After six months of startup, Pete Brokopp, my boss has finally moved to town. We’ve been busy trying to get ready for our first teams to come to Atlanta so we can teach them what we know about missions in your own back yard. To make this happen we’ve been working on contracts for our facilities, renting apartments, our team is buying houses, getting internet set up. The list of administrative and seemingly busy work type things that need to be done goes on and on and sometimes it’s hard to keep our perspective.
The other day I was off running our window cleaning company and Pete was giving a tour to a prospective team. Pete had dropped off his kids at our sites apartment. Pete’s son, Sammy, set off to find the soccer field looking for a pickup game. His daughter, Charity, went in search of kids to love. Pete went about his work. The first call Pete received was from his daughter. “Can I go into these refugees’ house? Their kids invited me in?” Charity’s mission was one thing only, find people to show love to, and it gained her entry into a home.
The next phone call Pete received was from Sammy. “Dad we need band-aids.” Sammy had found the soccer field. Sammy had also found a boy with cuts all over his legs and had no intention of just letting that go. When Pete arrived later with the band-aids he watched and equally incredible thing take place. Sammy taught the boy how to put the antibiotic cream on his cut and how to use the band-aids and sent him on his way with supplies to change the band-aids later.
Both of Pete’s kids met incredibly practical needs on their own. We have identified friendship with an American as the felt need in Clarkston and Charity is on a mission to befriend every refugee child she finds. Friendship leads to opportunities to share Christ’s love. I need to learn from Charity how to befriend those I’m working among. Sammy set off with the goal of playing soccer and ended up with an opportunity to help someone who didn’t have the resources they needed. I need to learn from Sammy to be ready for my agenda to be changed.
My story doesn’t end with lessons to learn, it ends with an opportunity. Pete, Dan (our church planting team leader) and I ended up in the apartment managers office. He described to us the black mold that grows in many refugees apartments. “They don’t clean it, they don’t know how bad for you it is.” We quickly asked if we could hold classes for adults teaching how to clean and prevent mold. What a simple way to meet a need in our community. We realized there are more opportunities in Clarkston than we knew, and it took two missionary kids to show the missionaries to open their eyes.
Brian and his wife Anna serve in the metro Atlanta area, home to people from more than 761 different people groups. They work with refugees and urban poor with Envision Atlanta. Brian has helped Envision Atlanta start two businesses, a window cleaning company, and a mobile thrift store. One of the goals of each business is to provide job training and livable wages to its workers. Brian and Anna are required to raise their own support to pay their salary. You can give here. Search for Brian and Anna Baldwin where it says, “type name of worker or project”. Envision is part of the Christian and Missionary Alliance and your gifts are all tax deductible. Every gift is valuable for advancing the work being done. You can also sign up for Brian and Anna’s newsletter here (outside link FYI).