Bridge Over Baker
My wife and I live across the street from another country. At least it’s seemed like that to us. Several times through the years, we’ve looked out from our yard, across Baker St., to the densely populated Latino apartment complexes full of life, color, music, laughter, and wonderful cooking, and wondered what it would take to make friends with these neighbors. I wished I could build the “Bridge Over Baker” – it seemed like a mile away. Our kids all went to the same school, but we’d only had brief conversations. Finally, one day, while dropping off our daughter for a birthday party, we were invited to stay for a bit…and we did…all day! We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our hosts, by the lively discussions, the soccer game on TV, and of course, the amazing food. Our friendships deepened, and God has brought us together now with many of the families on Baker St. in miraculous ways. Less than a year later, and I was the one climbing onto a garage roof and holding one end of a piñata string!
Through Rockharbor’s partnership and First Fruits, we’ve been able to provide groceries in tough times for our neighbors, or cover a rent payment or a medical bill, but most importantly we’ve had the chance to sit down, hang out, sing karaoke, develop bonding relationships, and have our hearts stretched for others. As I’m struggling to learn Spanish, many of our neighbors are still struggling with English, and the idea came up in our Lifegroup to host a night called “Share Your English”. We thought rather than have it be classroom oriented, we’d have it at our house with food, conversation, and games for kids – trying a bit to return the extravagant hospitality we’ve recieved. It was a hit! With the partnership of three other churches now, Share Your English happens once a week at various homes and locations. MIKA Community Development interviewed one of our students recently, and here’s an excerpt:
“Beyond the language learning, Elvia went on to share about the hospitality of her Share Your English host. ‘She welcomes my children and I into her home as if we were her family. My kids feel so happy there and are proud to be participating with the other children. If I miss class, I feel like something is missing from my week.’ When we first met, Elvia shared with me that she and her family did not know anyone in their neighborhood. ‘We saw them, but we didn’t know them. We did not have anyone to help us.’ Now as Elvia was winding down she told me, ‘All that has happened on Baker St. has given me new life. I feel good and important being a leader. I feel proud of my community.'”
Watching God bring this vision to reality has been so powerful in our lives. Watching His Kingdom crash into our little corner of the world has truly been a life changer. I can’t read Elvia’s words without getting choked up. I’m so thankful to God for inviting us into this journey!