Written by Ben Polhemus
Almost all of my friends, associates, and people I come in contact with are middle class Americans. I may know a few in the upper class, and I know a few minorities. The only time I intentionally associate with lower income people is in intentional "ministry." I have visited some in prisons, missions trips, and acts of charity.
I have begun to realize that there is a lot that I don't understand about what it looks like to live in this environment. I don't understand what it feels like to have a car that doesn't run and then when it dies, to not have the money to fix it. I don't understand what it is to have a felony on my record. I don't understand not having insurance to get proper health care. I don't understand living in a place where there are sex offenders living around you. I don't understand having clothes that are not clean.
Working at a resale shop began to open my eyes to this world. These stories are very common to the people I see there. They are foreign to us, in the middle class of America, to some extent.
Even in the economic hard times we still have so much more and the possibility to bring our lives out of this pit. Begin to think of your spheres of influence and your support system, what if that was taken away? What if your support system was in the same boat? What if they were also living in a trailer, with a felony, without any chance of a job?
When I talk about faith, and think of trusting in God I realize most of my requests are about my personal fulfillment and joy. I realize that I don't need much faith. I don't need to worry about survival. I don't worry that much about being taken care of. Middle class Americans are in the vast minority in this issue. Why do we read books on faith written by people coming from the same financial and social circles as us? Why don't we read from those who absolutely have to rely on God every day of their lives in order to survive?
Recently, I was thinking through some of this and thought about the trailer park across the road from my house. This really started weeks ago while reading a book and the thought came into my head to go and pray for the people of this neighborhood. A friend and I went through it with the goal of asking people there if they needed prayer. I had never been in this neighborhood nor did I know anyone who lived there. I did not know the outcome but it was something I felt I should do.
After going and meeting a man there and then sharing the story to a few others who gathered in a local coffee shop, more people felt that maybe they should go to this neighborhood also. After talking with the maintenance man we realized that there was help that we could do. This is our side of the unfolding story.