Incarnational missions in the inner city

Just got back from a mission trip to the country’s 2nd most dangerous city, Camden, NJ. It was a mission trip to the inner city, a suburb of Philadelphia. Camden is a place that is held in the bondage of crime, poverty, and sin. There is this cycle that is very easy to get caught in as a young person and very hard to get out of as an adult. While there, I felt a overwhelming sense of family with the Christians that are there at Cornerstone Bible Church-the inner city ministry of Pastor Paul Robinson. The man amazes me; he’s been there plugging away for 17 years and does not have the fruit he may have had had he planted in a more traditional locale. But he has been faithful to his call and has seen fruit in the lives of those he ministers to that I’m sure he wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. The folks I met are like family now and I have a deep love for them. They have a burning passion to reach their city and it is inspiring. We went out door knocking in the most dangerous part of the city, North Camden. As soon as we got out of the van there’s this drug needle right there on the ground, which is unnerving. Pastor Paul tells us that we need to remember that we are not just telling the people about Jesus, we are being Jesus to them and we must have compassion for them. A few doors later I hear an automatic machine gun fire about 30 or so rounds about 4-5 row-houses away. That was scary. But we were told it was from the Puerto Ricans who were having a parade and firing guns in the air, no worries! The next scene is 8 of us piling onto a corner only to be shouted at to “get off that corner.” it seems we were threatening someone’s drug corner unawares-yikes! Some were rolling blunts (marijuana cigars) in plain site, numerous drug deals were seen going down and one guy even answered the door with cocaine bags in his hands. Overall though, even the drug dealers were pretty receptive to our tracts and gospel witness and God was all over it. There was a burning in my heart that I was doing exactly what Jesus would have his people do and what he wanted me to do. It felt great! We also had a great teen outreach ballin’ (b-ball) tournament. Over eleven souls were saved through a VBS that our team put on, including one special teen, Charles, whom I consider a brother. Sadly one of the teens in the tournament lost his life the day after we left to a house fire thought to be arson. I grieve with the friends and family of Kenny, who seemed to be a very bright light in Camden, and he will be sorely missed. God bless Nate, Donny, and Honesty, great friends and blessed faith family as they live for Him and glorify him in Camden.

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