by David Burka
“Why go to Chattanooga?” I asked myself that question many times over the past six months. Other locations seemed more desirable in some ways. In a middle class neighborhood our missions team could be assured of supportive local members, climate-controlled facilities, and familiar surroundings. Why not go where WE could feel comfortable? Surely no one wants to get dirty with inner city work do they? God had plans for our group that had nothing to do with personal comfort yet yielded tremendous blessings.
Any time we are willing to step outside our comfort zone and allow God to take over, amazing things happen: souls are saved and lives are transformed. Each of the nearly seventy members of our group said, “Here am I, send me!” The task was not a comfortable one; the neighborhoods were less “neighbor” and more “hood.” The work was hard, the temperatures were high, and the hours were long. Some workers missed meals in order to follow-up on contacts and conduct Bible studies. The resolve of this team was incredible! One example was when Marge Gregory spent all day on “Old Blue” (our veteran un-air-conditioned van). As she stepped off, her comment said it all: “It’s just the way we like it!”
I love all you guys who gave of yourselves and allowed God to shine through your lives. It is hard to get away from our daily routines here, and I know the people of Inner City Chattanooga were blessed beyond measure by your willingness to step outside your comfort zone.
“Why go to Chattanooga?” Eleven souls were added to God’s Kingdom and two others were restored. No one can say for sure how many others will be influenced. As we move on to other activities and time gets away from us, remember to earnestly pray for Robert Darby, the local minister, and the task he is facing every day. Be mindful to pray for Chattanooga’s new babes in Christ, as well.
If you sit still, close your eyes, and let your mind wander back to that old church building, you might just hear “There is one Lord, and one faith, and one baptism.” Never let the fire die!