Detroit Mission Trip April 2015 Report
Many people want to know about the mission trip that we recently took to Detroit. Specifically about the work we did and the state of the city. So, I will try to explain it to you, but really it needs to be experienced to get a clear picture. Nothing I say can give you the enormous, oppressive feeling of
living in this 3rd worldesque city.
The first thing you need to understand is that the blight is endless. Wherever you go within the city of Detroit and many of the surrounding communities you experience neighborhood after neighborhood of destruction and desolation. There are thousands upon thousands of vacant homes. Many are stripped of all metal and some are half burned. Many of these structures are condemned and slated for demolition. The city has been demolishing houses in the recent months, so there are many vacant lots that dot the suburban communities. There are also many closed schools that have also been stripped of metal. It is reported that there are some 30 vacant high rise buildings in the city. Many stores and shops have long closed. The businesses that remain open are corner liquor stores, strips clubs, and a few other small businesses like hardware stores or beauty supplies. There are very few chain businesses in these areas. Not all of Detroit is like this, some of the suburbs of Detroit are very nice like Dearborn or Garden City.
There is a huge problem with violence. I read on one website that some of the communities that we worked in had a 1 in 7 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. The gang, drugs, and prostitution are rampant. Needless to say, Detroit is in a very bad state. While the urgency to help Detroit is relativity new, the problems in Detroit span back to the seventies. This city has been in decline for decades. The problem has been exacerbated since the financial crisis of 2008.
So what can we do? How can we help? We can go and partner with church planters that are serious about reaching people for Christ and really making a difference. This trip we intentionally worked with City Church. This church has three campuses in different parts of the city. They do things a little different. They don’t wait for the people to come to them, they go into the community. They feed people, they clothe people, they help with recovery, and they preach the gospel. God is blessing them in a mighty way!
We worked on their project called City Homes. They are rehabbing houses to be used for homeless recovery. People can live in these houses for three months to get back on their feet. They can stay longer if they want to continue in the program, which provides more help, but also more accountability. They have a real plan that will make a difference in Detroit. Our team from Oakhill helped finish one of the new men’s houses. We did a lot of patching, mudding, sanding, and painting. We also did a few small projects at their women’s house and at one of their church campuses. I really feel like we made a huge difference.
I would ask you to pray for City Church and City Homes. I also would encourage you to go with us to Detroit. We still have two trips left this year. We are taking college and young adults the week of August 9th and another adult team the week of October 4th. I hope to see you on one of these trips.