Growing up in the country, I never thought I’d enjoy living in an apartment building so much. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it if I weren’t living on mission for Jesus.
Living in a ‘patch’ in downtown Hamilton helped me realize the power of compassion. Compassion literally means “to suffer with”, which is what Jesus did when he entered into our pain (e.g. Luke 7:13) rather than just commuting from heaven.
After moving into my community, I joined the neighbourhood association. I was thrilled to actually have a voice and be an advocate for those less fortunate, as I had entered into their pain by living among them. The rest of the neighbourhood (including some of the social work organizations) didn't know about some of the issues in my buildings because they didn't live there.
I got to know a family from Burma really well. They basically adopted me into their family and taught me a lot about hospitality. Unfortunately, the external wall of their unit was deteriorating from toxic mould and the landlord wouldn't do their part to fix it. So, a team of us worked together, contacted public health, and they were able to get the mould removed and the wall repaired. I learned that the good news of the Kingdom is good news to us not just spiritually, but also physically--involving our bodies and homes and physical needs.
I saw God transform lives. Living a couple of blocks away from a drug rehab centre (where our church met), I got to know men and women who had hit rock bottom. As I built community with these folks, I saw God call them into relationship with Him and help them ‘get clean’. In six months I saw a young man transition from gang activity and addiction to hard drugs, to becoming completely clean and an amazing preacher of the good news of God's Kingdom. I learned that the good news of the Kingdom is good news to us socially--freeing us from addiction and redeeming our relationships.
Living in the neighbourhood also helped me to see the good news of Jesus touch the lives of my neighbours. I saw God break addictions, heal illnesses, give people hope, bring justice by challenging oppressors, and bring people into relationship with Him. Jesus showed us that the good news is holistic, involving our whole lives.
Of course, MoveIn isn’t the only way to be on mission for Jesus, but it is a great avenue to serve Him with other Christians, and to tangibly see how Jesus is good news to the poor.