I haven't really talked about the move to Sunnyside very much on this blog. For those of you just tuning into my blog, read here for some background on the big move..in a nut shell: We got the call from God to move to a small town where my husband became lead pastor for a church of about 40 people.
To tell you the truth, I haven't wanted to really talk about it because I just didn't know how to talk about it. This has been the hardest thing my husband and I have ever done. In the top of the lists are a miscarriage, a tubal pregnancy, deaths in the family...just to give you a few of the top hardest things we've ever done...and this has been THE hardest.
Sunnyside is a small town on the East side of Washington state. We live in a valley that's pretty dry. Here's a good picture:
There are no trees - just farmland. And unless you have a farm or a yard to water, it's a dry and barren land.
That's not the downside of Sunnyside though. In the last year, weapons crime has gone up 500%, that's not a type-o, five hundred percent. We have a serious gang problem...or to put it better...we have a serious SATAN problem.
This showed up in our backyard a few months ago:
That's a 9mm bullet. And it doesn't belong to a hunting gun...it belongs to a gun designed to be a weapon. And it was in our backyard. Satan is running this town. The funny part is that God called my husband and I here to help run Satan out. At first we thought He got the paperwork mixed up. My husband and I have never known gang problems before...so why would He want US here?
Since being in Sunnyside I've noticed not just the dry land or the gang problems but I've noticed a quiet town; a community that's become complacent. I have found that if organizations, government and the church attempt any sort of solution, they certainly aren't working together to fix the problem. The hands and feet have been cut off and those who still have a foot don't work with the those who still have their hands. It's like this:
My prayer has been for God to A: reveal his purpose for us and B: break my heart for this town. Well, yesterday that happened.
Wednesday night my husband and I were sitting in the living room spending some time together and we heard sirens go by. The brief thought had crossed my mind that it could have been a drive-by shooting but I told myself that there must have been an accident on the freeway. We woke up the next morning to a Twitter feed reporting a 17-year old girl was shot point-blank in the head by gang members. 4 gang members got out of their SUV, put on blue bandana's, and knocked on her door. Her mother was standing right behind her as she opened the door and just like that, they shot the girl in the head. You can read more about it here.
This girl was mixed up in the gangs, however, Sunnyside's Promise (a non-profit that works with people to keep them/get them out of gang's) had been working with her and I believe she was no longer affiliated with the gangs. However her brothers were and once a gang house...always a gang house.
My fear the night before had been true - the sirens were due to gang violence. It hit me that I now live in a town where, if I hear a siren, more than likely it's due to gang violence than an accident on the freeway.
I jumped in the shower and as I contemplated everything I started to cry. I cried to God, "Why would you send us here when we are not equipped to do a job of this magnitude. Cam and I have never had any experience with gang violence...really any violence of any kind... why would you ever send us here." After 6 months of waiting, and a broken heart, he finally answered me. He said, "I have sent you here because you and Cam have the ability to bring people together. You have the ability to inspire people be the hands AND feet." This overwhelmed me because I certainly didn't think that of myself. My husband, of course, but not me.
I got out of the shower and got dressed. As I looked at myself in the mirror this song came on:
Please watch the youtube video of this song if you haven't already heard it. It's amazing.
It's called "By the Power of Your Name" by Lincoln Brewster. Also, a little background...after the beginning solo a beat starts right after the piano comes in...the beat is Lincoln's son's unborn heart beat and the piano is his grandmother playing.
I had never heard this song up until that point and I have the Christian radio station going 24 hours a day in my son's room. God was waiting for me to hear this song until I was broken enough for it to effect me, motivate me, inspire me to do HIS will.
We have been called here. There's no doubt about it.
Satan is going to do everything in his power to fight the light; to keep it nice and dark in this town. I have never felt his power so much in my entire life. But God's power is greater. And we will be the hands and feet by the power of His name.