I was on the bus to work the other morning and saw an elderly weather beaten Chinese gentleman struggle onto the bus with one big black bin liner full of plastic bottles and another white plastic bin liner full of cans both of which he would eventually sell for a small sum. His clothes and actions inferred life was tough. The bus started to move away from the kerb and as I watched from the back of the bus he came to the realization that he had left a small bag at the bus stop. He quickly shuffled off the bus and the bus closed its doors and started to move away from the stop. Several of us called out, but to his credit the driver was just pulling into a safer place on the road to wait patiently for him. Partially bent over the old man shuffled to the concrete bench collected his bag and made his way back onto the bus. He then settled onto a seat and tried to relax, but the event had taken quite a bit out of him. As I watched, I was reminded of what God said about what it would look like for the elderly when God visits a city “Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there.” and again “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’” or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
This encourages us with a picture of community and peace in the city. This peace is desperately needed at the moment especially for women, the old and the young in our cities who currently face many challenges and pressures.
A Community working together in and through the love of Christ is a key ingredient for supporting the weak, lost and marginalized. Pray and support Kevin and Oasis USA as they work with communities to bring the shalom of Christ. Currently Oasis USA is going through a transition as the executive director will be leaving. This will result in Kevin picking up and managing several additional responsibilities. Oasis USA’s global ministry is proceeding well and sharing the practical love of Christ in several places around the world. However, Oasis USA has the challenge that it needs to develop some immediate funding for the local ministry initiatives or it will need to considerable reevaluate the local work. To this end there are several funding events going on over the next few months and Kevin would appreciate your prayer that they would be well supported.
Over the years Oasis USA has helped many local communities and churches support those who are vulnerable or who have been victims of Human Trafficking.
The Oasis USA communities have been:
- Supporting victim reintegration through a community mentor program
- Training court appointed special advocates
- Partaking in a youth summer school program helping at risk youth prevent human trafficking happening to them and their friends.
- Mentoring and equipping young people in a local safe house with life skills.
- Providing emergency victim support resources to law enforcement and other rescue agencies
- Working with churches and various faith communities to develop holistic care for victims of human trafficking.
Kevin’s hope is that he will be able to help strengthen this work and further develop community based initiatives so as to have an even greater Kingdom impact. Oasis USA need prayers for wisdom and for adequate resources to meet the challenges facing the people they are working with.
The other day we went to a Middle Eastern restaurant that was run by a family who emigrated to the USA from Beirut , Lebanon. Once through the door we could be mistaken for thinking we were in Beirut. We must have been the only non-middle eastern family in the place. The atmosphere was great as was the staff and the food. It was not a surprise however as Los Angeles has many different ethnic groups. This is due, according to Professor Vyacheslav Ivanov of UCLA, there being at least 224 different major languages and nationalities in Los Angeles County. Some languages are spoken by millions of people, some by hundreds of thousands of people and some by tens of thousands of people.
Languages such as English, Spanish, Tagalog, Chinese, Korean, Armenian, Vietnamese, Persian, Japanese, Cantonese, Russian, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Mon-Khmer, Cambodian, German, Formosan, Thai, Italian, Hebrew, Hindi, Portuguese, Samoan, Gujarati, Hungarian, Indonesian, Urdu, Greek, Yoruba, Polish, Dutch, Punjabi, Romanian, Yiddish, Bengali, Amharic, Croatian, Laotian, Burmese, Swedish, Syriac, Turkish, Sinhalese, Tamil, Croatian, Tongan, French Creole, Danish, Czech, Ukrainian, Mayan Languages, Bulgarian, Telugu , Serbian, Bantu, Malayalam, Lithuanian, Swahili, Norwegian and so on...