Friday, January 8, 2010

This Little Light

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).


Gwynie Pie said...

I'm trying to see through the tears in order to post this note. What a special couple. I love this so much I posted it on my Facebook to share with my friends. It is so encouraging to see how God weaves us all together.

The Youtube right next in line to this one intrigued me for some reason, "Miracle in Franklin", so I clicked over and watched it. For a while now my husband and I have wanted to get out of debt so that we can help couples in our church/area who desire to adopt be able financially to do that. We are in our late 50s and adoption is not in our future (that we are aware of) but so many couples we know have adopted and are wanting to adopt more.
THAT is what Miracle in Franklin was about. It so encouraged me.

Thanks for sharing the Front Porch Ministry video. It lifted my spirits on this cold, cold day. And without watching that one, I'd never have found the Miracle one. :)

Have a blessed day --

Gwyn Rosser @ The Pink TRactor

Kathryn said...

Powerful! Thank you so much for sharing.

Rach said...

Wow, what an amazing story. Makes us look at what we can do to make a difference.

Betsy and the Boys said...

WOW, What an inspiration, thanks so much for sharing this Melissa, I'll be passing it on...

Vonda said...

I watched this story through tear filled eyes. What an inspiration and example of showing the love of Christ. Thanks for sharing!

Auntie Cake said...

Thank you for sharing that video, I am so glad I took the time to watch it. What a wonderful ministry they have there! They are clearly making a difference for God, that will make a difference in the lives of those around them. Wow!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

I have friends who did something similar, and I was stunned when they did. They are far more courageous than I, but I salute that courage and that boldness for God!


Sheila :-)

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Melissa, this video is awesome. Just finished watching it, and I loved seeing it SO much. Thanks!

Karin @ 6ByHisDesign said...

What an amazing story. Yay God!

It's a Mom Thing said...

Thank you for posting this. What a powerful testimony to what God can do when we listen to Him and step outside our comfort zones. I was born and raised in Nashville and this means a lot to me knowing there is a family who wants to make a difference in a neighborhood that is mostly forgotten.

Marilyn said...

Wow!! Amazing people!!

Porches & Petit Fours said...

We have all been created to be used in God's mighty plans. So many of us miss out because we aren't willing to go when being called. I can't imagine the blessing your friends Thom and Melissa will receive in this life and the next for being obedient. What an encouraging post. This makes the top 10 best posts I've ever read.

Live.Love.Eat said...

This is incredible!!!!!!!

kimberly said...

The Hazelips are so inspirational, thanks for sharing!!! What an encouragement to live our lives on our front porch and reach out to those around us. I am so moved by them acting on what God lead them to do, and the fruit of their work is obvious.

Thom said...

Everyone, thank you for your very nice comments. Its humbling to read because both Michele and I know we do not deserve them but are encouraged by them.

You don't have to live in a gang infested neighborhood to be living Christ-centered and a fulfilled life. You just have to be willing to allow God and your "neighbor" to be more important than anything else that captures your attention. For me that meant "me time", my career, nice home, finacially secure, wanting to be admired by my wife, my friends and every person that dressed nice and drived a nicer car than I did to church on Sunday.

Loving God and neighbor are the Number 1 and Number 2 commandments and what everything else is based on.

This life is short. Live with the end in mind.

Thom Hazelip

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