Monday, April 2, 2012

What Spending a Day with Bob Lupton Does for your soul

Dear HUM Friends, April 2, 2012
Life in the city continues; when you are asking God for Big things, you better be prepared for BIG things. Went to Atlanta to See/hear Bob Lupton: Author of “Toxic Charity” read this.
Just when you think you are “doing it right”, you might(will) find out there are better ways to love those in poverty…in a more healthy empowering way. The FreeMarket has always giving me joy and angst at the same time, we must look for new ways to “offer” clothing in a healthier manner i.e…Thrift store with affordable prices. When we give away everything to “The Poor” we may be taking away their dignity, and enabling an already “toxic” system. When we rent to a neighborhood, instead of offering affordable “buying” opportunities, you may be lowering the development of a historically black community that wants to sustain their heritage. When we “rich” go in and buy up a predominantly black neighbor hoods and fill the homes with “All white neighbors” this drives up the cost of the neighbors homes and blacks who want to stay/buy in their neighborhood, have no buying power, again we drive out the poor neighbors’ where? Where do they go..Public housing, where we coral our friends and give them no opportunities to get out of Poverty.
This is just what I am hearing through “Professionals” who have “done this”-Urban development a lot longer than me. This is just my thoughts and concerns. I (HUM) want to make a difference, not add to an already growing dilemma.
So..What to do? Well the first step in changing anything, is to educate yourself and others, that’s what the Number #1 step is. When our kids are struggling in school, we tell them..Study…Study Harder. When we want children in poverty to improve in school, we tutor them, we educate them…we strive to give them opportunities to get out through education. It is no different for me...Educate myself on healthy opportunities at the root issues of poverty.
I tell my VCU students often: Understand “Why” first, and then make sound decisions on “How you can help.” Doing what we already know, without change is “insanity”…looking for different results?
So this change I know..will take time, but I need to make a conscious decision what is not working needs to stop. We need a thrift store in Highland Park, we need investors to buy homes for the poor and let them buy them back from YOU! We need to get involved in food co ops…education of God’s people on How can we “do this” in a healthier manner.
I do know, there are people who want to LIVE The Bible…..There are people whose hearts are genuine, and there are people who just want to donate a coat and move on. As Christians, we CAN make a difference, walking the Gospel, loving others without hurting them. We wouldn’t give our kids an xbox, new car, ipod, new clothes, every time they asked…I wouldn’t. We apply the same principles to our friends.
Bob Lupton Quotes: (who is Bob? 40 years of Christian Community Developer in Atlanta.)
” Never do for the poor what they have or could have the capacity to do for themselves.”
“Limit one way giving to emergency situations.”
“Strive to empower the poor through employment, lending and investing…using grants sparingly to reinforce achievements.”……
There is so much more. Educate yourself; let’s make a difference in this lifetime for God…for the Sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf…Now is the time.
Think this over during Holy Week, Remind yourself Why Jesus died…I feel pretty certain it wasn’t for us to have a pure and selfish lifetime, to gather as much as we can for us….how much is enough?

What can you do this week or to get started?
Come to freemarket this sat. April 7 8-11, prescreening for jobs, Relationship building! 3121 Moss Side Ave 23222
HUM transitional House Rehab. 2411 4th Ave: 8-2pm Skilled Laborers NEEDED…We have employed city guys up to this week..Now we need drywall hangers, mudders, ceramic tile folks, tongue and grove wood replacement, plumbers to put in a tub and vanities….No children under 16 this week.
Tutoring Wed nights 5:15-7:15 Dinner and Education 3121 Moss Side Ave collaborating with Northminster Church! All are welcome, as long as your kids know…it is a “Tutoring Night.”
Spring break “Fruit of the Spirit”- April 10, 11, 12: 10a-2pm, opportunity for City children who have nothing to do, no fancy vacations…Spring Fun and and loving children. 3121 Moss Side Ave. 23222
Every Wed. 9-12, come to FreeMarket and relate..Hang out, knit, sort clothes, offer your gifts. 3121 Moss Side Ave. 23222
Better Idea? Want to buy a home…let’s meet. Email:
Thanks so much, for your constant prayers, for giving what you can and asking when you don’t know….We are open to your heart and what god has called YOU to.
Blessings this Holy Week,
Faithfully His,
Cassie Matthew

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

When you walk in obedience you better wear a belt.

It's been a year to date....since I've written here. Should I go back? Or start here..I'm too tired to go back, but the stories are so incredible you can't thank God properly without going back. HOWEVER..I'm not going back today.
I miss writing, it has been a long time since I shared my true feelings, I am often afraid. There are "things" I feel best left not shared, i just tell God, He reassures me. Over the last three years I've had to sensor my feeling and my thoughts before I spew them out, some of that is a good thing, some of it hurts.
Let me begin with the JOY of walking in obedience, being patient, waiting on God to deliver THE Dream in HIS timing, it feels long, but looking back it is pretty snappy. We finally bought our first Ministry Home, we are taking another step out in faith b/c it is SOOOO BIG, 2600 sq feet, five bedrooms, and we didn't have an inspection, (It wouldn't have mattered) so we unknowingly bought a home with a built in pool..inside. The entire house leaks..and you know I embellish for a good story but this time it's true. The kitchen pipes leak the supply lines leak, BROKEN leak...NOT just leak BROKE! But still I marvel at the house HUM has purchased. I see it with 7 guys in it, in recovery, from addiction, so far God isn't seeing it that way(the neighbor doesn't want us there either..poor thing). But we have some time to wait to see if HE wants what we want.
The beauty of this house and all it's rehab is that it has allowed us such great opportunities with Disciple Now Kids from New Hanover Presbyterian Church, Disciple Now Youth from Glen Allen Baptist, the kids are amazing creatures wanting to be part of THE change! One child ask me "are HOBOS living her?" Awe poor darlin'..this is good for you to come, there are no such things as HOBOS....what are they talking about at his home? Another child says. "I didn't realize people lived in places like this?" Yikes..I love this house, 1910, reminds me of my grandmother's farm house....Really high ceilings, porch on the front, I imagine swinging out there with my buds....a back yard that is filled with a beautiful birch tree....lots of shade, maybe a place for horse shoes? These are my dreams for my guys. A safe place, nice home, we are currently gutting the entire kitchen, gutting entire bathrooms, painting the entire house, two new windows.....My plumber says "You know this is a rental right?" I said "I do know that, but do you know i think these guys deserve what i deserve?" God says I want it to be nice, maybe I'm naive, he thinks so. The beauty of my friends..they are now WORKING for the ministry, getting paid wages respectful of men, still NOT what they are worth, but not $7.25 an hour either at 58 years of age.
My plumber friend "Darryl" says.."Ms.'ve got to be careful hiring guys from the city...I said "Thank you Darryl", "I have been praying for these guys for three years." God has finally answered our prayers, and so far, He is sending us Honorable men. We trust Him. We meet our guys between 2008-2012, at the FreeMarket, a place that hasn't always been fun, but it a place where God tells me to meet my friends. I am comfortable there, it's like home. I notice others who come and run..they seem uncomfortable. I wonder why. I do understand it's so good to stretch your faithful muscles.
I love when my friend Wally comes and sings, like he is in a Pub, my friends are so happy to see Wally...He is a beautiful man. He shares his gift with all of us, and he is so kind. he says..."so many want to learn to play the guitar?" OH I say..."maybe you should teach them?"
So while i was rushing God to hurry up and get us "THERE" He was helping me to build perfect relationships with friends who I now trust, and they trust me. They know i will pay them, they know I will bring them lunch sometimes. I listen...and actually they ask about my children. There are goats, but God told me there would be. The goats do not enter the gate.
The journey is getting close to changing, I feel it, so many community workers who come and help out, but not always with good intentions...i don't like that part...God will fix it. I trust him, every time someone complains, i remind them..God is going to fix IT. No matter what it is. This is not me, I'm a runner, i leave and go when i don't like something...this time i was asked to stay..only by the whispers of God. "Stay focused Cassie...Stay focused" I will prevail.(God) It's been an amazing ride to get here..and guess what...we are headed up the first hill on the Rebel Yell..seems like the ride might be WILD!
For your support and constant prayers, and for loving my friends, and for new friends, for VCU students and NorthMinster and Atlee.....I give thanks and God all the Glory! I Am so GRATEFUL....EVERYDAY!