A group from Salem College is here for a spring break trip with GUPY, and our first night we studied Jeremiah 29, which is God’s word to the Israelites to settle down in Babylon because they were going to be there a while. One of the ways God tells them to settle is by building houses, and we talked about the difference between being an owner and being a renter. An owner is invested; an owner stays; an owner is in it for the long haul. A renter can cut and run with little loss; a renter just sees their home as a place to live. In relocation, it is important to have the mindset of owners or else difficulties will cause us to leave.
The students and their IV staff are staying in an old church in our neighborhood, and like many old churches it has banging pipes when the heat comes on and lots of other quirky noises. Thus these six women only slept about three hours the first night because they kept being alarmed by the creepiness of the church. The next day they were asked if they wanted to sleep at a house in the country, which is being prepared to be a recovery home for women who are addicted and on the street. This option could fit with the GUPY vision (due to the mission of the house), and they could have easily decided to sleep there, staying on nice beds instead of aluminum cots.
But they came back to me and said, “We want to be owners this week, not renters, and so we are going to stay in the church.”
THAT is an application from a Bible study, and it is one of the high points of my urban ministry experience with students thus far.