In the last line of my final World Race blog, I wrote, “The World Race is finished, but this is only the beginning.” Of all the things I’ve said that I look back on and either regret saying—or that I don’t regret saying but, through my actions, have sucked the integrity out of them, as with a straw—I can happily say that, praise be to God, this one has retained its value and its meaning. Simply put, I really do feel as if God has blessed me to see the World Race as a launching platform, rather than as “the glory days.”
I’ll try hard to work against every aspect of my long-winded nature and cut right to the chase (ah, this is so hard for me!) What’s the next tangible step for me? San Francisco. Huh? That’s really far. I’m taking solace in the fact that God took Abraham really far from Ur. Will I end up there ultimately? The Bible dictates that I can’t possibly answer that question: “Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money. Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:13-14).
But, towards the end of the World Race, I started to feel a burning calling to urban areas. As God refined my call, I feel as if he refined it to include not just the idea of the city, or urban areas, but one city. San Francisco is America’s least-churched big city and there is a huge need for both the Gospel and the love of Christ in that city. This summer, I will be working in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco, which many people call the city’s worst district. Some statistics about the Tenderloin:
- Roughly 6,000 homeless people stay or pass through this district daily
- 90% of residents lived on a fixed income
- 7 out of 10 violent crimes in San Francisco occur in the Tenderloin, and has been an area of escalating drug violence since 2007, with 14 homicides that year alone
- The racial makeup of the 25,000 person population in this district is: 44% Caucasian, 33% Asian, 11% African America, 11% Hispanic, and 1% Native American
- The children in the Tenderloin are: 67% Asian or Southeast Asian, 12% Caucasian, 11% African American, 5% Hispanic, and 5% other
- Out of the 501 business plots in the Tenderloin, there are 130 vacant plots, 66 liquor stores, 33 bars, and 14 adult-oriented businesses.
Though the statistics look bleak, the organization I will be working with, San Francisco City Impact is attacking these problems head-on, with a comprehensive, Gospel-centered mission that includes: a church, a private school, a homeless shelter, a meal delivery program, a thrift store, and a medical center. I will be serving with SFCI from June 2nd to August 20th as both a short-term mission trip leader, and in the various ministries under the SFCI umbrella. City Impact is doing incredible things in San Francisco and has attracted pastors such as Francis Chan to pick up and move to San Francisco to come alongside them in their work. (Here, Francis talks about City Impact’s Adopt a Building Program, a program to get the Gospel to every apartment building in the Tenderloin):
And here’s the part that makes my stomach turn, if I were to be honest. Successful marketing people would likely tell me that when I ask for money, I should avoid mentioning that it makes me uncomfortable to ask for financial help…but it does. Either way, to be able to stay and minister in the Tenderloin this summer, I will need $875. This includes 100% of my living expenses, from food to lodging (I will be living at SFCI, in the Tenderloin itself, as opposed to commuting daily). If the Lord moves your heart, or has at one point, for the American inner-city, I would ask that you would faithfully consider being a sender or a go-er. If supporting me is something you are interested in, I would be beyond grateful, and am already humbled by your support. I wish there was a way of saying that without making it sound cliché.
If this is something you are interested in, you can support me online through clicking here, which is the donate-to-Missions link, on SFCI’s website. Here is the link to SFCI’s website as a whole for further browsing. Because there is not a spot to put my name, I am told by the director that you should e-mail me a confirmation of your receipt, so that I can let them know that the person who just donated is associated with me. My e-mail is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, if you have any questions, please send me an e-mail! I would love to talk to you, and share some of my heart for the city. If you have read this entire post, I really want to thank you for your support of me, as chances are we know each other. If the Lord has taught me one thing, it is that I am powerless on my own. 1 Corinthians 3:8-9: “The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service.”
UPDATE (3/20/13): I am now fully-funded! God has poured out his blessing on me, through you, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I would still love to partner with you in prayer this summer, however, but it feels good to say that financial support is no longer needed. This is how Moses must have felt in Exodus 36:6-7:
6 Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: “No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.” And so the people were restrained from bringing more, 7 because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.