Lately I have been in a creative phase where I have enjoyed making boutique jams. I have make thirty seven jars of Black-raspberry, chokecherry, wild grape, wild grape – chokecherry, or crab-apple rhubarb at various times over the summer and fall. Recently I was visiting my parents home about an hour away. I noticed that their crab-apple tree was laden with fruit, and immediately my thoughts went to trying to make crab-apple jam or jelly. Also visiting was a relative, Nigel Paul, the founder of MoveIn.To, a “movement of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor.” I suggested that I was interested in picking the crab apples, and Nigel volunteered to help.
As we spent the next hour picking the crab-apples, we chatted away on numerous topics, including some of Nigel’s immediate and longer term plans. I walked away from our conversation thinking – Nigel is one of the reasons why part of me has never left the Evangelical world.
Ten years ago, Nigel had a vision to “Move-In”. To intentionally live simply in a poor neighborhood in order to be salt and light to those around him. Nigel spread the word about what he was doing, and encouraged others to join him. The idea was that people who were students, or working regular jobs, or retired, would intentionally move into communities where they could make a difference. This would not be an expensive proposition. People would be doing what they would normally doing in their academic or work lives, but they would be intentional about where they lived.
And join they did, in less than ten years there are now 400 move-iners across 37 cities and 14 countries. Much of his family has gotten involved, for example, his sisters have moved with their spouses to a slum in Indonesia, where they are providing an education to the neighborhood children.
Nigel himself chose to live in a large apartment complex holding about 5000 people, many of them new immigrants to Canada. He, and his fiancee at the time Jessie, invited every one of them to their wedding, followed by a pot luck dinner to be held on the front lawn of the apartment. About 1000 friends and neigbors took them up on the offer.
In my own city I see similar examples to this, my own heroes of the faith, so to speak.
I see Dwayne C. organizing sports programs for inner city youth, and creating and delivering Christmas gift baskets to the needy.
I see Alison W. setting up a home where new refugees can stay until they get established.
I see Greg R. facilitating churches working together to meed the needs of those around them.
I see Chris W. encouraging youth to make a difference in people’s lives.
I see Don C. heading up a “reading and running” program in the elementary schools.
I see Al and Karen C. establishing training and counseling programs for homeless youth.
I see other friends reaching out, and helping out across the country and around the world.
Many of my friends think differently to me. Theologically I may not fit in. But we all share a love for the same God, and trust in his son Jesus. That binds us together with a cord that is not easily broken.
I will leave you with one final thought.
Last year Nigel and Jessie tried something new. Knowing that many of the poor in the world have just one dollar a day to spend on food they decided that they would take one week a year where they did the same. The money they saved from their regular budget that week they would donate to ministries that work with the poor. It can be a challenge, as Nigel and Jessie found, when the chicken carcasses they bought for $1.50 and planned to use as part of three meals, were in fact rotten. It gave them a sense of what it means to be truly poor, when something like happens, and you have no alternatives, you go hungry.
Again they are encouraging others to join them. They are at the end of their week for this year, but if others wanted to join for a later week I am sure they would welcome them. They can be found at dollaraday.global.
As always, your thoughts and comments are welcome.