When we began Jordan Outreach Ministries in 1997, our desire was to reach the poor in our community by bringing them to our campus and helping meet their spiritual, physical, educational, emotional and recreational needs. For 19 years we have continued to do that faithfully, however, as we shared with you late last year, we have been striving to step out of our “four walls” more often and spend time ministering in the neighboring communities around us. We hosted our Thanksgiving Feast and Christmas For Kids events in Oasis this past winter, and it was a great blessing for all those involved, but we have desired to do even more outreach on a more frequent basis also.
Recently, Pastor Rob has been spending more of his time in the trailer park communities of Thermal. For years, he has entered many of these parks to advertise Kids Klub and, although dozens of kids have taken him up on the offer and really benefited from attending, many families have kept their distance because they don’t know who we are or what we’re really about. Our efforts have also been challenged by the fact that many of these impoverished families rotate in and out of these communities due to their seasonal agricultural jobs, so we’re always finding new families who haven’t heard of Jordan Outreach Ministries or our Kids Klub ministry.
Over the past month, Pastor Rob has been visiting these trailer parks each week with grocery bags filled with canned goods, dry goods, bread, vegetables, and a Jordan Outreach Ministries brochure which lists all our services to impoverished children and families. Whether he stops at a mobile home park, a bus stop with waiting moms, or a field where men and women are taking a break from picking produce, Pastor Rob has been greeted warmly by the local people and asked for more information.
One of the other communities in Oasis, which we have visited for eight years, has a large patch of grass as their “park” but there are no goals in place for the kids to play soccer. As a surprise, Pastor Rob loaded up our large soccer goals in the box truck, which barely fit, and transported them to their grass park. As soon as the local kids got off the bus and noticed the goals, they went crazy! He met a lot of new kids that day who excitedly asked for permission slips to attend Kids Klub. He plans to bring the soccer goals each week (while the weather permits) in order to continue building relationships with the local families and to share the love of Jesus with them.
Finally, Pastor Rob has been spending time on the school campus near their community once a week as well. Because the school is a little shorthanded and the kids are a little tough to handle, they really appreciate his help. The first week Pastor Rob went on campus, one sixth grade boy named Alex (who is known as a troublemaker) came right up to him saying vulgar words that cannot be repeated in this newsletter. Pastor Rob figured he was testing the “new guy” and tried to find a kind way to react to the obviously inappropriate behavior that would have normally sent him to the office or home. Instead of taking the bait, Pastor Rob baited Alex with an abundance of patience and options to change the behavior. In response, Alex “blew him off.” When he was on campus the following week, Alex approached him again with the same vulgarity, but seeing that Pastor Rob would only react in a caring, Christ-like fashion, Alex changed his tune and asked if he would help him get a ball out of a tree. After obliging him, Alex responded with a smile and asked him, “Would you like to play football with me?”
We understand Rome wasn’t built in a day and that it takes time for God’s love to penetrate hurting and hardened hearts, but we are committed to doing all we can to see lives changed by the power and love of Jesus. God bless you and yours this month!