One of the main values we felt was key for our ministry & calling was to be ‘incarnational’ wherever we are called. This term may mean different things to people, but to us it is this: living within the community you are called to minister to and with. It is based on Jesus’ model of coming into this world to be with us, living as one of us – and especially among those most overlooked and underserved. Servant Partners‘ staff are committed to this across the world, some moving into some pretty intense situations and having to cope with major challenges because of this – yet reaping the eternal rewards of this lifestyle.
We’ve already experienced some joys of this choice in our ministry here in San Antonio. One of the best things is just taking a walk through our neighborhood and knowing the people we are meeting on the streets! We are getting to know them and they are getting to know us – not just here & there or on a Sunday, but daily.
As we have opened our house to families and friends from the community, we are now an open door to those kids that wander around the neighborhood and are looking for friends and people to hang out with. Though we have to have healthy boundaries to protect ourselves and them, we love that we are accessible and known to be welcoming and nearby.
This past week alone we have had many experiences with our neighbors that have shown us the value of living here on the East Side. A friend who is severely vision-impaired dropped some cash out of his pocket & was walking the street trying to find it when we passed by & happened to find a few of the bills he was looking for! (pray for this friend as he has eye surgery this Wednesday!!) A couple we know had to leave their house due to a bug issue and slept in their truck one night – the next night after we learned about it, we were able to lend them an air mattress to stay at another friend’s house here.
Last night we were blessed to go to our friend, Wendy’s, induction into a school honor society. Her mom wasn’t able to make it because of work, so she asked us to give her a ride & we asked if we could stay & support her. She said to us “i think of you like my second family, i would love if you came!” Wow, what an honor for us! If we didn’t live here and see her regularly in her normal life, have an open door for her to come and hang out with us and play games, talk about life, I don’t think we’d be invited into her life so readily.
There are many other ways being ‘incarnational’ is valuable but this week we’ve enjoyed being present in our friend’s lives, both the struggles and the joys.