This is a follow-up to my last post and some of the comments and meetings I have been part of since that post. Recently in a meeting I was leading one person asked me this: “Russ what are we doing? What have we accomplished?” Great questions!
My personal journey in this area has now been years in the making. As I look back over my life I see God at work in sometime subtle ways and sometimes blatant ways opening my eyes to the state of our world. It has been a steady progression of Him grabbing ahold of my heart on these issues and not letting me go. At times I am thankful and at times I wish I could go back to my “I didn’t know” stage of life. God does not seem the least bit interested in letting me go back. It is clear to me that this is a jorney forward not backward.
In November of 2010 our Friday morning men’s breakfast heard from Rick Langlais of Hands On Ministries which for now I look back on as the impetus to move us as a church forward into the arena of poverty awareness. We were confronted with the reality of abuse, poverty, lack of education, generational problems and prostitution right here in our own backyard of Saskatoon. We were not dealing with social issues on the back side of the globe we were now aware of incredible needs a few blocks from our own church.
I believe this information of a local nature has awakened many of us. The truth of scripture from Matthew 25 in the story of the sheep and the goats took on a new application…a personal application. We began asking ourselves, “what am I doing to help the least of these?” So let’s review what has transpired in the past months understanding it has been less than a year since Rick spoke at our church which I’ll use as our starting point.
1. We started a monthly grocery collection to help the inner city of Saskatoon. The church has responded very well to this initiative.
2. We had a traning session on volunteering in the inner city and now a significant number of people from Cornerstone now help out at various agencies in our downtown core.
3. We have hosted a couple of different ministries which then gave us the opportunity to begin sponsoring children in developing parts of our world. For some this was a new venture while others were already engaged in this support ministry.
4. We assisted the local ministry of Habitat for Humanity this summer by providing meals and snacks every Wednesday through July and August.
5. Lynette Sawatsky has started a children’s choir for kids at one of our inner city schools. She has the blessing of the school principal and the choir happens during school hours.
6. A small group of young men from our church responded to the urgent call for men to help build a wall around a children’s village in Haiti with Haiti Arise.
7. I have been making contacts with various ministries that deal with the very real issue of Human Trafficking in our world. My hope is to host a conference in 2012 on this issue.
8. I met with Dr. Cory Neudorf, Saskatoon’s Chief Medical Health Officer, to discuss poverty related issues in Saskatoon after hearing him speak at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
9. I met with Jordon Cooper of the Salvation Army after reading several of his articles in the Star Phoenix newspaper regarding the local sex trade and its accompanying issues.
10. I have a long distance phone conversation lined up October 17th with Commissioner Christine MacMillan who is the Director of The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission. I will be speaking with her about the issue of Human Trafficking.
This is not a complete list at all. I hear stories from time to time of ways in which people from within our church are taking the hope of Christ and engaging our world. Each one of us can play a part. As was stated in our church bulletin recently, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night in a closed room with a mosquito.”
You can make a difference and we are making a difference. Keep it up. The cause is worth it and eternity is at stake.