Katie Crosby is a student at UGA and spent this summer interning with a new church in Macon, GA. This is her story:
I was privileged to intern this summer at Strong Tower Fellowship, a multicultural church plant in Macon, GA. It was started a little over a year ago and its mission is to minister in word and deed to the people of Pleasant Hill, a neighborhood that borders the church.The name "Pleasant Hill" is very ironic-- this square mile is one of the poorest locations in America, making it a hot spot for crime and drug abuse. It is anything but pleasant. The degree of brokenness and heartache seen in a third world country is sitting in my back yard. To state in short-- I have never seen such extreme brokenness this close up. No matter how many times you read about or discuss various hardships in the world, the perspective and understanding of such brokenness drastically changes when you hear about it with your own ears and see it with your own eyes. Rape (incestuous and standard), physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, drug addiction, abandonment, imprisonment, homelessness, poverty-- none of these categories come as a surprise to the people living in Pleasant Hill; all know someone who fits into these categories and the majority of the people of Pleasant Hill fit into some/a lot of these categories as well. No longer are these simply headings in my social work textbooks, there are now faces and stories attached to these various heartbreaks, and it has become very personal.While the ramifications of the Fall are easily seen in Pleasant Hill, I have never seen the Lord move so tangibly as He has in this neighborhood over the last year. I was blessed with the opportunity of being on the front lines of the Spirit’s movement this summer. Over this last year around 80 people have come to know the Lord, which is over 10% of the Pleasant Hill community. From former convicts who are now carrying Bibles instead of guns to alcoholics who are being filled with the Spirit instead of beer, God is at work. There is no doubt in my mind that if Jesus were alive today, these are the people he would be spending time with—the convicts, the drug addicts, the abused, the abandoned. Because these are the people who are able to clearly see their brokenness and need for a Savior. So many of us hide behind facades, making our brokenness not as clearly seen, but God desires a contrite, humble spirit that recognizes the desperate need for a Savior.The theme of my summer has been Revelation 21, “Behold, I am making all things new!” While the pain and heartache in Pleasant Hill is substantial, we are not in despair, because our God is a God of redemption. This is not the way God intended the world to be, and since the Fall, he has been weaving throughout history a story of redemption; and through Jesus Christ, brokenness and heartache will one day be completely eradicated. No longer will there be tears or pain, for our God will make a new heaven and a new earth. This is our great hope. One life at a time, one family at a time, God is restoring Pleasant Hill and putting broken things back together.