On Superbowl Sunday I sat on my patio, enjoying the sunny 70-degree weather. Even here in Southern California, a region relatively unaffected by the game, the world had stopped. The freeways were much less busy, parties were taking place all over my neighborhood, and the water department was making special accommodations for the large number of people gathered around televisions in homes across the region.
Few of us will ever be a part of an event that causes a whole nation to stop and watch, but we are called to affect the communities where God has placed us. When we follow the Lord’s direction, we can bring about changes whose impact will last long after the world forgets who won this year’s Superbowl.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit two communities in Pennsylvania that are being changed by the work of AMF missionaries. The first, Gap, is a small town in Lancaster County, the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish Country. Andy and Tina Gordley work with “English” (non-Amish) middle-school and high-school students there. These students regularly come to the Gordleys’ home to enjoy small-group fellowship and study The Truth Project. They are growing in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord simply because the Gordleys are committed to reaching that small community.
Just over an hour away by car but worlds away in lifestyle is Kensington. This poor urban community in the Philadelphia metro area has no parks and few social services. The people who live there have been neglected by nearly everyone, but three AMF couples are bringing them Christ’s hope through Cornerstone Community Church. It’s not an easy place to live, with drug dealers on corners where other neighborhoods might have pharmacies. One of the missionary couples is dealing with an infestation of bed bugs and must tear out the walls of their house to get rid of the pests. Yet, they and the others stay because God has called them to make an impact on the community.
Compared to Santonio Holmes and the other athletes wearing new Superbowl rings, the AMF missionaries in Gap and Kensington receive very little worldly acclaim. No one will throw a party for their television appearance or present them with a trophy for a job well done. Yet, their work will be rewarded by Someone far more important than the NFL commissioner. These missionaries are following God’s call to make an impact on a specific community, and as a result, individual lives and entire communities are being transformed by the love of Christ.