I came to college seeking something bigger, something more to God. I was dealing with a lot of pain from some previous traumatic family experiences and had no idea how to deal with the pain. I knew I needed God, but I didn’t know how or what or why.
I began attending a bible study and Campus Crusade for Christ. I was checking out bible believing churches and experiencing that for the first time in my life. My new best friend was a solid Christian and was not going to let my new college views get in the way of her walk with the Lord and her beliefs. She was the biggest blessing and was evidence of Jesus being real. I heard the gospel at Campus Crusade’s weekly meeting and first heard about a relationship with Jesus. That night I let Jesus pay for my sins and asked him to be Lord of my life.
God , over the years, did radical things to turn my life upside down. He also began developing my heart for the poor and the kids in the inner city. I spent eight weeks in Milwaukee on a mission project and was convinced that I had to go back. So I am.
God has provided multiple experiences along the way, but the one that made the biggest difference was last summer when I was in Milwaukee for an 8 week summer project. We were going to attend a church called St. Ben’s, which feeds 375 homeless people a night. I was under the assumption that we would be serving the food, but what actually happened was that we were going to eat with them. So I got in line, which filtered outside the church out onto the sidewalk. To make a long story short(er), I began to wrestle with God and some strong emotions of pride, guilt, judgment, and shame. The Lord used this experience to spark some lessons and teach me truth during the next few weeks. I was initially frustrated with the overwhelming need of people just in Milwaukee. Their physical needs and their spiritual needs. I began to think that there was too much of a need in our world, and not enough people or resources. I started asking God what could I possibly do for the poor, you command us to be openhanded, compassionate, and giving, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference. Especially since I remember studying in Deuteronomy 15 and reading that God said the poor we will have with us always. And when I asked God why bother, he gently answered, ” because I still care.” That was enough for me.
36 Million people living below the poverty threshold
Milwaukee is said to be the most segregated city in the US. ~ L.A. Times
41% of homeless are families with children
Jesus said in Matthew 25:36, ” What you do for the least of these you have do for me.”
Isaiah 58 says that true fasting that is acceptable to the Lord, not for glorifying myself, but rather for God’s glory is to
Loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke,
Set the oppressed free and break every yoke
Share your food with the hungry
Provide the poor wanderer with shelter
God has done all these things for me and I am excited to be a part of what He is already doing in Milwaukee!
Shawana attended our VBS at the after school program that is run through Here’s Life. The first week she was not engaged and didn’t participate at all. I had given up on her after the first week. By the end of the second week I shared the gospel and invited anyone to stay after to ask questions. Shawana was the only one to stay after. Despite giving up on her, the Lord was still working and softening her heart. Shawana prayed to receieve Christ that day. But what is also neat about the after school program is that Shawana can continue to attend a Christ centered program that seeks to meet all of her needs including physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual.
Three ways we work to change lives in Milwaukee:
HLIC helps partner churches meet crisis needs of the poor and introduce them to Christ.
– One way we do this is by providing resources for “Boxes of Love”. We pack boxes of food with a bible and give them to the churches to share with their communities. This sets the foundation for long-term relationships in needy communities.
HLIC discovers the needs of our partner ministries and seeks the resources to meet those needs.
– We bring in college students for a summer long mission trip. College students participate in a variety of activities ranging from leading Vacation Bible School for churches, service projects at a Women’s Shelter, Volunteering at food outreaches.
This is our team from the Summer of 2006.
We folded linens for the Women’s Shelter, lots of linens. 🙂
HLIC provides partner ministries with long-term developmental programs.
– We have an after school program called S.A.Y. Yes!. This program is explained more above.
This is where my emphasis will be during my internship.