By Ruth Chowdhury:
I am not from the city. I was raised in a southern state with lots of land to play on, woods in our backyard to explore, and horses down the road to ride. I helped my dad tend his garden each year when I was old enough, enjoyed big hills to sled on in the winter, and climbed many a tree growing up. I loved the “country life.”
When I met my husband and began to know more about him, I learned that he was from the city of Detroit. He told me about the things of his past: his family, his schools, his life. He always spoke of the city of his upbringing with light in his eyes. His heart was in Detroit. Me? Not so much. All I knew about it before he told me his story was the crime, the dilapidated houses, and the supposed “lack of hope.” I was scared of Detroit — and I said I would never live there.
After getting married, we began to revisit Detroit. We’d go to see his family, and then we’d just have to stop in Mexicantown to get some ice cream from this one little cart on side of the road. At some point during one of these drives, I began to see Detroit with open eyes. This wasn’t just some city to visit family and buy ice cream. There were people here. People wandering the streets, people fighting … people searching. I noticed one mother in particular and said to my husband, “I want to help people like her.”
God was beginning to change my heart.
Over the next few months and years, my husband and I became restless. We knew God was stirring our hearts and we knew we were supposed to go somewhere else. We were introduced to Pastor Chilly and visited Real Church, which was focused on reaching Detroit. We began to commute over an hour each way every weekend to attend Real Church, and finally felt God calling us to the city. The country girl who said she’d never live in Detroit was now eating those words. And loving it!
The crazy thing is how I now get to minister to literally the same people I saw on those visits so many years ago. I am able to give rides, encouragement, food, and, most of all, HOPE to the moms, ladies, and families God put on my heart on a “random” trip so long ago. God is awesome in the way he brings things around like that. He continues to amaze me, and I am looking forward to being a hope dealer to many more people to come!