Close to home…

This was the scene yesterday afternoon about 75 yards from our front porch. A 19-year-old kid was shot in the upper thigh and collapsed on the sidewalk before police and paramedics arrived. He was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

This is the second shooting that has taken place in broad daylight in our corner of the 19th Ward this year. Back in March a 22-year-old man was murdered outside his mother’s home on Rosalind Street – about six blocks from our house. That case was featured on the A&E show Crime 360.

Instances like this are frustrating because for the most part we really do live in a great neighborhood with alot of great people who care deeply about the quality of our community.  Most of our neighbors are working-class people who own their homes and who look out for another. A couple of weeks ago we gathered with our neighbors – including one member of City Council – and had a cookout on the same corner where this most recent shooting took place. In the time that we have owned our home I have never felt unsafe walking in our neighborhood or letting my children play outside. We really do live in a great community.

But when things like this happen it can be easy to give in to fear. You find yourself second-guessing the decision you made to live in the neighborhood. You worry about the safety of your family. It becomes easier to lock yourself behind closed doors and keep the darkness “out there.” You are tempted to close  yourself off and shut other people out.

When we bought our house a large part of our decision was based on our sense of calling to Rochester and to our neighborhood in particular. We are well aware of the risks that come with living in a city like ours where poverty and crime are closely intertwined and seemingly always at your doorstep. We have no delusions of grandeur in thinking that our presence here would go very far toward changing any of that. But we consider it our ministry to at least be one household of peace in a city that has seen far too much violence already. To be a place where the neighborhood kids can come and play and feel safe and loved. To be a light for Jesus by offering up hope where there seemingly is none.

So if you think of it, please remember to keep Rochester in your prayers. Pray that our neighbors will not be given over to fear. But rather that they would receive “a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” And pray that we would remain faithful to the calling God has placed on our hearts and the ministry he has set before us each day.

Because when things like this happen so close to home it can be a bit unsettling.

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2 thoughts on “Close to home…

  1. My brother in-law wrestled with that decision a few years ago, when he moved his family from Roxbury (Boston, MA) to Jamaica Plains. A distance of a half-mile, but the crime is separated by train tracks. (a literal other side of tracks situation). They had a murder right at their corner, and among other factors they made the move.

  2. i know it is kind of cliche, but i really believe it, that you are never safer than when you are where god wants you. so if you guys think that god wants you there to minister to that community. you are in His hands. and though i don’t want to diminish the horrible things that might be happening around you, but there are crazy things everywhere that can take your life, if it’s time, it’s time. we have a friend who’s father just died after falling down the stairs in his very nice home in a very nice town (rated the best schools in the nation, kind of town).
    and i believe your presence, and the presence of God in your life, can make a huge difference, don’t under-estimate that power. name it and claim it 😉 lol.

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