|a knife robbery|
Last Friday (September 21st) a man with a knife walked into Umpqua Bank at about 10 am. The robbery took place about two blocks from McKinley Elementary School where my friend, April, has three of her five children attending during the school day. When the bank was robbed, the Elementary went on lockdown for about an hour; in addition so did South Salem High School and Howard Street Charter School.
The man escaped on foot into the local neighborhood and the police could not locate the man. If you have any information about this situation, please contact the police. Here is the article in the Statesman Journal.
School let out later that afternoon and April's children walked home and were animatedly talking about how their school had been on lockdown. The kids knew that the robbery took place where their family did their banking. April's heart was moved by her kids and most especially because she regularly goes into the bank and knows the people who work there pretty well.
God moved in April's heart to do something about it. :) She told me later when they came over for pizza and a movie that night. And she doesn't yet know that I'm writing this blog post. Her story was presented to me rather briefly and with a ton of humility, and I might get some of the details wrong of how it went. Hopefully she will read here soon and can tell a little more of the story of how it went.
She got her kids all "cutified," all five of them, ages 10 years to 10 months old. She made a homemade card and wrote a scripture in it and also got some balloons. The whole troop walked into the bank. She said to them, "I know what happened to you this morning and how horrible it was, and I thought you could use some cheering up."
The scripture was Isaiah 40:10. "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Umpqua Bank usually has about three people working in front but at this point there was a full staff of about eight people and they were all on edge and watchful. They might have been called into work because of what happened. April said that one woman cried when she interacted with April and her family.
This is the sort of love that transforms culture and helps bridge belief for people who would turn to Jesus if only someone would lead them to Him. I'm so impressed!!! I have so many excuses why I don't think I should share Christ publicly. April's example has renewed my heart about how the gospel changes lives, changes communities, changes cities. I want to celebrate with her the hope Christ had planned from the beginning of time to bring to the people at this bank. Even acts of thoughtful love without an accompanying scripture are a touch of God in this world.
I'm reminded of an article I read at www.vergenetwork.org about a business that was impacted by a tragic suicide of one of their employees. Two Christians there started seeing God open the hearts of their fellow co-workers who were looking for hope. A pastor of a local church took a chance and started meeting in the gym facility at this company with these two Christians. It was really simple. They sang praise music with a guitar. Their coworkers came. People were believing in Christ for eternal life. Attendance kept growing from 10 to 20 and finally 100 employees. The pastor went back to his local church which had been more or less stagnant in growth for several years and resigned because God was calling him to pastor this new church plant, born in a business.
Can there be a church in a bank? How about in a gym? Who lives for this sort of thing? God does! Anything can happen when we plant the gospel! How can we join in the great commission? Here are a couple of thoughts.
10 Simple Ways to be Missional
"Over and over again when people begin to engage a life lived on mission they wonder or ask, “How would I ever have the time to DO all of this?!” But God has designed our lives in such a way that we already live in a rhythm of opportunities to both display and proclaim the gospel. It is not a matter of adding new things to our life; it is about living with increasing gospel intentionality. We must shift our thinking from “Additional to Intentional”." - Caesar Kalinowski