I didn’t know I could get the “cheapest goat meat in town” 20 minutes from my college. I didn’t know there was a Somali Mall and a Spanish Panadería (bakery) so close by. I didn’t know that there are plans to build the largest mosque in Minnesota (and much of the Midwest) right across from Bethlehem Baptist’s (the church where John Piper pours out his wisdom every Sunday) downtown St. Paul campus.
“God’s making it easier for us; he’s bringing all nations here,” said John Mayer, president of City Vision as we rode a school bus over the Phillips neighborhood, a place once called “Murderapolis.” Now, the murderous gangs and point-blank shooting that characterized this area only a few years ago have been replaced by a thriving blend of culture and religion. The Phillips Neighborhood is ruled by a conglomeration of Somalis, Hispanics, Native Americans, and everything else in between.
Within this blend of humanity, City Vision, a non-profit, works to make Christians aware of their surroundings and then pushes them to action. City Vision is in it for the spread of the gospel to all peoples, specifically the enormous populations of Somalis, homosexuals, Mormons, and Buddhists living in the Twin Cities area. I saw bits of cultures that I didn’t even know existed in Minnesota, much less 20 minutes away from my little Christian college. There is definitely poverty here, but even more striking is the need for the gospel.
During the tour, Mayer repeatedly said, “Even people from countries closed to the gospel have come here. God’s just making it easier for us to spread the gospel.” I felt like God was hammering into my brain: “You have no excuse.” And we really don’t. We have no reason to keep to our Christian “bubbles” and avoid sharing the gospel. These people are literally just down the street, and they are desperately in need of the gospel.