Jesus tells the disciples in John 12:8 ... "You will always have the poor with you." The practical tension I'm feeling now, even before Aleta and I move to our next ministry context in Phoenix, is, Where are they? Phoenix doesn't have much of a centralized downtown and is a mobile culture with lightning fast changes ongoing in demographics and geography. How will we find the needy to live among?
I've begun doing research on homeless shelters, poverty ministries, and section 8 housing; and I'm realizing the task of discerning a context of proximity among the needy. It takes work. Cultures of need, like all cultures, can be foggy and complex and require insider observations to be adequately understood and responded to. We're not insiders, so we're looking for some.
I think there's something ironic in all of this. In most of the world, physical need is everywhere you look. In most of our country, however, need is hidden behind landscaped streets and Blockbuster Video stores. After moving into this ministry of local need, I'm eager for the time when we are led and empowered to fully engage a ministry of need for those living farther away. Maybe the commonality of great need is what attracts me so much to people and ministries like our friend Sarah's work in Calcutta (site unfinished) and the ministries of pioneers like her. (See Sarah's photos and find out how you can invest into these Calcutta women by purchasing a blanket HERE.).