A beautiful work of God was done by Tricia, Michelle, and Courtney, who are part of the InterVarsity chapter at Johns Hopkins University-Baltimore, MD. They were given a commission from God to live out what they have learned through their Urban Projects Ministry in Philadelphia and Los Angeles which serves the poor from the urban by introducing Christianity and through a Bible Study that teaches about God’s commitment to justice.
Tricia, a senior who is studying History, says of her participation in the Philadelphia Urban Program, “One thing I’m realizing more is that urban ministry isn’t about lifting people out of the inner city, but instead being with people, doing incarnational ministry, and developing healthy communities. We should help the poor because it’s what God calls us to do; to be Christ and show his love. I think I’ve also learned more just about how to make prayer a larger part of my life. It’s cool to stop and pray throughout the day when I see a rainbow, a homeless person, or just when I see instances of God’s presence in the city.”
Michelle, a 2003 graduate who studied Public Health, was a Team Leader for the Los Angeles Urban Project and says of her experience, “Last summer, God solidified so much of the work he has done in me about caring about the things he cares about. The commandments ‘Love the Lord your God’ and ‘Love your neighbor’ have come alive with new meaning and application. It is true that all the Scriptures can be summed up with those two commands and that following Jesus is really all about those two things.
“For me personally, God showed me so many ways I have substituted those two commands with my own ‘love me first and make sure you’ll be ok.’ Specifically, God has made me reevaluate and rework my preference for comfort. I seldom deny myself of going out to eat, buying what I ‘need,’ or watching movies, but in doing so, I miss out on loving God and loving my neighbor. I unconsciously rely on things rather than God and have less money to love those neighbors who are poor.”
Courtney, a junior majoring in Political Science, took part in InterVarsity’s Bible study at Johns Hopkins University while interning at the Maryland State Department of Education. She shares what God has taught her about justice, “I didn’t expect this summer to challenge me spiritually. However, somewhere among the grant proposals and office work, God opened my eyes to the social injustices in education.
“I visited some city schools where only 50 or 60 percent of students eventually graduate. They lack support from parents and teachers, and adequate financial backing to achieve at the level of their peers in wealthier districts. As part of the internship, I worked on a paper examining the black male achievement gap, showing me how income and race can obstruct a quality education.
“At the same time I attended the Johns Hopkins Christian Fellowship’s summer Bible study that focused on God’s heart for justice as revealed in the Old Testament. God’s timing couldn’t have been better: I began to see clearly that the people I met at the city schools were exactly the type of people that God calls us to lift up.
“My experience was life-changing; I’m excited to see how God will cultivate this new passion for social justice in my own life and in our fellowship at Johns Hopkins