In 2005 our church began an outreach ministry at Barley Court Apartments that continued on for several years. Despite the bad reputation this neighborhood had, we claimed every inch of it for God's glory. Within the last year, sadly, the door seemed to shut on our ministry efforts there. I still long to go back and teach the children there as well as several adults who also came to our ministry programs on Saturdays.
The ministry program was designed for children ages 3 up to the age of 12. However, teenagers often came and we always welcomed them. Yesterday morning a 22 year old young man was shot and killed at Barley Court. Seven years ago he would have been fifteen years old. I wonder if he ever came over to visit with us on Saturdays. I wonder did I ever knock on his door and hand him a flier inviting him to come. So many steps have been taken up and down stairs there. So many prayers have been prayed on that property. So many verses have been posted on each door and carried in each apartment attached to the candy bags the children took home with them. I pray the Word of God had reached this young man. I pray that a seed was planted in his heart and that he knew Jesus Christ as Savior. I wrote the poem below describing the heaviness I feel for this tragedy that took place yesterday at Barley Court Apartments.
A young man died yesterday; I know not his name.
All I know is sorrow, sadness, and disdain.
I look up to the Heaven and asked of God,
Why a young man was gunned down where my feet have often trod.
Barley Court is the name of the place.
In my mind every step taken there I now retrace.
My heart is heavy as I remember face after face,
Of young people I've seen there and taught of God's grace.
Did I ever see this one who was shot down so young?
Had he heard of the love of God and of Jesus His son?
I feel a sense of failure for all those steps taken.
I feel the foundations of sure things have been shaken.
Were all the seeds planted there of any worth?
Were the seeds planted there simply consumed by unfertile earth?
Today I pray that each seed planted there will flourish and grow
Of such tragedy I pray none other in that place will ever know.