I can remember in my younger years my attitude towards those in trailer parks. There were names for people like that, names which I would use to refer to “those people”. In the town I spent most of my life in, the mobile home communities were filled with retired people and to be honest they were beautifully manufactured homes. Homes that would rival most of the houses in the area. In the next town over, however, there were “trailer parks”. I can actually remember not being interested in a girl in whom I was interested in simply based on the fact that she was from one of those parks. (Hey, I didn’t say it was right.)
In the past two and a half years I have lived in the inner city of New Orleans and now a trailer park. I was able to see the hurt in the urban setting and then God called me here to the “sticks” as my wife so eloquently puts it. As I get to know people, and observe their lives my heart begins to hurt. People say – as I once did – that they have a way out and choose that life. I argue that maybe we are mistaken. A vast majority that live in these place only know these places, a good number of them are functionally illiterate, and are living well below the poverty line due to physical or educational inabilities to work. Perhaps they have made some bad choices and landed in a place where they are unable to find suitable employment due to criminal records. Whatever the story, there is one, just as we all have one they too have many.
As I sat this morning watching the bus stop from my porch, the children of the park that were only moments before hanging out on my porch with me played and laughed. Sometimes bullying each other, talking profanely at one another and making cutting remarks toward each other my heart broke. They are in the dark, they are without guidance, and to make it worse they are deceived into believing that they do not need it. Before you get all cause driven and burdened, I challenge you to sit on your porch, wherever you are, and see that even in Middle Class America those same signs of spiritual poverty exist.
God has seen fit to change my perspective. I went from avoiding relationships with people who live in trailer parks, to loving them and considering my self as one of them. My heart breaks for them and my mission is for them. I think that as I pray for God to change me to be more like Him, my perspective changes to see things as He does. I beg you to do the same. I beg you to put yourself in a place where God can change you, ask to see things the way He does. I will warn you, though, it may cause you to move into the places you have spent your life trying to avoid. Though not everyone who is wandering is lost, there are a lot who believe they are only wandering and not realizing that they are in fact lost.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”Matt. 9:36