Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Church Centers Of Hope

Today I had an interesting experience with a small shop owner who had definitely been intimidated by the force of gang activity in a good part of San Jose near Los Gatos.

"Why are people paying so much for houses and taxes in a place that is just as bad as a ghetto?" he quipped. People think that because they live in a good part of town they are safe from the avalanche of lawlessness that is creeping into most cities in America.

We are blind. We do not see that the lack of opportunity for youth leads right to a life of crime and those in the middle will pay for it in higher taxes, home invasions or worse.

Now, as you know we work for children and although this is no "quick" fix to help the pollution of society by the bully tactics of the gangs, I believe that real reaching out by the community and demanding better for the children will turn around an entire city in time.

Churches need to be centers of hope where people really reach out and serve those who are less fortunate. Talk is cheap. Good works that help families cannot be disputed. The reason children get bent the wrong direction is because they have terrible roll models in their own families. They have no line of authority and they crave structure and a place to hang out. Unfortunately, gangs will readily take and train a 12 year old to lie, steal, cheat and get ready for the next level: to kill.

We can and do step in to help children by giving them help with learning math and English plus lots more. At Onnuri Church in San Jose the children are learning to grow plants. They are learning to sing songs. They are learning to really care about their high school tutors who in turn help them with their homework. The children have a happy home after school. Imagine for a moment. Think of the worst, gang ridden area of your city. What would happen if we came there? Would you pray? Would you tell others. There are many links in a fence that keeps a community safe. Be that link.

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