This last week I had the distinct privilege of spending a couple days with some amazing people. In the heart of Brooklyn N.Y. is METRO ministries headed up by Pastor Bill Wilson. They exist to serve the most at risk children in the five boroughs of New York City. I rode on one of the buses that’s dispatched to get the kids. As I rode the first thing I was struck by the poverty.the feelings where reminiscent of those I experienced in the barrios of the Dominican Republic or the slums of Mexico. Having kids of my own a deep empathy welled up in me at what I saw. These kids have nothing it seemed.
How will they make it? How will they rise from the nothingness they’re surrounded by?
Even as I was contemplating that question I began to see the answer. The two assistants that rode along got off every time the bus stopped to greet the kids and hug the mothers. It was ALWAYS moms, not one dad, which is almost always the case in these neighborhoods. Once every seat was jammed with 3 kids I began to see what all this was for. The assistant, a big high school kid, began to lead the kids in song… “God is a big God oh yes he is. He will pick you up, he will turn you around, he will place your feet on solid ground”. The kids sang so loud it left my ears ringing and my minds eye seeing how something can rise from nothing.
We where on one of the last buses to arrive and fill an auditorium filled with about a 900 other kids. The amazing team was the kids the lessons of the week entitled, “storms will surely come”. Instead of the normal storm that you’d hear taught to this age group i heard them say things like, “maybe your dad went to jail this week and you don’t know when you’ll ever see him again” and “you mom may be on drugs” and “maybe you got an eviction notice and you’ve been forced to live on the street”. I looked around to see little kids beginning to cry. I realized that these illustrations where are all too real. This is a world that few of us are exposed to but one that Pastor Bill Wilson has chosen to surround himself in and live for.
It’s easy to misunderstand Pastor Wilson. He’s rough and to the point with the look in his eye like that of a prize fighter. Ones that’s battled but hasn’t been beaten. He reminded me of Jesus how he seems to draw the children and frighten the timid and religious. He don’t mince words and he lives will intentionality. That intention is clear to be a voice that bring hope. Its easy to look at these kids and say they’re hopeless but he clears that up in short order. He says, “These kids aren’t hopeless, they just don’t have hope”. He, and the team at metro ministries have made it their mission to bring that hope, the hope of Christ, in a place that others say, “nothing will come of these kids”.
Metro Ministries proves that ex nihilo(from nothing), something beautiful can come.
Matthew 19:14 (NIV) Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
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