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Yesterday I received a call from one of our partners, Olive Branch Community Church in El Cerrito, a small community of Corona. I was informed that 3 families who used to attend the school were experiencing a huge loss: 3 teenage boys were forced off the road and killed by an angry driver. I was asked if I could help. Of course, I said I would.

These types of crimes are so common place today. People who are constantly being victimized at the hands of others who are totally out of control. Our children are under attack and are literally dying in the streets, families are broken and hurting, grieving their many losses, and are in need of emotional support.

We live in an ever increasing world of isolation. We don't see what is going on around us, we don't engage, and we are losing the battle that is raging inside our neighborhoods because of our voluntary ignorance. The government isn't there to help us, churches don't know how to help, and neighbors don't know who is living next door to them. Our towns are falling apart one life at a time and we don't even know it.

I recently fell in love with Home Town a home restoration show. There are other shows I love also, but Erin and Ben Napier's goal is to restore the town of Laurel, Mississippi to a place of beauty, one house at a time. The way Ben walks into these old homes and repurposes dirty, nasty, and damaged pieces of wood to make beautiful pieces of art is amazing. They inspire as well as encourage each other and their team as they transform something that was inhabitable to something to be admired.

Why can't WE do that in our town? I don't mean repurpose houses, but repurpose hearts. What if everyone walked next door and introduced themselves to their neighbors? What would happen if entire blocks of neighborhoods became united and supported each other? What if we opened our eyes to our surroundings and actually SAW what was going on in our own front yards? What would happen if neighborhoods grew into cities of connection? We would discover and eradicate the termites lurking below the surface of our existence. We would notice the stench of hate, and we would feel the shattered windows of our souls. We would be able to hear the weakened heartbeat of our streets and we could repurpose lives, rebuild neighborhoods, and restore our towns to a place of beauty.

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,

just as in fact you are doing."

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)


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