May 10, 2012
There are many instances in the Bible where the fruit of ministry is compared to the work of the farmer reaping a harvest. We are experiencing a plentiful harvest this season for which we are grateful. We have a bumper crop of students who will be graduating from high school this spring, including our own son Nathanael of whom we are very proud. I’m really excited about this because the students I’m talking about are all Black young men from our inner city community who are set for graduation and going on to attend college. This is a huge cause for celebration! These are boys we’ve known their whole lives. We’ve watched them grow up, taken them camping, done bible studies and church with them, led them to Christ, gone through all kinds of crises with them, and followed them through many changes of residence.
This is remarkable because you see, these boys aren’t supposed to make it. According to the ONE Minneapolis Community Indicators report only one in three black students who started the ninth grade graduate from high school in four years. We know first hand that these boys have had to deal with gun violence among their peers, transience, evading the pitfalls of drugs and gangs, family issues, a school system which often lets them fall through the cracks and a pervading sense of hopelessness. If you are familiar with our ministry you know that the children and families we work with are typically the most needy and hard to reach. Being small and grassroots we may have a graduate or two within our ministry community every year or so. And sadly, when students graduate we are not often confident that they are prepared to pursue the next stage of life, be it college, trade school or seeking employment.
A few years ago we had a sizable group of young people in our ministry who came of age to graduate. Bright young men, and capable. They had all been with our ministry from a young age, but sadly no one from that group went on to graduate or make a life for themselves as adults. Instead, today they are involved in gangs, selling drugs, or just sitting around smoking marijuana.
So it’s a big deal to us and our community that this group of young men have come to this point and are showing such prospect and promise. We take this kind of success neither lightly nor for granted, but we esteem it highly for the accomplishment that it is. Our ministry has played a significant role in the lives of these young men, joining with their families, neighbors and friends in helping them stay focused and in school. They all have a desire to do something with their lives. More importantly, they all see themselves doing something with their lives. We give thanks to God for such a great harvest!
Our ministry is replete with young men and older now who have come through difficult circumstances and are leading positive, self affirming lives today; but we rejoice now for this group of young men and invite you to rejoice with us. Thanks for your gifts and support.