Thursday night at my missions lifegroup, we were talking about this City Vision Tour we went on last week, and I wanted to post my reactions to it. It’s interesting to me that I’ve committed to The World Race, yet even in doing that am learning so much more about my community and my eyes are truly being opened to what’s going on around me and how I can serve HERE while I’m still here. I am being humbled by my blind eyes and praying for them to be opened even more, praying that my heart becomes one with God’s so I can truly be enveloped in His heart for the nations!
Also, in reading many blogs of current World Racers, I ran into this guy, Steven Reed. There’s a point on the World Race when guys and girls split up and the men go off to do “manistry,” which is basically code for getting to do manly things all month long and just be boys 🙂 This manistry month for them is Thailand, with a specific focus on the Karen people of Burma who are fleeing the genocide against them by their own government! So please check out his blog, because I’d love for you to catch a glimpse into my heart and why I have a passion for the Karen. I have a missionary contact who is working with them currently, but it is exciting and encouraging to also see other ministries there and to realize that God is leading more and more people to get involved with helping the Karen and praying for the healing and restoration of the country of Burma!
Okay, so here’s my reactions to this City Vision Tour. Minneapolis, little did I know.
One word. Eye-opening. You think you know your city. You’ve lived there your whole life. You know it’s diverse. But whoa. Talk about tunnel vision!
Just look up. On the top of many street-side businesses are mosques. But you couldn’t tell from the outside, except for little minute details. Like the smoke stacks that really aren’t smoke stacks but little minurets — see? They even have half moons on them. Just look up and pay attention. There are mosques in the back or basements of many restaurants. Then there’s the green awnings that decorate buildings, businesses, restaurants — street after street after street. And no, that doesn’t mean the landowners love green like I assumed…it means the buildings are owned by Muslims, because green is their color, and they dominate the city streets and businesses.
The Somalis that come to Minneapolis are hard workers, entrepreneurs, and between them and the Mexicans and other refugee groups from Asia and Africa, they’re starting plenty of businesses and creating tons of jobs — which is amazing. Minneapolis is incredibly diverse and I can’t believe I have lived this long without knowing the extent of it! But this is also a bad thing. The Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses are walking the streets, getting to know the people, learning the languages. Why aren’t we doing this? We NEED to do this. Islam is so close to Catholicism with its rules and lists of dos and don’ts that many Mexicans are converting to Islam in order to marry or just because — hey, it’s just another list of dos and dont’s, so what’s the big deal, right? And then don’t get me started on the number of churches that actually let witches meet inside them…and the whole fact that Minneapolis is on the top of the list for having the most witches in the country. Who knew?
Now that I know, I want to go back. I want to walk those streets, walk under those green awnings, and pray. Lord, please redeem our city. This city is YOURS.
You know, you come back from a mission trip to Mexico or Asia or Africa and you wish that you could go back and experience it again. Well guess what??? You CAN! Right downtown in the Global Market you’ll find authentic food from Eastern Africa (Safari Express owned by Jamal, an extremely friendly guy from Somalia who will talk your ear off if you let him! ), Mexico, Italy, Middle East, Asia. Hop over to the local Mercado Central for some authentic Mexican pastries. You’ll feel like you’re back in the Mexican market again. Walk the streets lined with Vietnamese, Thai, Ethiopian, Mexican shops, stores, and restaurants.
Seriously, I think it was the green awnings that really did me in. I love diversity. But so much is hidden in plain sight. Lord, open our eyes to see the reality around us! This city is ripe for renewal! Help us to reach it for you! This city is YOURS.