By John Goodell
I have always known that Fresno is a special place and I came here for the first time in 1984 to participate in a summer of discovery. I was a college student then about to have my life changed by First Presbyterian Church as I embarked on a Seeker (college fellowship) cruise. Interestingly 36 years later (yikes) First Pres is still changing the lives of college students because God is still changing the lives of all of us. The means are a bit different today than way back when but faithful disciples of Jesus Christ are still being encouraged and mentored here at our church.
One such way that this transformation is occurring is through the discipleship that goes on at the Pink House in our church parking lot. Our Mission Director Terry Jaurena and our Director of College Ministry Geraud Brumfield lead a program to immerse college age young people in a 10 month long relationship building, urban ministry experience. Recently I was able to ride along (literally) with the Pink House and its sister program at North Fresno Mennonite, The Micah Project. This day was the driving tour of downtown Fresno and vicinity with audio narration put together by the Every Neighborhood Partnership organization.
I learned that there are many faith based nonprofits who do wonderful Kingdom work in the downtown area. A lot of these are mission partners supported in part by your faithful giving. Some are even founded or staffed by FPC members and/or Pink House alumni. As we drove together through the downtown we saw evidence of the work that these partners do in the neighborhoods that are impacted for the Gospel by them. For example did you know that there is a church who prays daily at 7:01am (zip code 73701) and 5:59pm (559 area code) for our city? Or that there is an organization working in our downtown to rescue and protect young people from the evils of sex trafficking? I even learned about Trolley Creek Park, on Huntington Blvd with playground equipment suitable for disabled youth. This and much, much more is going on to show the love of Christ to people in our city who are most vulnerable.
We should be grateful that God has allowed us as a downtown church to be a part of the work that He is doing. This happens as our congregation prays, gives, trains up young people, or lends a hand on a board or as a mentor or volunteer at places like Martin Park or many other ministries in the downtown and throughout Fresno. Would you like to jump in and share your gifts and talents in the Kingdom work going on in Fresno neighborhoods? Please contact the church office (email and phone number at the bottom of this article) to see what things might change your life as they did that college student that I mentioned at the beginning of this article.