Many come to San Francisco to visit the glorious sights, the wonderful scenery, and even enjoy the cool Northern California breeze. There is always an unseen reality in the streets of even the most prestigious places. We were soon confronted with a challenge that would disrupt the way we would view traveling. Though the glamour was there in the city; the streets were flooded with the poor and many districts near the Bay were cast off by the city as “too dangerous”.
In the midst of a dark community it is a rarity to come across men and women of God that closely reflect those of the Bible, specifically the New Testament Church. Never have I met a man that closely emulates the heart of Jesus in a way that is simple yet deeply provoking. That beautiful Friday morning we would be partnering with Francis Chan and his ministry called “Project Bayview”. This crew would operate in what James would say:
“religion that our Father accepts as pure and faultless; taking care of the poor and keeping oneself pure from the world” (James 1:27).
We met at one of the four local house churches that he planted in the heart of the inner city San Francisco and we would soon be going to Tendergate to serve in a neighborhood that has been cast off by the city as a “homicide ridden” place. Before the day started, our s team joined with one of their leaders in a room above a restaurant that they owned, in which they employed the homeless off of the street that they reached out too. There was housing upstairs for the leaders and the homeless as they desired to disciple those off the streets and invest in them one by one bringing freedom from addiction, despair, and their past life.
The vision of the day was cast to our team as we were going to partner with the local food bank and serve this neighborhood with food and with prayer. After praying, we loaded up into two vans and drove into the neighborhood with peace leading our hearts and minds.
As we arrived, various people of the community greeted us, as this was routine for them to come to the food bank to receive their groceries. Many of us were assigned different roles in serving and a small company of us went door to door with the meals. It seems to be that in the hardest and darkest communities, the light of Jesus shines the brightest. With this in our hearts, we knew that we were in the middle of a gold mine for Jesus to showcase love to a community that the world already casted aside. Majority of our team was serving out of this house that held all the food and were able to encounter hearts with smiles and with joy. Whether a smile, or a prayer, hope was beginning to peak through a land marked by darkness.
There were four members on the team that went out into the community bringing food to specific houses. Delivering the food personally would become an onramp into conversation and would continually end with words of encouragement or prayer over individuals. Many of them could barely walk or even talk but yet we inherited the heart of Jesus for every individual, one person at a time. We realized how simple the Gospel was and how much Jesus moves, through one person at a time. His heart is for those down casted communities and those that no one else will go after.
There was nothing glamorous about it, there was no pulpit, no light shows, no crowds, but rather young hearts that burned for the Man that hung out with the prostitutes, the murderers, and the poor. We realized that it’s not about the glamour of being in front of people, but rather knowing the value of those who will perhaps never be known in the public eye, but that their lives matter to Him.
Our challenge is that, even in the midst of vacationing, to search for the richest treasures in the cities and give your two cents to bring hope to darkness.
That evening ended with us in the living room having community with Francis Chan’s wife learning about the true cost of giving to the poor. Surrounded by a community that has strategically planted their community and ministryin the poorest and most unwantedpoor communities in San Francisco, choosing toto give their two cents to those who would otherwise be overlooked and unwanted.