If you take the moment to look around you and see where it is that you are from, you may be surprised to find a bit of pride begin to well inside of you. When I look at Dalhart, its easy to see a community of hard workers. Ranchers, farmers, and factory workers making morning commutes to work before the sun comes up. Small restaurants that remind you of moms cooking, football fields that pack outevery friday night in the fall no matter how good or bad the team is. When making a grocery run, we allow an extra 20 minutes to the trip to catch up with the people we are sure to run in to! This is Dalhart, this is the place I call home. And if i look a little deeper, you can see teenagers that have taken on the pressure of helping pay for the bills at home. You will see individuals struggle at the bank, waiting for a teller who can speak the same language as them. And truly, if you dig deep enough you'll find the domestic abuse, you'll find the ones who just can't seem to make ends meet, you'll find the ones who are battling a crippling addiction, the ones who can't afford new shoes each school year, or presents on Christmas. I see babies born without a support system, and other individuals who have to step in and wreck a family for the safety and wellness of everyone involved.
If we're honest with ourselves, we may not like what we find. But in any storm, if you are intentional about digging in the rubble, you will find beauty. You will find the elementary school teachers who go to work on Sundays to prepare for the week. I promise you will even find them in tears as they ask for prayers for their class, or that one student who is having a tough time. You'll find CASA volunteers sacrificing time out of their ALREADY busy lives to help make a difference for someone else. You'll find those super sweet nurses at the hospital who have stepped up to give those newborn babies an extra dose of love in a difficult situation. You'll find pastors who will cancel meetings to make sure you're okay You'll find police officers who step up to put the safety of you and your family first. The beautiful truth is that there are dozens of people like this in my community, dozens of people who selflessly give, and love and listen and pray. My heart is always warmed and daily reminded that "its gonna be worth it." But on more than a few occasions, I've heard a few statements that have left me numb. A few statements that absolutely sting, and leave me feeling hopeless.
"Dalhart embarrasses me." "I hate that this is home" I've heard this a few times and it completely breaks my heart. Yes there are problems here, and yes people need help, but rather than turning our cheek and rolling our eyes, we can be the ones who improve our community! Last time I talked about being an encouragement to a stranger, now i ask that you actually care. Not because there are people watching, or because you are a christian, or because they might've showed up at your church once but because these are God's people! I dare you to be so bold with your love for the Lord that you actually let it produce fruit in your life! That you actually allow your heart to break for what breaks His. That you would actually ask for the scales to be removed from your eyes to see the needs in front of our faces. There are already people in the trenches. There are people on their knees praying for the people of Dalhart, so please be mindful the next time you openly talk about how embarrassing it is to live here.
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:35-37
This is our mandate. This is our call, believe me when i say, you are not alone. I have made the commitment to be right there with you!