Building into a life
September 2015 was the first month we showed up at the scene of Mrs. Betty's home in
FairPark Dallas. Prior to that I had visited Fair Park once before. I am a Texas transplant & you
guessed it, I was going to the Texas State Fair!
I had remembered my friends telling me what type of "area" Fair Park was. Clearly the air
quotes imply that it was a little rough around the edges.
On this day I just trusted that God knew what was happening. Prayers for safety filled my brain
but as I pulled up to the site on Metropolitan Ave there was a sense of peace around me.
This site was the same place that I learned to conquer many fears.
Fear number 1- Ladders.
Fear number 2- Falling off said ladder.
Yes fear 1 & 2 are very similar but it was a pretty big fear.
Then there was the fear of speaking my story. Would my story be good enough? Would I have
the right words to say? What would people think of me if I told them about my past? Or what
would they think of me if I shared Jesus with them?
I'm so thankful that God began to work in me. To show me just how to conquer these fears. To
bring them to the cross and to lay them down. For Jesus already knew how I would feel and he
went to the cross anyways. His love is what kept me going. His love helped me to overcome the
fear. His love. There was nothing else.
As the months over the last year play over my mind like a reel of film there is so much I want to
Yes, we did restore a house.
But it goes deeper than the new gray and yellow paint that mark Mrs. Betty's home.
It goes deeper than the new window screens that were custom built.
It goes deeper than the new siding to prevent critters from getting inside.
It goes deeper than the moldy dry wall we tore down and then the new drywall we put up.
It goes deeper than repairing the screened in porch that she likes to sit on and watch the
We didn't just build into a house here.
We built into a life. We built into Mrs. Betty's life.
We got to know her. We got to know her children and her grandchildren and her great
grandchildren. We each got to hear her story. To be an ear to her. To tell her about our love for
Jesus. At this house we built friendships with neighbors who passed by. We got to show people
that we were here for a purpose. That we are here to #RedeemDallas. And over the Spring
when Mrs. Betty got sick we were her prayer warriors. And with each passing month we grow
closer to her. We check in on her. We pray for her. We try to meet needs if they arise.
A year ago I witnessed a woman who didn't want to pray with us. Who stood from a distance as
we prayed over her life and we prayed for Fair Park. Today I see a woman who is willing to jump
in with us. I know that God is still working in her life and working on her heart. I love the way the
Lord works. He allows us to plant the seeds and then he waters them. He does this because he
loves his children hard.
This pass week after being at her home for a full year, we finished the last project we are going
to complete there. We pray that long term she will get a new home through a program that the
city of Dallas has. We have a team of people working on the legal side of it. We continue to pray
and to lean on Our Father to provide the avenues for this. Without him none of this would even
be an option.
As the project closed a few of us stood in her dining room and we prayed. The prayers that
came out of our mouths were so different from Day 1.
I remember when we were asking God to establish us in Fair Park.
When we were asking him for safety.
When we were asking him to let us be known.
On the last day we were thanking God because he's allowed us into so many homes and so
many lives here in Fair Park & the best part is that it's only the beginning.
It's just the start of the change that God is going to bring.
In Isaiah 30:18 it says "Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts
himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of Justice; blessed are all this who wait for
And wait we shall do; as we do one project at a time. As we touch one life at a time. As we
continue to show up each month in this neighborhood that was neglected because of its
socioeconomic status. Neglected because crime is high.
The real truth is it was neglected because we thought it was too big for us to handle.
It was neglected because we cloth ourselves in fear when we need to be clothing ourselves in
the armor of God. In Galatians 5:13-14, Paul writes to the Galatians & says "For you were called
to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through
love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor
Let me ask you this - When was the last time you loved your neighbor as yourself? I challenge
you to come to 2ndSaturday, to pick up a paint brush, a shovel or a drill. I challenge you to
come and see what it's all about. I challenge you to come see the way we are loving our
neighbors in West & South Dallas. I bet when you come God won't only be working through your
hands. I bet he will also be working on your heart as well.