Tuesday, July 12, 2005

En La Madrugada (At Dawn)

At dawn today, I was riding a train from the United terminal to the parking lot where my car was parked for the weekend, when an elderly women stepped onto the train and sat facing. It was 4:45 am and she was just arriving for work at the International terminal.

I don't know why she made such a big impression on me, except that this elderly Latino woman looked to be someone's grandmother, and she looked so tired and burdened that I could not help but wonder what her life was like. What her story was.

Over the weekend I taught that so many people live their entire lives without ever experiencing or encountering the unconditional love of Christ that leads to forgiveness and transformation, and that God's desire is that everyone of His children come to know His love in that way. I also shared that it is that compassion that moves us to become involved in the lives of others.

In this woman, I saw loneliness. I saw hardship. And, I felt compassion, knowing that there are millions of women like her all around our globe who are struggling to survive, who will never have a retirement plan, or the luxury of having someone take care of them at a time in their lives when they should no longer have to work. With everything going on in my mind, all I did was offer her a very weak smile. One stop later, this woman exited the train, and disappeared from my sight.

I arrived at the remote parking lot, quickly found my car, and eagerly drove away to get home to my wife and kids. You never know who you are going to encounter, en la madrugada.

Spanglish Word of the Day

Ya 'Stuvo- 'That's enough, or I've had enough.' As in, 'Ya 'Stuvo con este tatoo.' Ya 'Stuvo happens to be the name of the tatoo removal business that Father Boyles and his guys run through Homeboy Industries. It is one of many economic development projects that are operated by ex-gang members.

Can Anything Good Come from East Palo Alto?

This past weekend I was in East Palo Alto speaking at Antioch Urban Fellowship where John Liotti is pastor. I also spoke at St Stephens COGIC Church and at Bayshore Ministries, a CCDA member organization that has been doing urban youth development for 20 years.

While I was in San Jose working with CityTeam I actually had some time with Andy, who is the founder and others. A highlight of the time was hanging out with some great young leaders and seeing all the good work that is being done in a totally different urban venue than Chicago. In EPA homes in the hood go for $500,000 and up! Can you imagine trying to create low-income housing in that environment? But especially John and some of his team have a real vision to create economic stability and capital for poor families, and is developing the foundation to establish a credit union in the hood.

Also, I had a great time just hanging out and sharing some thoughts on mestizaje, justice, and Christian Community Development. An added treat was being able to have dinner with my family one night.

One of the passages I used was from John 2 where Phillip urges Peter to come and see Jesus for himself, hearing about this unique rabbi. The response of those around them upon discovering that Jesus is from Nazareth is the rhetorical question, 'Can anything good come from Nazareth?' I am certain after being with so many great folks in EPA, that indeed, something good is happening in EPA. John, Andy, Christiana, JD, Pastor Baines, Champion, Maria, Bishop, David, Melissa, and the rest...Keep up the great work!