Traditionally at Easter, during our church services and celebrations of the day, we have baptisms. It’s the kind of baptism where people bring testimony to their changed life, written down, and come prepared to go under the water in identification with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. It’s always a joyful part of our day. We remember the testimonies we hear that morning for weeks, and in some cases for years. Easter brings out the longing and opportunity we have as people to proclaim that God is Big, that God is Able, that God is rescuer, redeemer and deliverer.
Easter leads out with the power of testimony, something we want to practice all year long. These firsthand encounters with the Spirit of the Living God, locate the story-teller, the one bringing testimony, with help, with presence and with peace. Something they testify to.
In celebration of Easter, here are some testimonials from Neighborhood that remind us that our Savior lives:
We are privileged to be the first landing place in the U.S. for hundreds of unaccompanied minor children; children fleeing famine, poverty, violence and tortuous conditions from their home country.
One child we remember vividly. She was almost nine years old but weighed only 25 lbs. She was wheelchair bound suffering from cerebral palsy. The care she had access to in El Salvador, in her poverty, wasn’t capable of helping this child thrive. Somehow her grandmother found the resources to walk, ride, struggle, making it to the border. Though the child was accepted under humanitarian terms, the grandmother was detained in ICE custody.
The little girl’s mother lived in Tennessee. We were given the task, by the federal government, to supervise this precious child’s wellness plan in the hospital. After months, and many hours of staff intervention on our part, as well as superior medical treatment at the hospital, the child improved, and was well enough to make the long trip to be with her mom.
This past year, through our work-force department, “Neighbors at Work”, close to 600 people and over 200 young adults got help with jobs or advancing in their field of employment. The wrap around services and attention each one gets, allows them to say with confidence that these interventions gave them the next steps in life. When you have a job, you can believe in your future again. Or, in the case of someone I know personally, if you finally pass your licensing test, you are able to get your first job as an RN. NAW helped with this young nurse’s process.
Almost 10 years ago, we became the convening group for our neighborhood, to help direct the way in which the light rail will come into our community; coming down right in front of the south end of our property on Van Buren. Today, the process has begun, in full swing. We are meeting with potential partners to scale up the way in which we will bring the community voice to the table. On our team are three key community leaders, all of whom grew up at Neighborhood.
The word is out. We are humbly receiving lots of groups who see Neighborhood as a model they’d like to learn from and replicate. Many are from this city, others come from far and wide. A particular example is this: we are hosting a weeklong university course next Fall, anticipating students from Africa, Asia and the States. It is called an Urban Immersion.
Testimony: CHANGED LIVES
Testimonial stories abound from our work. We have begun cataloging these and posting them on our web page. We fondly call them “40 Stories.” We began the process of capturing these testimonials last year, as we celebrated our 40th anniversary. Check them out: https://nmphx.com/Blogs/40-stories/
I love giving testimony to all God has done. When we do that, when we testify to the good we have received, we are not only acknowledging that all of this comes from God but we are gifting hope to others through our witness. In effect, we are saying, God is Big, God is Able, God is rescuer, redeemer and deliverer. Trust Him.
We couldn’t do this work without you. Would you prayerfully consider giving an Easter gift, regardless of size, so that we have more testimonies to share?
We tell others about your faithful support. We testify to your role in seeing this community experience the hands and feet of Jesus through your gifts.
Thank you, dear friends, so much. God bless you!
P.S. Don’t forget that every gift that changes lives here at Neighborhood Ministries also qualifies for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit. Those filing singly can receive a credit of up to $400. Joint filers can receive up to $800. See the enclosed insert for more information. Happy Easter!