Rethinking Urban Ministry
The pandemic has inflicted suffering and loss on many but has also revealed the creativity, commitment, and determination of our students and graduates at The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI).
Jennifer Chou is a TUMI student who is on track to graduate this month. While a student and working full-time, she founded the urban ministry Jesus Knows My Name and the homeless ministry Church Without Walls on Skid Row. Now that public gatherings are forbidden, she has had to rethink her approach to ministry. Her work hours as an accountant have been cut, and she is working from home. She takes advantage of her flexible schedule by beginning her day with a prayer walk through the neighborhood where she rents a room from an elderly landlord.
“I listen to (worship) music as I walk,” she writes, “and some people open their windows and chat with me, and a few come out! I give my testimony and offer to pray for them. When cars drive by, I wave (and show) the peace and joy that God gave me.”
Reduced work hours have also given Jennifer time to reflect on God’s provision and leading in recent years. She re-reads letters from the woman chaplain who led her to Christ at the Los Angeles County jail, helped her complete a Bible study course, and took her to church after she was released.
Beyond reflecting on God’s goodness and what she has learned through ministry role models, Jennifer stays in touch with surplus food suppliers and delivers food to churches, ministries, and individuals in need. She sees all these ventures as opportunities to share Christ’s love by speaking words of encouragement, praying with people, and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus.
What new opportunities has God provided for you during this time? We are continually thankful for leaders like Jennifer who disciple others and share the Gospel especially when times are uncertain.