This week has been challenging, exhausting, and most of all rewarding. This week has been filled with community life, biblical teachings, kitchen duties, getting to know the neighborhood, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Through it all. I have learned and have grown so much closer to Jesus, and have developed a love for His word and the West Side.

The teachings this week focused on the bible as a whole. The speaker was Rod VanSolkema who just happens to be the Pastor of my church, Crossroads. It was such a blessing to hear Rod teach. He covered a lot over these past four days, but I’ll try and highlight some of the main points. First of all, we learned just how Holy the Bible truly is. It is the Living Breathing word of God. It is what God gave to us. He lived us enough to leave us with this Holy book. Next we learned about the main theme of the bible, which basically is redemption through love. That theme is carried across the bible and having all the Old Testament books point to Jesus. We also learned to read the bible through the lenses of a Hebrew. This is a hard to explain concept but basically it involves looking at the bible with concrete thinking instead of abstract thinking. It also means reading it knowing the context and that it’s not all about us. It’s all about Jesus. I’ve gained a new love for the Bible this week.

I also gained a true love for the west side of Grand Rapids. It’s true that the West side is a broken, poverty driven neighborhood. It has heavy influences of alcoholism, drug use, prostitution, gangs, and robberies. How could I love that, you may wonder. The truth is, despite all that stuff, the west side is also filled with a certain beauty you can’t find anywhere else. It has a close sense of community. The people here are front porch type of people. They say hi to each other. God is also moving here in the west side. The BSHOP has done great things in this community. The Lord has proven his faithfulness and taken away a lot of the bad stuff in the neighborhood over the past nine years. I’m so blessed they have accepted us to be a part of his community.

God is moving in my heart and in this community. My life is already never going to be the same. I want to thank everyone who has helped make this possible for me with your support or prayers. I’m so blessed. Next week we start our schedule of service work, so I’m excited to see what that will all entail. Jesus is a great man. The Father is a kind Father. The Spirit is moving. How great it is to be a servant of Christ.

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