A word of encouragement from our December WorkGroup

Chris Kyle, and four classmates from Seattle Pacific Univiersity came to UrbanPromise to volunteer for 10 days...be encouraged by the following blog post about one of his days in Camden.

There is going to be a rebirth. It’s coming.

Jesus Castro, one of the leaders over here who’s only a couple years older than us, articulated this point brilliantly over our early morning devotionals. He was the first to explicitly say that Camden was on the up and up, or, at least, had some hope of survival. It was encouraging that somebody was finally willing to vocalize such words.

In the midst of my adventures today, I ran into a guy named Cleveland, who

was both verbose and willing to listen. We talked for about 45 minutes, and jumped from topic to topic concerning racial reconciliation, Camden’s rise and fall, me growing up in white ol’ Boise, as well as what I’ve been doing here for the last week. In walking away from the conversation, he brought up the point that as a witness to this city, I am responsible for the knowledge of Camden I’ve obtained. I’ve heard lines like this before involving other topics of heaviness, but this was a great reminder for both why I’m here, and what I’m to do when I leave. Going back to the journalistic piece, I suppose the least I can do is tell the story of Camden – both now and later.

Albeit, I want to be careful in saying what I feel this city needs, especially because I’m far from an expert on all the controversial matters that revolve around the topic; however, I feel it’s safe to say that education and relationship are two key points for what it takes to turn around this city.

Education for the sake of the next generation (as well as the current one), which can take the form of politics, social services, literacy, business, spirituality, etc., is a necessity of reforming all that has currently been lost.

As for relationships, the simple act of being present in a community and wanting to intentionally invest are two of the biggest factors. I mean, what were two things that Jesus did, as told throughout each of the gospels?

He taught and formed relationships with people. He taught so that people may understand truth, and he spoke so that people felt known, loved, and valued. The depravity of this city is more than just money – it’s of everything you and I have that is usually taken for granted.

Closing note: I nearly prayed myself to tears this morning realizing how wonderful my friends have been in supporting me on this trip through affirmative words. I couldn’t feel more blessed and confident that every minute in this city is drenched with genuine prayer. God is so so good.

All is done by His grace alone. Amen.
Chris Kyle