Year-End Letter: Making Room

By Donny Irving

chance and baby.jpg

I’ve never been one to lock doors. Many know how God led me to the ministry in the first place: Kids trespassed in my backyard to play basketball and instead of kicking them out, I joined them -- and then began a Bible study. Since then, God has continued to lead me down the path of surrendering more to Him.

As Community Kids prepares to launch as an official 501(c)3 nonprofit on January 1, 2019, we are continuing to seek how God is calling us to surrender what we have to Him.

Recently, instead of just giving up my backyard, I was debating whether I should give up my house to a family on the brink of homelessness:

Finding room for a family

This mother and her two daughters are like family to me. As their eviction approached, I spent time helping them search for housing, like any family member would. But we were out of luck; currently in Grand Rapids there’s a lack of available housing. We were told “there’s no room” over and over -- just like Jesus’ parents, who needed a place to stay in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago.

The night before the family’s would-be eviction, I prepared to move to a friend’s couch, but found myself calling one last option: A couple in my church community who had emailed and said they had room to rent in their home.

We met with them that evening and, thinking they had a couple of weeks to prepare, the couple asked, “When do you need the room ready by?”

I paused for a second and said, “Tonight!” At 10 p.m. that night, the family, accompanied by a group of stalwart volunteers, moved into their new home.

Would you make room for Jesus?

When Mary and Joseph finally did find room, it wasn’t even in a home. Jesus gave up heaven for a stable. Though he was the King of Kings, no one had room for him. This continued during Jesus’ ministry: He said, "’Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’" He chose this life so that he could teach and save us.

If you lived 2,000 years ago, would you have room for Him? In the present day, do you have room? We walk past Jesus every day. The beggar on the street, the kid without a home and the kid who tresspasses and steals. Instead of making room, we walk by them. Would you be willing to give up your home? Your car? Your yard? Your time?

Making room at Community Kids.

At Community Kids, we strive to be available, proactive and responsive to the needs of kids. Our goal is to build long-term, life-changing, worldview-expanding, Christ-led relationships with kids in our community.

In a recent survey, we learned 40 kids at our Bible Club want a mentor. In 2019, we are trying to create spaces for these deeper relationships to form. We are launching key projects to contribute to this -- hiring a mentoring coordinator, buying a minibus for mentoring trips and renovating a mentoring center (see projects, page 6).

You might not be called to make room for a homeless family, but I believe we are all called to make some sort of room -- even when it’s inconvenient. I’d like to encourage you to pray about how you can make room in your life -- however that looks -- this coming year.

Juliana Ludema