Saturday, January 21, 2006

Restoration of homes and lives

A couple of months ago, I was at a gathering of Rochester-area pastors. The keynote speaker was the then-Mayor-elect of Rochester. Although I've never met him personally, he struck me as a man of integrity who sincerely wanted to work with the church in Rochester to improve conditions in the city.

In his speech, Mayor Duffy noted that there are about 3000 vacant homes in the city. He wanted to see these homes restored and lived in. He asked us pastors to come up with solutions to this problem. Knowing that Mayor Duffy used to be Chief of Police for the city, I thought that perhaps he'd be open to the idea of having former inmates working to restore some of the homes. The church would provide spiritual grounding, accountability, relationships, etc. for these former inmates, while they work at restoring homes. Many former inmates do not have jobs, skills and/or opportunities waiting for them upon their release. By working on these homes, they could learn a trade, and provide a very useful service to the city. There are a lot of details to be worked out on this idea, but I believe it's doable.

There have been several confirmations from the Lord about this idea. For example, God has put me in contact with a couple of other church leaders in the city who had the same idea! As another example, yesterday, when I was in the jail, I shared my idea with 'Cliff,' the inmate who currently leads the daily Bible study in the jail pod where I go every week. "Pastor Brian," he told me excitedly, "that's the same idea that me and my two friends had! Look, here are the written notes we took!" These two friends of his were the previous Bible study leaders "They've both been released," he informed me.

"Where are the other two guys now?" I asked him. "'Paul' is in the correctional facility, and 'Roger' is in a halfway house." I told him I would ask my friend, Dave, to try to find Paul, and I would get in touch with Roger. Then we prayed that God would open doors.

Today, I went to the halfway house and found Roger. I shared my idea and the many confirmations with him. We prayed together that God would make a way for this ministry.

There seems to be a conspicuous move of God here. Pray that the Lord would continue to connect people who have a heart for the city and for former inmates. Pray that God would inspire us to see this vision to its fruition. Pray that we would have favor with those in authority, and that God would provide any finances needed to make this work. As I said, there are many details that would have to be worked out and a lot of preparation. Pray for the Lord's leading in all this.


Anonymous Yannick said...

I must say that is a pretty good idea. You will all be in my prayers. The Lord is good and I have no doubt in my mind this will work out and be successful. God's richest blessings!

8:44 AM  
Blogger Lori said...


That sounds awesome! I pray that the details will simply fall into place!

7:16 PM  

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