I just returned from a relatively new community in the southern part of our city of about ten million. The community is called "The Towers in the Corner." I kid thee not. I had been warned to not go to this part of town. Gangs roam the streets, both day and night. But I serve the One who can calm any storm. So off we went.
The ride alone was an adventure. To be sure of where I was going (I had never been to this particular community), I asked a local friend to take me. We went in his compact Hyundai, bouncing along roads that were not friendly to his car, or to my backside. We dodged pot holes, some of which looked like craters. We "enjoyed" the exhaust of a hundred busses. We challenged three-wheeled moto-taxis for the right of way.
It wasn't long after turning off the paved road that we were privileged to enjoy the fresh fragrance of the local hog farms. Hogs inside the city? Yes, hogs. And to make things more interesting, the good people were out burning the garbabe that had piled up. I quickly surmised that their garbage service was lacking; it made me more grateful for the part of town where I live.
Soon we arrived at our destination. We drove till we couldn't, then got out and walked up some recently-poured steps. Lots of steps. And then we walked a little more, this time on slippery slopes. There we met with local leaders who have asked for our help with some human needs projects. We are only too happy to help them. But we have ulterior motives. Did I just say that?? Yes, our motives run deeper than the skin and the belly. We aim for the soul!
I stood and looked out over this part of the city. Across the rugged hills men and women had dug into the rocks and built primitive homes. Some were made of plywood. A very few had some brick structure to them. Others were made of straw mats. There were at least 50 communities of 80 homes each. These communities, like The Towers in the Corner, are church-less. I did not say there are no believers there; there probably are some. But the vast majority are predominantly unchurched.
And that brings me back to my motives. We want God to plant a host of churches in this part of the city. We will minister to a perceived need so that we can get to the real need: people need the Lord.
And that brings me to yet another dilemma. I have a small pool of trained workers. God wants the gospel of Jesus to penetrate these lost, unchurched communities. I can hear him asking, "Whom shall we send, and who will go for us?" Pray, please that someone in this massive city will cry out, "Here am I! Send me."