially.

All for our King,

Andrew & Adria Medlen