When I reconnected with a former classmate from college through Facebook, I had in my mind that my life mirrored his. Both married, both parents to four children -- I assumed Thom's family lived a comfortable suburban life just like mine. What I recently learned about his family, though, amazed me. After watching the video below, I could hardly tell Joe about the Hazelip family's ministry for the emotion bubbling up inside me as I considered the great courage, compassion and faith they demonstrate daily.
If you cannot view the video above, find it here.
Initially Thom visited Nashville's inner city looking to invest in property, but God drew the Hazelips to invest themselves in the lives of the people there instead. Thom and his wife, Michele, now make their home in one of the poorest, most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Nashville. Their lives are intertwined with the people of their community, and their home has become a refuge for many of the residents.
I have been so inspired by Thom and Michele and the journey that has led them to establish Front Porch Ministry. I admire their courage in setting down roots in a neighborhood many of us would fear to visit. But I think even more, I admire the family's purposeful living for Christ and their openness to serving no matter the need. For more information on the Hazelips' impact in Nashville's inner city, visit the Front Porch Ministry web site or support the organization through Facebook causes here.
I believe Thom's example of living on the front porch can inspire us all. Whether we lend our support to the Hazelips' efforts in Nashville or look for our own opportunities closer to home, their story shows us the difference a little love --and a lot of faith -- can make.
So let's all step out on our own front porch this year, determined to turn the light on and let it shine as a beacon of hope in 2010.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house" (Matthew 5:14-15).