Practice what you preach. It's a message one family takes to heart in this Taking Back Our Neighborhoods report.
The "before" still pictures show what David and Amy Lancaster had to work with when they moved from their spacious home in Brandon to downtown Jackson 7 years ago. The dilapidated houses on Blair and Cohea Streets are now being transformed into livable homes; one of them their own home. Once overgrown lots are now bountiful gardens. David Lancaster is pastor of WEWILLGO Ministries. He admitted the reception to his family is not always pleasant.
Lancaster said, "'Cuz a lot of times when we have moved into a neighborhood that's predominately black, the initial thought is, well, you're coming in here to take over and to take this and to turn it into something different and what we've encourage people is that's really not our goal. Our goal is not to turn it into something, but build back what was already here."
"So, even in the really hard things; if we're robbed, which we are, or hard things that happen or difficult situations that happen, it's his loving kindness that draws us to repentance, so even people that hurt us and just even people that don't understand or even people that are hate-filled, response is always love. There's no greater thing than the love of Christ and that's what changes lives, so it's not easy but Jesus didn't say it would be easy, he said he wouldn't leave me." said Amy Lancaster. She is a missionary with the ministry and David's wife.
The Lancasters live here with their three children. Asked if there are ever times they felt like leaving for a safer area, Amy Lancaster said "no".
She said, "Safest place is in the center of God's will and this is what he asked us to do....and that's one of our prayers is that the Lord will change people's hearts about Jackson."
The Lancasters also say some of their friends and fellow Christians think they've lost their minds, but the fact that the ministry is bearing fruit even with some of the most hardened hearts in the neighborhood, is proof enough for them that they are doing the right thing.
David Lancaster said, "And so what we're seeing is we're seeing our city change one person at a time and one house at a time and one corner at a time and what we tell people a lot is that's how Jackson's gonna change is just one corner at a time."
You can learn more about wewillgo ministries by logging onto www.wewillgo.org.
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