Saturday, March 15, 2008

Common Ground Weekly Update

This is the latest update the Bryan sent out about the ministry, for those of you who don't get the e-mail updates.  

Vision trip to Chattanooga …


               This past weekend we took a vision trip to Chattanooga , Tennessee . We had the opportunity to visit an exciting multicultural church and an established ministry that had been doing the same type of work (for over 30 years now!) that we are trying to do.  It was an eye-opening experience for me and for Kevin. But, it was a very important trip for two of the teenagers from our neighborhood that came along also. One of them had never stayed in a hotel room before… and really hadn’t ventured out of Montgomery . For them to be able to see a Church where whites, blacks, and Latinos lived, loved, and ministered together was a very positive thing. They were able to drive around the ghetto’s and stressed neighborhoods of Chattanooga and to hear the different types of transformation ministry outreaches that were taking place there. We were well loved on and taken care of by dear brothers and sisters there. We also had a whole lot of fun! We laughed and dreamed together. We went up on a mountain, went to a movie, toured the city and enjoyed our time away together. The trip went a long way for our relationship with these young men. Please continue to pray for these and other young men that God has brought into our lives. Please pray that the Lord would raise up these and other young men and women as leaders in our community.


Volunteers needed for academic and arts enrichment!...


               Would you consider coming over to our neighborhood one or twice a week to tutor kids and/or provide some sort of arts enrichment experience? We have recently secured access to some space at a neighborhood community center for a tutoring and arts program. We would love for our kids to have the opportunity to become familiar with various arts experiences as well as get homework help, remedial help, and also some pre-school reading development. We will include bible study as well. We are in the process of developing an enrichment program that helps us serve our kids in a very meaningful and developmental way.  If you have any creative ideas in the arts arenas, or if you are interesting in volunteer tutoring, please contact Kevin King (657-7049).


Neighborhood Statistics


Kevin King has been investigating our neighborhood in order to help us understand how we can pursue the transformation necessary to build a healthy community. We have begun by looking at the 8 blocks surrounding our homes. Here are some interesting statistics.  In those 8 blocks there are 183 properties. 46 properties or 38% of all the properties in those 8 blocks are empty lots or vacant or condemned houses. Around half of houses that are occupied are occupied by the owner and the others are rentals. Many of those rentals are in very poor condition. These 8 blocks may very well be the most in tact eight blocks in the neighborhood. In other words, the blocks surrounding these are in worse condition. On some of those streets, 1 in 2 properties are empty or condemned. We are praying about creating some type of sub ministry of CGM that will look to purchase many of those empty lots and vacant houses. We would love to be able to build and remodel homes. Our goal would be to provide a good housing stock to see our neighborhood repopulated by in tact families again. We believe that we need three things to happen. First, we would love some of YOU to consider if the Lord might be leading you to come live in community with us. Second, we would love to be able to provide some home ownership opportunities for current renters. Third, we want to create the kind of community that our young emerging leaders will want to stay in and raise their families in one day. As marriages are formed (and as they become the rule and not the exception again!) we want to see our culture transformed as Christian families begin to have a powerful influence over the current strongholds of our neighborhood.  Please pray for us as we seek the Lord’s will on how we might best do Christian Neighborhood community development.

An opportunity from the Lord


               This past week two young teenage girls in our neighborhood had miscarriages. Teenage pregnancy is the norm in our community. Both of the girls have been in our home on different occasions. They have also been in our home since losing their babies. Below are some of Nicole King’s (Our Executive Director’s wife) thoughts concerning her experience with one of the girls last week (taken from her blog:


. . . . . . “My LORD!!!!! And what a providentially hindered day it has been. I would have never thought when I awoke this morning that Delta and I would be sitting in the hall way of her home waiting for an ambulance to pick up an 16 yr old whom we believe had a miscarriage in her bathroom. Earlier today, Delta and I were hanging out at a neighbor’s house that lives a couple of doors down from me. We said our good-byes and decided to return to her house to see the guys off. As we approached her home her husband tells her that there are two girls inside from across the street. We go in and meet girl #1. Girl #2 is in D's bathroom. As we sat there, we were engaged into some fun conversation with the young girl about who she is, what school she attends, and were they live. We found out that the girl in the bathroom has an uncle who lives across the street from the Kelly’s. The two girls arrived at the uncle’s house to find themselves locked out. Girl#1’s stomach begins to cramp so they decided to walk over to the Kelly’s to use their bathroom. After 20 min or so the girl is still in the bath room so Delta (WHOM I MUST SAY HANDLED THIS SITUATION LIKE....A PRO …SHE DID ALOT OF COMMUNICATING WITH THIS GIRL) begins to talk to her from outside of the door. We found out that she was bleeding heavily and that there was a possibility that she might be pregnant. We do all we can to keep her calm and relaxed: we began to pray over her, give her towels to bathe with and just offer a little bit of humor to take the edge off of the "what if" situation. As we helped the young lady to get into the shower we hear a knock at the door. She tells us from inside the bathroom that the pain is getting worse and that something is wrong... All I hear next is a loud fall and I look up into Delta face to hear her say..." um, ok, sweetie you may want to dial 911"..... the girl had fallen out due to the amount of blood she had lost.

The night ends with Delta and I at the hospital with her mom, grandmother, sister and two friends. We sat in that emergency room for about 5 hours. Still no word on whether or not she was pregnant, still pregnant, or if she had suffered a miscarriage. We returned to the Kelly’s to joyfully before the LORD clean up the blood that was left from earlier that day

All I can think about in my heart right now is "why LORD"? ..."why Delta’s house"? ...."Why were we involved"? "What are your plans with this family and us"????? "What is there to do after all of this"???

And then it was clear to me, it's all for the sake of the GOSPEL…this is what it is all about…This is why we(Kelly's and King's) were called to this neighborhood for such a time as this. We are to look at every circumstance, and take everyday as an opportunity to preach the GOSPEL through WORD AND DEED to those around us.
Before we left the hospital, we found out that this sweet girl's grandmother and sister will be moving in RIGHT across the street from the Kelly’s this month~~ This journey with them has just begun… what an introduction.

Would you please keep this young girl and her family in your prayers? While in the hospital as well as back at Delta’s house this younger girl made it clear that she didn’t want her mom to know that she might be pregnant ( it seems that the sister who is 18 now went through the SAME EXACT situation a while back and the mom did not take it well).” (Nicole King)


(The next night after Nicole wrote this post the same two girls came back over to the house. She had a miscarriage, and had to go through the sad and excruciating health procedure of surgery after the miscarriage. The girls came back by that night to hang out with Delta and Nicole. May God bless these new relationships!) 

We hope this gives you some things to think about and pray about on our behalf. Thank you for your love and encouragement.


Psalm 34:3,

Bryan Kelly

Common Ground Montgomery

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1 comment:

annieck said...

I always enjoy reading your blog and catching up with all you guys are doing. I admire you SO much. A couple of weeks ago, I was riding in the car with my husband, Channing, and telling him all about what you guys are doing in Montgomery. He and I are in awe of the way you are following God's leading.
You guys are such an inspiration, and I am so thankful that there are people in the world who truly love others and serve just as Christ did. Keep it up, guys. Our prayers are with you!!!