Lately I’ve been asked repeatedly if our name, “Jerusalem House Ministries”, holds any special meaning to us. It does! Those three words represent our calling, mission, and purpose. We hear our calling in the “Great Commission”, where the disciples were commissioned as Christ’s witnesses in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth”. Allentown is our Jerusalem, our home, the starting place of our calling where we witness to our neighbors, who are the poorest of the poor.
The second word “House” is our “mission”, which we fulfill by living in houses among our neighbors, facing the same daily struggles, sometimes victorious, sometimes failing, in our battles for survival and victory. In these houses our neighbors raise their children to have hopes and dreams of being successful, finding romance, and raising heroes and heroines, while they often barely survive on low paying jobs or welfare. Some watch their children become outlaws and experience the heartbreak and bitterness of life as prostitutes, thieves, or drug addicts, etc. Our mission is to help our neighbors achieve their good dreams, discard the wrong ones, and to receive newness of life, house to house, in Christ Jesus.
Our “purpose” is to be a “ministry” which births other ministries. We minister Christ so that our neighbors find their own “calling”, fulfill their own “mission”, live with divine “purpose”, and become a ministry which addresses one or more of the many and varied needs throughout our Jerusalem and even beyond to Judea, Samaria, or the ends of the earth. As such we find ways to reproduce ourselves until all things are eradicated that keep our “Jerusalem” from being a “City of Shalom”, which is the true meaning of Jerusalem.
Achieving our calling, mission and purpose is a constant challenge because even though we have a heart for the work, like our neighbors we always lack sufficient resources. We pray constantly, often led by two prayer warrior mothers in our missionary family. Most of you know Peaches who is the Mother of Jerusalem House Ministries. We also have Mom Toliver, who has worked in our church and Community Center for several years and gained that title, like Mom Peaches, because of the exceptional, maternal love she has shown to all.
Mom Toliver told us a story about going shopping with one of her grandsons on Valentine’s Day. Already showing signs of a loving heart, like his grandmother’s, he magnanimously expressed a desire to get something for all the ladies in his family without thought of how he would pay the cost. He had not yet learned the lesson that we cannot always afford the good works our hearts desire. Most of our neighbors learn this truth at a very young age. They have a heart for good works amid their pain, deprivation, and suffering, but have no means to pay the cost. So they come to us, often with their needs cradled ever so carefully in their hopelessness, like death in a coffin, bewildered at the cost of life. I imagine that’s how we must seem coming to you, bearing our hearts’ burdens with our scarce resources.
We come to you because our neighbors keep coming to us. They wonder if no one sees and hears their need or if no one cares. In such vile poverty, too few do hear or understand the urgency of their plight. So, because we lack the resources, we continue to give voice to their needs until we’re sure that everyone, within the sound of their pain, knows about the inequities of life our poorest neighbors must bear. We realize that sometimes we’re poor representatives of their need, but we won’t stop blowing a trumpet, ringing a bell, beating a drum, using our every resource, until everyone hears and sees their urgent plight.
In 2017 listen for their voices as we speak for them on our website and social networks, through our reports, and our “Letters from Egypt”. We will make every effort to give voice to their need even as it chokes them from having to swallow so much poverty. We ask you to pray that God anoints our ability to communicate their reality and anoints enough ears to hear and hearts to respond. Please pray that I might use the power of today’s social networks to their greatest potential. We hope to establish a voice through this website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to reach more supporters. Please encourage others to seek us out, see our work, and hear our plea. We’ve already started posting on Facebook, so check us out and let us know what you think and what we can do better. Like Mom Toliver’s grandson, we have a heart to help many but we are too often painfully lacking in resources. We pray our next generation reflects our heart as he does, but with greater resources to back them up, and with your generous help they surely will:-).