It was quite a blessing this past weekend to have Yates and Alyson come for a quick visit. Yates is very busy in the midst of pursing a Master of Urban Education degree up in Memphis in connection with Memphis Teacher Residency (MTR), a Gospel-centered ministry committed to provide children in low-income Memphis neighborhoods with the same quality education that is available in more affluent communities. MTR does this by recruiting, training, equipping, and supporting their teachers. Yates is doing some intense academic work this summer and will be doing an internship alongside a mentor in an actual classroom once school starts this fall. Of course, the academic work continues during this internship. Once he graduates next May he'll then teach in one of the schools that partners with MTR for a minimum of three years. Alyson is currently enjoying her work at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis and also looking to further her education.
As a dad it's always encouraging to see your kids truly enjoy what they're doing. Yates and Alyson truly seem to be enjoying this move to Memphis and are beginning to call it home!
Memphis wasn't really on my radar for where my kids might settle. But consider the rich history, great food, the birthplace of rock 'n roll, NBA basketball ... there's much to love about Memphis. This morning I saw an article on MSN from 24/7 Wall Street that listed "the 50 worst cities to live in" here in America. Noted as the 7th worst city to live in in the entire United States is ... yes, you guessed it, Memphis. The article noted such stellar statistics such as 30% of the people live in poverty (double the national average), there are 1,741 violent crimes in the city for every 100,000 residents (4.8 times higher than the national average), and the air quality is deemed "hazardous" 8% of the days in a given year. And keep in mind, Yates and Alyson aren't targeting the affluent, clean, healthy, safe suburbs. Their intent is to be immersed in the heart of the city.
Of course, as a parent my tendency is to worry about their safety and health ... and is this where some of my grandkids will be raised? I'm guessing God will use this to further sanctify my prayer life! But my joy for them outweighs the fear and anxiety. My joy is rooted in the simple fact that they are resting in the very Gospel that they are now committed to take to a place that has and is suffering from the lack of Gospel ministry. God has them in His care and He has promised to be a God to them and to their children (if the Lord so blesses them).
God's faithfulness is real and is sometimes the only thing we have to which we may cling. So whatever challenge any of us, as children of God, are facing we are confident that God's covenant love and faithfulness is unchanging and is good. Are you trusting Him today?
So Memphis ... ain't so bad after all. It could surely be worse ... they could have picked the #6 city on the list - Birmingham!