I’m in Los Angeles on 10.11.12 (a lovely sequenced date). I’m also currently sitting on the floor (in the spot where I will also be sleeping) of the small, one-room flat of my former George Fox University student and friend, Forrest Cammack, and his other two Californian roommates. Each of these three flatmates are in process of working on a two-year Master’s degree program through Azusa Pacific University. The degree is titled Master of Arts in Transformational Urban Leadership (MATUL). http://www.apu.edu/clas/globalstudies/urbanleadership/
Really, the degree provides a means for these men (along with the other women and men in their cohort) to walk into an engaged vocational discernment process that will have each of them living with and working in the midst of poor, oppressed, and marginalized peoples in slums/barrios/favelas around the world. The program director—Viv Grigg—is a friend of mine and long-term missiologist from whom I have learned much, and who has spent a good portion of his own life living and ministering in the midst of environments that he is now opening to new generations.
Through listening to the call of the Spirit in their lives, and through having a mentor/professor substantively lead them into their hearts’ calling, the men who have welcomed me into their home this weekend (adding a fourth person to a one bedroom flat in the midst of pursuing difficult graduate work) are on their way to spend at least a year and a half living in very difficult conditions that far too much of the world lives in daily through no choice of their own. They will be taking their undergraduate and graduate learning into populations that will have little to no concern about many of their ideas, but whom they hope to come alongside in solidarity as they seek to exemplify in their own lives the example of the life of Jesus Christ. Their time will be very challenging, but they will also find great contentment as Scripture promises. For instance, in 1Timothy 6:6-11:
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
As God leads you, please pray for these people who are seeking to bring further peace and justice into the world through the action of studying to show themselves approved and through the action of giving “cups of water” to the “least of these.” Please pray for these Good Samaritans who are remembering that all are our neighbors as we are all children and image bearers of the eternal, loving, creator God.