As we walked on the first full day of training, the city skyline expanded before us with no random giant buildings or billboards blocking the view. It is such a sight to behold.
That image is what hundreds of men, women and children get to look at every day from behind a barbed wire fence. Downtown Houston, a city that promises days full of life, art and culture, separated from a community by a barbed wire fence.
It's not that the people behind the fence have a different viewpoint, though. The people here see that opportunities for a different life are out there, but they also see that there are barriers that prevent them from even touching the outskirts of those opportunities.
That is the image we began with at our orientation as we heard who we will be serving and loving and sharing God's word with.
Through Missions Centers of Houston, we will be leading kids clubs for children who may not have a father in the home for whatever reason, whether due to incarceration, deportation or the fact that the fathers weren't ever in the picture. We are serving single mothers who are learning English for the first time. We are serving the seniors who have lived in these neighborhoods longer than I have been alive. We are serving in a neighborhood where gangs, drugs, violence, prostitution, and human trafficking run rampant. We are serving neighborhoods that are broken and neglected.
We are serving people made in God's image.
Missions Centers of Houston has been serving the community for over 50 years and those years have not gone wasted. There is a light amidst the darkness here and though there is pain in the neighborhoods there is also hope. God has been working here long before I even discovered these centers and he will continue to be at work after I leave.
As I look forward to the beginning of my work at the Joy Mission Center I can't help myself but get excited to know of all the great things that God will continue to do here and I can't help but remind myself how blessed I am that I get to see God work in the lives of all involved, missionaries included!
There are a total of 19 young adults that are on the 2013 Summer Missionary intern team and I am grateful of that I get the opportunity to walk alongside them and serve our great God.
I ask of you, as you are sitting at the screen reading this or as you live your life these next two months if Houston comes to your mind, pray. Pray for Mission Centers of Houston, the mission team here (summer and long term), the people that come into the centers, and the people that pass by our doors. Please pray for God to continue his great work in this city because greater things are yet to come and because God has mighty plans in store for this community.
By Katie Carl, elementary education major at Howard Payne University. She is serving in Houston this summer through Go Now Missions. This post originally appeared on her blog The Beauty of it All where you can follow her journey this summer.
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