CCHF | Solutions

H & D

Leaving the Ledge

I’m convinced that what I’m doing is the right thing. This is what I’ve been taught and believed for over two decades; it’s finally time for me to practice what I’ve preached and prayed. I’m talking about relocating to the inner city Las Vegas neighborhood where I serve every week. My heart has been there, now it’s time to get fully immersed. Relocation may not be for everyone, but it’s for me.  

Ironically, my close friends are are strongly opposed to this decision whereas others generally think it’s a noble idea. My friends are genuinely concerned about safety issues, with good reasons. They point out that I have a son and Dad to take care of. 

My four year old is a beautiful child who attends private school and has most of the accompanying toys and clothes. I’m concerned that he’ll assume too many of the values of his affluent schoolmates. His mom and I are unfortunately divorced. She may question the wisdom of my decision, but I believe my son will thank me later for exposing him to humble circumstances and diverse friends. When he’s with me, I hope my son will experience a way of life that will shape his character and value system toward inclusion and away from prejudice.  

In Las Vegas, there are over 3,500 homeless kids, many of whom starve over the weekend because their meals come primarily from their schools. I want to move into the neighborhood so I can provide meals for these kids over those weekends, caring for them the same way I care for my own son. I anticipate other benefits will come from the move. Perhaps I’ll influence my colleagues or other volunteers to do the same, instigating positive changes in a suffering neighborhood. I’m not pre-occupied with those outcomes. As I’ve carefully thought and prayed through this process, it’s becoming apparent that I’m moving my family for the primary purpose of helping these homeless kids, physically and spiritually.

Aside from my son, my father is currently receiving hospice care in my home. My friends tell me he should to be in a “safe” setting. They argue, “Why are you putting your Dad in such an environment? You have so many things on your plate already, you need to come home to rest and not worry about someone breaking into your house.” Just a couple days ago, unfortunately, a friend of mine had his house broken into. He lives in the “safe” suburbs. Bad things happen, no matter where you are.  

It’s true that there’s a higher likelihood of criminality in needy neighborhoods. I plan on taking wise and necessary precautions, but I can’t let fear dictate our lives. Perfect love does cast out fear. As I’ve been praying about this move over the last few months, God has given me a steadily growing love for the kids I want to help. Do I think my family will totally be free from criminal activities? Of course not, but I know that whatever my family faces, our Lord will give us the strength to embrace and endure.

Currently, I’m in the process of forming a team to join me. We plan to plant a house church where our entire offering will be used to help the neighborhood. It will be called the HOPE Center, an extension of Operation H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Everywhere), our ministry that helps dependent people become self-sufficient. Since our community programs and HOPE Medical and Dental Clinic all operate in the neighborhood, it makes sense for the people involved to become more integrated into the community. After all, that’s what Christ did; he left his comfort zone of heaven and came down to our neighborhood, ate and hung out with us, demonstrated His power and love, brought hope and healing, and saved the world by focusing on the few. He went all out, not withhold anything.  He gave it all, His blood and life.

I’m convinced that what I’m doing is the right thing. This is what I’ve been taught and believed for over two decades; it’s finally time for me to practice what I’ve preached and prayed. I’m talking about relocating to the inner city Las Vegas neighborhood where I serve every week.  My heart has been there, now it’s time to get fully immersed.  Relocation may not be for everyone, but it’s for me.