The day our lives stumbled onto Good Hope Road
We were in our first few years of marriage. And we were starting to explore our faith. Both Jessica and I had grown up in the church. But, after awhile our participation became more of an obligation to our parents than our hearts desire. We both grew up being told about the wrath of God which got our attention. But, after a while you become numb to the threat of eternal damnation. And when we started to explore faith for ourselves the wrath of God seemed to be a distant message compared to the good news that Jesus was sharing.
As Jess and I started to find a church of our own a community of newlyweds started to form. During this time in our lives we didn’t have any children. Not because we didn’t want them but because we were told we weren’t able to have them due to some medical issues that Jess had when she was younger. As we explored our faith with other young couples I started volunteering at the Youth Services Center. Which is the detention center that houses the youth that are awaiting sentencing from a judge. Twice a month we would go into the gymnasium of the detention center and hang out with the kids. During our time there, we would see kids come and go. Some of the young people would leave and come right back. This didn’t add up. These were the same kids that were dedicating their lives to God and make promises to never come back to the Youth Services Center as an inmate.
I became frustrated with the process. And realized the reality of where these kids are coming from is much larger than their desire to never be locked up again. So I started spending time in the Ward that a lot of these kids were coming from. My hope was that I would be better equipped to know what they faced on the streets and what they were returning to when the judge ordered their release. And what I found was an environment that was overwhelmed with the pressures of neighborhood gangs, guns, drugs and fast money. And that environment was devouring the youth of these communities.
Looking back on those years I realized that I had spent a lot of time on Good Hope Road. Walking up and down while praying to God for clarity and understanding. And everyday I found myself on Good Hope Road I felt more and more compelled to do something. This new faith that I found in Jesus led me to ask a series of questions most of these questions pointing to what the red letters in the New Testament would suggest that Jesus would do during these times. And looking back finding myself on Good Hope Road I was closer to the answer than I thought.
What started to become more clear everyday was that Jesus wasn’t a commuter. Jesus spent 90% of his time in Galilee where he ministered to the most vulnerable people in that society. And his ministry was the purest form of caring the world has ever known. I was compelled to move into Ward 8. And in time, Jessica, was compelled that this was the right move. So we packed up our Northern Virginia lives and made the move into Ward 8 with only one motive. That Jesus changed the world through intentional caring then and that Jesus wanted to continue to move in our city through our lives in the same way.
It’s now been over 5 years since that moving truck showed up in South East. It hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it. And something we’ve committed to. We are committed because there’s a community of young kids in our neighborhood that need us. They need our caring and the caring of everyone in our community. For caring to be an effective tool of Good Hope it needs to be done in partnership with others that care. And when that formula surrounds a young person it creates the environment necessary for that kid to grow up and become the change they wish to see in the world.
Jessica and I have committed our entire lives to this cause. And we believe that over time we will connect all the people of our city to a network of caring people. And that network working together will be the change we hope to see in our city. And in our world.
Will you join us to make this possible?