Sent Ones Stories

Serving the Inner City

Joseph fully surrendered his life to Jesus during a Cru summer project. That summer, he prayed, “Lord, just in case you didn’t know, I’m 100% yours. I’m giving up everything that I thought was going to be mine in this life and I’m turning it over to you.”

Joseph and his wife, Tara, now serve Jesus in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, where they live and minister in the inner-city among the marginalized. Neighbors will often see Joseph talking with a homeless man or woman, buying them a slice of pizza, or offering to pray for them as he walks home from work.

Once a month, Joseph and Tara lead a ministry to prisoners in a local jail. While this takes effort and time to organize, they believe they are more blessed through their experience than the inmates they serve. Joseph even considers one of the prisoners a modern-day Paul who takes the Gospel to other inmates who are incarcerated with him. Their monthly ministry also allows many people from their church and community to join with them in serving by their side.

In addition to their prison ministry, Tara loves ministering to refugee children and helping them learn English. One of Tara’s students came with them to church one day. During the sermon he wrote down words he didn’t understand. He wrote words like grace and mercy. He didn’t know what they meant. After the service Tara had an opportunity to explain the words to him and share about God’s grace and mercy for him.

Joseph and Tara see God do great things in and through them during their time off, but it doesn’t stop there. The Lord is using Joseph in his corporate job as well. When he first started his job, he was sitting in a meeting with about a hundred new hires and the CEO asked, “Who are some people who have had the greatest impact on the world?” Several people responded with former presidents and influential figures. Then Joseph raised his hand and said, “I believe Jesus Christ has changed the world.” The CEO asked, “Why do you say that?” Joseph responded by briefly sharing about Christ’s love for the world. Immediately after the meeting, Joseph’s teammate called his girlfriend and said, “You’ll never believe who I’m going to be working with, some kind of Jesus freak!”

This teammate never imagined what God would do next. Over the next few months, Joseph and this teammate developed a close friendship. They spent a lot of time together as they were both new to the city. They became so close that a few years later Joseph stood by his friend as a groomsman when he married the girl he called on the phone that day. While his friend has yet to become a follower of Jesus, he now respects Joseph for his faith and knows that you don’t have to be a “freak” to follow Jesus.

The training and experiences Joseph and Tara had in Cru as students helped prepare them to live a lifestyle of intentionality for Jesus. They serve the Lord as they work hard at their jobs and love their co-workers. Then, after work, they give their time to serve the poor and marginalized in their city. They are working to make Philadelphia truly a city of brother love.

Joseph and Tara are Sent Ones!

Want to learn more? Check out Inner City and ApartmentLife.org.

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