I’m still doing well in school. For the past two weeks I have been doing a surgery rotation at Garden City Hospital. I’m really enjoying it. There are 5 other people on the service (which is a lot) so there is less for me to do than I had expected. This past Monday I ‘scrubbed in’ for a hemicolectomy (took part of the patient’s colon out). I was able to get a good view of everything that was happening and helped out by holding retractors and cutting sutures. I also helped close the wound with staples at the end of the case. It might not sound fun to some of you, but I enjoyed it!
There have been some exciting things happening at the church, Citadel of Faith, which Sarah and I attend when we’re in Detroit. I’ll tell about one now. Our pastor has been led by the Spirit to put a stop to the drug trade in the neighborhood of the church. He brought some men of the church together last Friday night (a week ago) to do some ‘urban camping’ on a street corner which is known to have up to 40 people at any given time selling drugs. The urban campers met at the church at 10:00 at night with tents and lanterns and such for prayer. Then, they set out for the corner and set up the tents and just started hanging out. By the end of the night, there wasn’t anyone left selling on the corner. As the men walked back to the church to go home, they met a resident of the area who told them, “These guys have been on this corner selling drugs since about 1976 and no one has been able to make them leave. The police couldn’t do it, the mayor couldn’t do it, no one could. But you all did. Whatever it is that you got, keep bringing it! They scared of you!” What ‘they got’ is the awesome power of God on their side. Speaking of which, the power came that night because the women of the church gathered together across the greater Detroit area in two’s and three’s to pray over the men and that street corner. Another resident told the church on Sunday that there had been only one young man out on the corner selling on Saturday night.
Now, you’ll be wondering, won’t the sellers just come back next week? Well, they might, but the church went out last night as well… Again it was a successful night. They found out, however, that some of the sellers are going to try to blend in with Citadel the next time they come out. They’ll be bringing tents and everything themselves (they happened to notice the police don’t try to make the tent-dwellers move off). So, Citadel will be doing something different next week, making sure the area is not home to drug dealers, drunks, and others.
You also might be wondering, isn’t it a little bit dangerous? You would be right there, too. But, Pastor Carey has been doing a lot of teaching on that point, and one passage he taught from sticks out in my mind. It is a story of Elisha who, with his servant, are sought out by the king and surrounded by the king’s army in a small village.
“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” … and the servant looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. (see 2 Kings 6:8-22 for the whole story).
There are dangers out there for the church, but, I think when we are called by God to his work, he will put his angels around with horses and chariots of fire to protect us. Are those sellers really scared of some men with a tent and a lantern? No. But might they be afraid of some unseen power, the power of God and his chariots of fire? Certainly.
So, exciting times for the church and that neighborhood in Detroit. I guess the only downside of the whole ‘shut down the drug trade’ operation is that we’re probably driving down the drug prices as the sellers suddenly have increased supply of unsold goods!
If you want to hear any of Pastor Carey’s preaching, feel free to come down to the church (check www.citadeloffaith.org for more info. Or, barring that, try www.msu.edu/~halterda/ for audio of some of his latest sermons.