Living Incarnationally in the 21st Century

At Mission Central, we love hearing reports from mission organizations around the world!

We’ve invited agencies who’ve been involved with Missions Fest Vancouver to submit articles from the field, theological reflection directed at the lay reader, and links to resources that you think might benefit the public.

This article is from MoveIn, a movement of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor.

Living Incarnationally

This is the information age: an age of globalization and urbanization; of science and technology. The world is complicated. Where is God in this age? Is he still moving? Is he still working? Is He still dwelling among us?

From the beginning of time God has had a plan for redemption for each generation. We see it in scripture. We see it in history. He has moved in events and cultures to draw all humankind to himself. He has moved in unlikely ways, through unlikely people. The weak and the broken. He has moved with a different kind of power than we expect. He came to us with humility, as a baby and a servant. He came for the sick, the poor, the oppressed, and the lost. He came to lay down his life. And he is doing it still. In the complex, inner-city neighbourhoods and slums of our ever-growing cities, God is moving and working. Jesus is there. 

This is the testimony of a movement of regular Christians who have accepted the invitation to find Christ in the broken places. MoveIn is a movement of praying believers who seek to model their lives after the life of Christ by moving in among the unreached, urban poor in the poorest inner cities and slums around the world. The vision is to allow the presence of Christ, in his people, to incarnationally transform communities where the gospel otherwise wouldn’t be shared. But what most people find when they move in, is that they are often the ones who are changed. They meet Christ in the darkest, most broken communities, and his humble power is transformational.

Just north of downtown Edmonton, Alberta, is one such community. It is home to many newcomers and refugees from Syria, Nepal, and the horn of Africa. It is also the hub for Edmonton’s homeless population. Drugs, alcohol and gang activity are what this neighbourhood is known for. This is where a team of three young women and a couple with their toddler son have chosen to move in. This is where God’s glory is being revealed in simple ways in the midst of darkness. 

“We did some baking and we decided on the spur of the moment just to go around our apartment and knock on people’s doors and invite them for tea,” says Krista,* one of the three young women on the team. “We ended up with 16 people in our living room. Women and children. Most were Muslims and there were a few Christians. And they were so lovely and happy to be there. The sun was shining into our living room and it was so beautiful. It was everything I ever imagined MoveIn to be. And I am so thankful to God that after trying for so long to connect with neighbours in our old apartment with no success this just fell into our laps.”

Another MoveIner who has lived in the inner city of Toronto and a slum in Indonesia shares about the privilege of being the presence of Christ amidst brokenness.

“The people in MoveIn patches [the neighbourhoods we move into] do not appear to be very needy at first, but over time, as relationships are built, wounds come to the surface,” says Cathy.* “By this point, they are friends and not just random neighbours, so their burdens become our burdens, which must then be laid at Jesus’ feet.”

My friends have told me stories of having had to run for their lives from their home countries. One lady told me how she was beaten within an inch of her life because her husband opposed their government. Another dear friend shared how her husband was physically abusive and a drug addict. Many of our neighbours—now close friends—struggle with unemployment, substance abuse, and depression.”

In these situations, many times MoveIners have found that all they can do is be present and pray. It may not seem like much, but over and over again God shows that it is everything.

The Gospel of Jesus, God with us, is still transforming our complicated world today. But how often do we miss how God is moving? How often do we fail to see his transforming power at work because it doesn’t look like what we expect? We forget the simplicity of the gospel. We forget the power of an act of love towards a brother or sister or a “cup of cold water” given to a neighbour. We forget that God is strong in our weakness and that his power dwells in us and is released in our prayers. We strategize and plan from a distance, in our own strength, rather than asking God to show us where he is already working and then loving and being present wherever we are.

No matter where you live, whether in a slum or a mansion, the inner city or the suburbs, God wants to transform your community with his love. Are you present enough to see where he is moving? Are you humble enough to love like Christ? 

Author Info

By Kristina,* a former MoveIner in Edmonton and now a MoveIner in NW Africa

MoveIn is a movement of regular Christians prayerfully moving in among the unreached, urban poor.

*Names changed for neighbourhood sensitivity reasons

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