Written by: Malkyah Bailey
Hello! I'm Kyah. The last couple of weeks have been a stressful mess. It felt that every step closer to the love of God I got, the farther I'd fall back. However, the last week has been amazing. I was given the opportunity to invite a friend of mine into a loving relationship with Christ. It has been an amazing experience. I invited him to Church in the Margins and there he opened his heart to Jesus.
I also had the opportunity to bless a couple who came to visit the Cafe for the first time. They are in recovery and were looking for a place to be. I told them that we have volunteer work that they could do and they have been volunteering closing hours for the past week. I invited them to church where they also accepted Christ into their lives and are planning to get baptized.
I prayed about having a place and feeling that I am actually making a difference. These past couple of weeks I had the opportunity to invite friends into the love of Christ.
Written by: Herbert Bailey
There are three things that I find God calling me to
The first is handling the basic care of our community, from listening to transporting them to hospitals to introducing our community to a living hope in Christ.
The second is to train and support our current leaders as they work diligently in the field, following up on multiple ministry opportunities as well as supporting their self-care.
The third reason is to explore other areas where God is moving, as well as training new leaders and other ministry partners.
I have found that doing work locally is a never-ending look at the Lord’s grace for my life. The lessons that I am learning about humility, and the lessons that I am learning about trusting God are priceless. What we have seen at the café is God working with not only the least of these, but with the practitioners of faith, the ones who have worked fearlessly in the field for years, coming in for a rest. They are encouraged that there is a safe place to exhale, where the pressure to perform is lifted and the reality of our human experience can be recognized.
Some of the work of training other leaders is simply allowing them, or encouraging them to BE. BE-ing is difficult because we seemed to be hardwired to DO, and our value is measured by our output, our outcome. We push back against that notion with the reality that we are first, which solidifies our value, and from that place of being valued by God, through Jesus, we can then serve. This is not even taught as much as it is caught, simply being present in a place of low judgment, but a pace of high accountability.
The side effect of that is people that visit, see the culture of God’s Kingdom, want to have that experience in their own local communities. We have and will continue to share what the Lord has given us, in way of materials, hands on training, internships, workshops, and most importantly, prayer. God’s Kingdom expands as we offer Him the honor and praise that He is due, get out of His way, and live out of the identity of temporary residents, agents of reconciliation. Team work makes the Kingdom work.
Written by: Andrenna Williams
A young woman whom God has placed in my life to minister to is currently struggling with addiction, mental illness and an unhealthy attachment to a toxic relationship with the father of her children. The amount of abuse that she absorbs from this man is inhumane. Repeated cheating and intentional disregard for her health and well-being is inflicted upon her on a daily basis by him and she willingly, seemingly, “happily” takes it.
As a woman whom has not experienced a relationship like this, it would be easy for me to have several responses and feelings regarding her situation. I could easily judge and condemn her for being “foolish” and “desperate” for accepting that type of treatment. I could make excuses for her for being “naive” and attempting to fill a “void”. Or, I could get so upset at her partner and how he treats her that I absorb the hurt and pain and therefore allow it to become a part of me.
However, I don’t have to! Psalm 55:22 says to “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken”. When I accepted the call on my life, and submitted my will for His will, I inherited freedom from having to carry that weight. I am able to listen, love on and minister to my sister in Christ freely without having to be concerned with trying to fix her, him or their situation. How awesome is that! “I Get To” be an active participant in what God is doing in her life.
Written by: Greg Miller
On a recent short term missions trip our team went door-to-door through a trailer park to talk with people and let them know that bicycles would be repaired for free that coming Thursday. My expectations were that we would find resistance to our efforts and would not get many opportunities to talk with people.
Instead, the opposite was true. People were happy to talk with us and share a little of what was going on in their lives. In addition, one person, instead of wanting bikes repaired, offered to donate about 6 bikes so others could use them! Another resident, we were told, was on a mission trip to Kenya!
If you had asked me where to find people with whom to spend time talking - where to get bike donations - and where to find residents on foreign missions trips, the trailer park was not the place I would have recommended.
Our experience reminded me of several things.
First, it is often those who have the least that give the most. Jesus said that the widow who put two coins into the temple treasury had given more than the wealthy because she gave all that she had. Paul said of the churches in Macedonia that “in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality”, (2 Corinthians 8:2). Poverty can indeed lead to rich liberality! Too often we stay away from the poor. The Lord may want us, instead, to learn about generosity from them.
Secondly, I was convicted by the words of James, “For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”, (James 2:2-5). Indeed, the poor of the world are often the richest in faith.
Finally, you are not going to learn much by staying where you are comfortable and playing it safe. The Lord says to “Go” and make disciples. “You are the light of the world.” You won’t shine if you keep your light under a bushel basket. Let your light shine! Go into ghettos and trailer parks. Amazingly, you might find that you will learn something in the process.
Come and join Uncommon Grounds Café in its ministry and find out how much you can learn. You’ll get more than what you give.