As I enter my second month of work at PitCare I am finding no shortage of things to work on! My initial tasks are getting the vision of the ministry solidified and the work of the ministry organized, building on the foundation that has been laid by the Agates and Owens over the last three years. Some of the things I am currently working on include:
- Acquiring houses for our two year Life Skills Program. Part of our program includes providing safe, affordable housing for families while they are in our program and providing them with the opportunity to purchase their own home when they complete it. Currently, we have one occupied home, we are preparing to close on another and are looking at a third potential house. Since most of the rehab work will be done by volunteers, we need to be able to purchase houses well ahead of the date they are needed.
- Building relationships/partnerships with other organizations doing similar work. I have been blessed to be warmly welcomed to the community by individuals and organizations that have the same heart for the community that we do. We are looking for ways that we can combine our efforts for a greater impact on the community.
- Looking for ways to do small things that can help the community and its residents…including participating in the Clean-up Day this Saturday, and working out the details of providing transportation for people to a nearby grocery store and Dollar Store.
Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to move forward in our work. Specific prayer needs include:
- Pray that the Lord would continue to provide funds for the purchase of new homes. Each home costs approximately $30,000 to 35,000 to purchase and rehab. If you would be willing to purchase a home for us, contribute toward the purchase or rehab of a home, or would consider underwriting a loan to purchase a home, please let me know.
- Pray that God would raise up people with the skills and gifts we need to volunteer and/or partner with us in our work.
- Pray for my family, particularly our girls, as they adjust from moving from Georgia to Pitcairn.
After a month, the move-in process is pretty much completed and our house and Pitcairn are beginning to feel like home! Thus far, my primary task as the Executive Director of PitCare has been getting to know the community and the people in it. This is a process that will take years, but I feel like I am off to a good start.
It is important to know the community well because PitCare is not here to solve the problems of the community. Deeply rooted community issues can only be effectively addressed by solutions that come from and are implemented by people in the community. That is why we live in and have bought homes in Pitcairn. We have committed ourselves to being a part of the community…not coming in to dictate answers and solutions, but to be a part of a community that works together to deal with economic, social and racial issues. So we view our role as being a resource for the community to use as it moves forward.
Those of you who are (like us) followers of Jesus, know that this is not a novel or fringe aspect of the heart and work of God, but vitally central to it. You cannot follow Jesus without being concerned for the wellbeing of people; particularly the poor, disenfranchised and helpless. Those are the people Jesus lived and ministered amongst, and continues to love today.
But it is also clear that Jesus does not call everyone to move to an impoverished community. However I would suggest that there are two things that God does call everyone to do: 1) Live out and share the gospel in the community that you do live in, and 2) Use your God given resources to support those who have been called to serve in difficult places. You can do the second in a number of ways. You can volunteer your time. PitCare has a number of ways you can help, including working at the Food Pantry, helping to rehab houses, cooking for our Boy’s Dinner, being an ally in our Faith and Finances classes, serving as a personal mentor, etc. You can also help financially. We are trusting God to do some marvelous things on a shoestring budget! We are currently in the process of purchasing our second home that was made available to us because a family heard about our program and wanted their home to be used for our Life Skills Program. We are in the process of seeking funds to rehab the house, and are actively seeking to purchase and rehab a third. We are generally able to purchase homes at a low cost, but even that is beyond what God has currently provided us. If you would be willing to give, even if it is a small amount, please go to our giving page and make a donation. If you have questions about specific needs or gifts, please contact me at (412) 444-8506. I would love to talk to you! Finally, even if you have no time or money, please pray! We will accomplish nothing lasting if God is not the one guiding, providing and empowering.
If you are currently not doing anything to help “the least of these”, consider partnering with us in this vital work.
I am excited to be writing my first post as the Executive Director of PitCare! I am not going to suggest that this transition has been easy. There was a fair amount of angst as we went through a two year process of trying to discern God’s call on our lives. However, through much prayer and seeking the advice of wise and trusted advisors, we became convinced that God was calling us away from pastoral ministry to devote our lives to people that have traditionally been ignored by the church…the poor and disenfranchised. In time, that focus was narrowed, and several months ago we announced our intention to resign my pastorate and become the Executive Director of PitCare.
There are a number of things that have drawn me to this work. First is the need. Pitcairn is a community that has seen rapid, significant demographic change in which a large percentage of the community is now poor people who have no ownership in the community or ability to change their life situation. Jesus made it abundantly clear that these are the kinds of people that he came to love, serve and save…those who are poor, helpless and hopeless. The more I have surrendered my life to follow Jesus, the more compelled I am to follow him to the places he would have gone. Pitcairn exemplifies that kind of place.
There is also no question that friendship has also played a critical role in our decision. Two couples who are very dear to us, the Owens and Agates, had already made a commitment to live and serve in Pitcairn. To be able to come to a place where we would not be alone and where the work was already started was huge for us, and only adds to our joy in serving here.
The task before us is overwhelming…and that is a good thing. The moment we think we have this situation in hand is the moment we will fail because then the work becomes about us and not God’s mercy and grace. It is only in loving and trusting him completely that we will find fruitful ministry. Nor do we work out of some delusion that we can do this alone. We desperately need your prayers, time and giving if we are going to be effective. So pray and ask God how you might get involved in supporting this work.
PitCare’s purpose is to help break the chains of generational poverty, strengthen families, and bring hope for the next generation, through education, job training, counseling, and Spiritual guidance.
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27