“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” Matt 28:19
These are the last words Matthew recorded of Jesus. The command to go and make disciples, with the reassurance that He will be with us as we do this. I know a lot of people who have done just this in many nations. Kenya, China, Egypt, Cambodia, and Russia are just a few of the places I personally know someone who is living there or has lived in one of those countries to serve as missionaries. I love the work they are doing in those countries and know that there are a ton of folks who are discovering the love of Christ because of that work.
That was never for me. I never felt a draw to Africa or China. At 18 I felt a call to at risk teenagers while I was a teen myself. I had no idea what God was doing. Much like Moses, I doubted that God called the right person to this. The most interaction I had with an underprivileged community at that time was when my high school team played the at risk schools in basketball. Little did I know what God would have in store.
After working at a camp in New York called Shiloh, this passion began to grow. I always say that I’m pretty average at a lot of things. Average basketball player, average writer, below average singer, average student with average intelligence. The gifting the Lord gave me was building relationships, particularly those who hadn’t been dealt the middle-class-white-folk life. I had no idea why this just came naturally for me, but it did. My first time at Shiloh as a volunteer, I was the one in the back of the van crying because I didn’t care about going into New York City to sight see, I wanted to stay with those kids. I was forever changed in that moment and didn’t realize it.
Years later, I was working for Child Protective Services in Tarrant County, Texas. I was an investigator and found myself knocking on doors in the roughest areas of Fort Worth, not knowing what would be on the other side of those doors. I was called every name in the book, had things thrown at me, had countless threats of being sued or injured and got told to go to hell quite frequently. After not loving all of that, I changed to working with families who had lost their kids to foster care. Some of the parents didn’t try and continued to choose drugs over their child. However, some parents did try and worked hard to get their child back in their care. Those were always the clients I enjoyed working with the most. The drug user who hated they were a drug user or the mom who had a rough past and didn’t know any other way to cope besides drugs, sex and alcohol. They wanted to change, but never had a push to change or someone to help them get clean. I loved being able to help them. I loved when they were honest with me about how they wanted to use, or even if they did use again. I didn’t think they were less than or a total failure, I saw potential.
As much as I loved those clients I worked with, I was also burdened for them. I had what was missing and what could really change their lives, but couldn’t tell them. I had the key to the lock on their life, but couldn’t use it. I couldn’t tell them about Jesus. I couldn’t tell them that the hole in their life they were trying to fill with drugs, alcohol and sex could be filled and filled to the fullest with the love that Christ has for them. The successful stories would get me thinking, “Wow, this is great they are overcoming their drug addiction! But, what now? Will they just go to hell sober?”
I thought about the kids of these parents who were in foster care and where this would put them. They had made so much progress with therapy, with building relationships and with learning what being healthy looked like. But, they also didn’t know that someone loved them unconditionally, that someone had died for them, that someone was with them during their abuse, that someone has a plan for them, and that someone wants more for them than a life of anguish. I couldn’t tell those kids whom I adored that the someone was Jesus.
So I quit. I quit to go. But not go to Africa or China or even somewhere else in America. I quit to go down the street. I told the Lord I want to serve Him in the most effective way I can. I told the Lord I wanted to use the gift he has given me in hopes to bring people who are struggling to Him. I asked the Lord to provide for me a way to do this. So I quit my job, got a part time job, a free place to live by a generous mentor, and began working on creating a ministry that would do just this. Reach the lost people, who I’ve already worked with, who live down the street and who don’t know Jesus. Per Acts 1:8, I wanted to start in my Jerusalem.
I want FLOW to radiate the Great Commission and Acts 1:8. I pray FLOW creates disciples because of the confidence and reassurance we have in Christ, that He really is with us wherever we go. I want FLOW to be a place broken people from all walks of life can come to get healthy, to get plugged into community and to a church and feel safe doing so. People told me I was foolish and making steps backwards in my career path. While yes, I’m no longer rolling in the little dough I had at CPS, I can take to the bank that God is with me wherever I go, that He will not forsake me and that I can find hope in Him. The Lord has changed my life, showed me grace and has loved me despite all my failures. I can’t wait to tell many others about Him and that He can do the same for them.
So I’m asking you to join me in this mission. Not to a foreign land, but like a foreign land in that many of you will never go to the streets of Stop Six, Polytechnic or Meadowbrook. Today, I’m asking that you do join me though, to reach these areas of East Fort Worth, full of people who, like you and me so desperately need Jesus. I’m asking that you join me in prayer for FLOW and that you might partner with FLOW so that these people, broken like us, can know the love that Christ has for them. I would love to meet with you to discuss FLOW, answer questions, and pray with you. Please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be future posts on this blog as we journey together with FLOW to reach the community of East Fort Worth.