Ministry among Chicago shootings
Last week I wrote about one of our staff who has lived with a very real fear of being shot for more than 30 years. This past Sunday one of our Discerners in Chicago lived that reality.
Michael (Mikey), our Discerner [participant in a DOOR Network program], and his cousin, Anthony, were returning home from a night out. While at the bus stop, they noticed a car full of young adults slow down and look them. At first they were not too worried because the bus was approaching. The car quickly turned and circled back through the alley. Meanwhile, the bus was delayed at the stop light. As the car came by the second time, four shots rang out. Mikey dived behind the bus stop bench and the bullets barely missed him. Anthony wasn’t so fortunate. Three shots hit Anthony, one in the leg and two in the shoulder.
As I am writing this, Anthony is recovering from his second surgery. Initially the doctors and Mikey thought Anthony had been shot twice. There were two obvious entry points. Twenty-four hours later they found a third bullet in his shoulder.
Now Mikey and other family members are at the hospital with Anthony. For the first time in 48 hours, the prognosis is no longer life-threatening. There is just a whole lot of healing that needs to take place, both physical and emotional.
All of this is taking place in the middle of our Discover season. This week our Chicago program is hosting 57 participants from Indiana, Georgia and Oklahoma. DOOR hosts programs in five cities. We invite people to our cities to “See the Face of God in the City.” One of the reasons Mikey chose to work for DOOR this summer was his desire to show visitors another side of Chicago. He said, “I want to show people how Chicago really is, and that it is not a war zone. There are some people that want to help improve the city. I won’t stop teaching and telling the multiple stories of Chicago until people have a deeper understanding of our city!”
There is a part of me that doesn’t know what to do with these events. Why would God allow this to happen? The truth is, these kinds of tragedies are happening every day. Mikey knew this when he signed up for DOOR. Yet he wanted to and continues to want to show our participants another side, a more hopeful side, of Chicago where God is present.
This blog is dedicated to Mikey and all of our racialized and marginalized staff across the country. Their willingness to come to work every day and speak truth to power is a living testimony of the power of salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16):
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Please keep Mikey, Anthony, and their friends and family in your prayers. When we hired Mikey, one of the first questions his mother asked of us was, would he be safe? She recently lost her other son. Facing another death in the family would be more than she could handle.
Glenn Balzer is the executive director of the DOOR (Discovering Opportunities for Outreach and Reflection) Network and attends His Love Fellowship in Denver. He blogs at glennbalzer.com, where this post first appeared.
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