We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

A Purpose for Living

Parking his car outside a crumbling apartment complex in Oak Park, Russell Jeung realized he was far from his comfort zone.

The sociology grad-student had traveled from his cozy, upscale neighborhood in Berkeley, California, to something resembling a war zone. Abandoned buildings and overgrown lots cordoned with razor wire were common. He observed open drug deals across the street while children as young as five flashed gang signs and scrawled graffiti on the sidewalks in chalk.

Russell came to Oak Park to research stories about refugee children who were dropping out of school to join gangs. But he was also searching for God’s direction in his life. Somehow his upwardly mobile, success-driven lifestyle wasn’t enough. “As a Christian, I knew I was supposed to use my good fortune to help others,” Russell explained. “But when I looked at my life, I saw primarily one person being helped. Me.”

At Oak Park, he found something much more than a research project-he found a life mission. And 15 years later, he’s still hard at work. With his help, community leaders organized to push the drug dealers out. A tutoring program was started for kids, encouraging them to stay in school.

As a result, Russell has a fresh perspective on John 14:6–“the way, truth and life of God aren’t found in big accomplishments and shiny resumes, but in the small things, the little miracles,” he says. “They’re right in front of me, in my friends, my neighbors, and my community.”

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 4:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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