Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Faith of a Mustard Seed

Last week my family was invited to the south-side of Chicago to the neighborhood of Lawndale to have lunch with some friends from our church, Dae and Esther, who live there. Lawndale has had a checkered and difficult history. Our friends both work in medicine and while both of them could have sought out far more lucrative careers in other hospitals, but instead they moved to Lawndale where they felt that God wanted them to be. We had lunch together and then they took us to the Lawndale Christian Health Center where Pat, one of the staff members, gave us a tour of the facility and share the story of LCHC with us.

I believe the most touching thing about the history of the center was the way it began. Pat told us that everything began with a group of students who felt like God had given them a burden for this community. Everyone around them thought that they were crazy when they began to share some of their dreams and visions of a church and medical center. However, they began to pray, save, and work towards doing what they felt God had called them to. They had a vision to see the Gospel lived out in word and deed and their faith led to amazing transformation within this community. As I stood in the middle of the medical center, which was a direct and tangible result of their faith, it gave me chills to think of what can be done when people listen to the heart of God. Today the LCHC provides affordable health care to residents who might otherwise go without proper care. Since it is a Christian Center they are able to meet many more needs (spiritual and emotional) than a typical medical facility might be able to.

Our friend Dae explained to us that one of the doctors who helped start the health center was working as a medical missionary in Africa when he felt like God was drawing him back to Chicago. He said at the time when he moved back to the states the quality of health care in Africa was better then the quality of care available for the residents in the community of Lawndale. How is it possible that in a country with such a high standard of living that we can neglect the needs of our own neighbors?

Today, not only is there a medical center with a workout facility and a gym, but the church in Lawndale is also renovating houses and providing affordable housing for residents of the community. The Gospel is being lived out daily in very real and tangible ways and you can see the direct results in the lives of people. I was truly and deeply inspired by the work and faith of the Lawndale Community Church, the Lawndale Christian Health Center, and of our friends who have taken seriously what it means to follow in Christ. I can only imagine what this world would look like if more Christians would follow in their footsteps.

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -Jesus of Nazareth