May 1, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
Spring came to St. Louis this year with indecision. Wintry gusts and glorious warm sunshine battled each other against temperance, taking us on a rollercoaster ride of hope on the short-sleeve and flip-flop days and gloom when we again donned our winter coats. For this particular Southern California girl, the hope brought by the warmer days was ruined with the knowledge that tomorrow would bring back the torture of below 30 degree weather and that the only window of good weather before the hot and slimy summer begins was being wasted!
Spring also brought our annual Spring Break program for youth, grades 1st-9th, in our neighborhood. We went on a collective “Truth Trek” as we dug for the treasure of God’s truth in His Word. Each day we covered some of the Ten Commandments and applied them to our lives and by the end of the week the youth had memorized all ten and knew to apply them to respecting God and family and friends. It was a good week. We had wonderful help from partnering college students, regular attendance from the youth, and three young boys accepted Christ on the last day of the program.
Then we started back into our regular after-school program and no one showed on the first Tuesday back. Wednesday we were hopeful when six arrived. Thursday we were a little confused when only three were present. We let a little gloom nudge out the hope we had felt the week before and I began thinking about the pace of ministry here in the city. One week I thrill with expectation when someone comes to know the Lord, the next I have to confront my ignorance in the fact that a young girl I am deeply invested in has been making some very poor decisions and I feel crushed.
Sometimes I begin to think that hope is the enemy; it only sets us up to despair when the northern winds blow. Life in the city wages war on temperance and the families we work with see little consistency in their lives. Crises arise on a daily basis; youth attend our programs, have a blast and learn a lot, and then get swallowed up by the issues at home. So often ministry here imitates the environment and we seem to see many warm rays of sunshine blown away by a wintry gust.
However, I am coming to believe that hope has more depth and stillness than a top-of-the-rollercoaster sensation. Real hope, that is the hope we have in Jesus Christ, is a grounded walk that brings us straight to a victorious eternity in Him. That kind of hope cannot be shoved aside by any disappointment or crisis. I am reminded of Martin Luther’s quote: “Here I stand and I will not be moved.” Come wintry wind and pleasant sunshine, hope cannot be moved.
Pray with us for a community so in need of the peace and foundation of hope in Jesus Christ. Pray for our staff, as we sometimes fail to establish our hope on The Rock. Hope with us, in the knowledge that Christ is ultimately victorious and, come what may, His plans will stand firm in this city. Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support. You are a great encouragement to us.
For His Kingdom, Andrew & Adria Medlen