I’ve been serving with Memphis Athletic Ministries for around four weeks now. Officially, my role is to help kids become more successful in school through homework help and tutoring. But as a middle-class white person serving impoverished urban kids, there are a number of challenges that come with the territory which aren’t part of my job description. I’m learning another culture––new rules, new handshakes, new vocabulary. I’m trying my best to meet these kids where they’re at so I can love them well for Jesus.
Even though I’m only a few weeks into Downline, it has made a huge difference in my ability to serve these kids in at least two main ways. First, Downline has cast a vision for me to reach beyond my preferred boundaries into another context so that Jesus might be named to those who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to hear about him. Second, Downline has made it clear that life isn’t about me. I needed to learn that, because if my purpose at MAM has anything to do with the way the kids treat me, I won’t make it.
I’m grateful the Lord has led me to MAM, and specifically to our gym at St. Paul. I love those kids. God is using them to make me a different person. I hope I can be a part of God making them new too.