For the first time in Hub history we were able to fly our four bright Hubbers to be a part of the 2011 Christian Community Development Association Conference in Indianapolis, IN. CCDA’s mission is to inspire, train and connect Christians who seek to bear witness to the Kingdom of God by reclaiming and restoring under-resourced communities. Here are some testimonies of what our Hub interns learned and are bringing back to the city.
At CCDA, Dr. Wayne Gordon made the point that if we expect to make a diffe-rence in our community we need to be there for 15 years. I'm not sure L.J. will let me stay at the Hub that long, but this lesson is still meaningful. It gives us permission not to cling to the idea that if we don't see results today, then there are no results at all. It's also a challenge: am I going to be willing to commit to a community for fifteen years at some time in my future? The Hub is certainly helping me to work these questions out.
One of the issues that was brought to my attention was the exposure to the darkness that exists in our communities when it comes to human trafficking. I just couldn’t believe my ignorance! This is happening in my own community and I have been oblivious to it. I’m now really interested in learning about what is being done in my city to prevent these horrific actions from affecting more innocent lives and about how to bring restoration. With my psychology background, I’d like to see if God may call me to bring therapy or counseling to the victims and bring hope and life back to them. It’s my prayer that God may use me as an instrument of hope and as an advocate to the churches and neighborhoods so that we can come together and fight this evil.
One of the main things they talked about at CCDA is education and how the system is failing our children. God has given me a heart for middle schools and I felt a slight change toward elementary kids. In that I felt a call to change my major to education teaching instead of middle school. With this new change I would be able to do a lot more for the Kingdom and God’s children, through it will take me a bit longer to finish my credential and degree. I know this is where God has called me.
CCDA really helped to solidify my passion for education in our urban neighborhoods. Our schools are not the only ones failing our students. Broken families and broken communities leave these children lost, defenseless and hungry for attention and belonging. As a community and as followers of Christ, we can no longer stand idle. Through the workshops I attended I was encouraged to creatively incorporate the need for education assistance and while sharing and showing them Christ's love. As an after school program director I am given the unique opportunity to build personal relationships with our students which allows me to become invested in their lives both inside and outside of the classroom. CCDA taught me that with a holistic approach towards my after school kids, I can ensure that they are being listened to and encouraged both in their schoolwork and in their character. Our students not only need better grades and reading levels, but they need dedicated individuals who will tangibly show them Christ’s love. Even the smallest encouragement and math test victories help these kids realize the God-given greatness that is in each one of them.
It was such an encouragement for me to be amongst great leaders who continue to fight the good fight and emerging leaders who are passionate about living out the gospel. I was challenged at one of my CCDA workshops of the utter importance of relationship between the church, para-church ministries, and community. The main message was to begin the dialogue of holistic transformation by asking the right questions before coming up with answers. Ministry is not about how well your program runs or the amount of attendees you bring in but the investment of relationships. My role as a youth pastor and community member gives me the unique opportunity to be a bridge between two and am excited for how God will use my influence.
This would all have not been done if weren’t for all your prayers and financial support leading up to this conference. Thank you for allowing us to come back home inspired, connected and well equipped to seek first the Kingdom of God in our city.