Roxana did not dare to believe for many years that her mom would change. Chris, her husband continued in faith to witness and serve his mother-in-law even when her actions and words were unreasonable and hurtful. After many years, after Martha's 77th Birthday Martha, Roxy's mom, got Baptized at New City Church. Coming out of the water... and looking out and waving to the audience with tears in her eyes... Roxy shared her heart openly with her mom and with us... "This is your spiritual family now...".
Watching the grace of God invade and penetrate into the hurt and pain of families and turn them around is a privilege of being part of God's family the church. Having that as one's life work is the privilege of serving as an ambassador of God's grace. In 1994 Roxanna and Martha came with Jude to pick me up at the LAX airport. I have been part of their extended family ever since... and have watched Roxy move from being a tough girl at the edge of a local gang to being a well respected mother, wife & teacher for LAUSD.
When I joined InnerChange... I joined a community that was determined to make the love of God at work in us and through us as tangible as possible in a context where religious attitudes often conveyed judgement rather than love and grace. Be sure judgement will come... but the task needed here is to make the love of God known.
Yesterday was very satisfying evidence that I have participated in God's amazing love and grace. I too had almost stopped believing that Martha could be reached by God's love... Chris never Gave up that hope. Yesterday we (Jude & I, Chris & Roxy, Martha, Salvador/ Roxy's Dad, Lance Mark/ Chris & Roxy's son,) went to Clifton's Cafeteria near 7th & Broadway to celebrate Martha's baptism and birthday. And "Andre'" came with us... He's the next young man that Chris & Roxy have recently adopted into their family to mentor. I got to know him a bit and to hear how he was touched at church by all of the baptisms. The cry in his heart was simple... "I could relate to some of the stories people shared... they did not have a good relationship with their fathers... and they struggled with pain in their hearts because of that..." Love continues to flow and touch hearts... often one heart at a time... it is a privilege to be any part of God's love.