Monday, November 5, 2012

Casa De Luz

When we finished our Q & A with Det. Baughman, Terra brought us over to a neighborhood called Naked City.  It used to be one of the highest crime area's in the city of Las Vegas.  Drugs, murder, prostitution, theft, you  name it, they probably had it.  But then Casa De Luz moved in.  Since they began their ministry to the people in this neighborhood, crime has dropped down to a 20% rating and the streets are much safer.
However, it doesn't mean that the lives of the people who live here are any less hard.  This neighborhood is very impoverished.  Most of what we drove past looked abandoned and broken down.  Casa De Luz actually took up residence in an abandoned apartment complex.  They only have part of it up and running at this point thanks to a generous donation from a philanthropist in the city.  But they have plans for more.  What they do here is distribute food to the hungry and homeless.  More importantly than that, they distribute the love of Jesus to whoever walks through the gate.

When you enter Casa, you walk into a courtyard.  This is also the church.  It is beautiful in it's rugged simplicity. The murals reflect the Glory of God.  It is peaceful and serene.  A refuge in a harsh place.
When we first stopped by, Terra told us we were going to see if they needed help with anything.  At first I was taken off guard, maybe I was suffering from jet lag.  At least that's what I'm gonna call it.

However, when we were done with our tour and our talk with Pastor Ryan, there was no work for us to do. I left feeling bereft.  I caught some of the vision of the place and wanted to put my hands to the task of helping out.
Part of the mission statement of Casa, that I copied from their website: is this:
Casa de Luz also serves as an outreach center for churches throughout the United States. For Christians seeking to get out of their comfort zones and serve on the front lines in a way that transforms lives, Casa de Luz provides a myriad of outreach and missions opportunities. We have been blessed with the respect and support of many prominent leaders within our local government, business community, faith community and law enforcement; and we have partnered alongside them in events aimed at providing assistance and hope to the poor of Las Vegas.
After having visited, and met two of their pastors, I am pretty confident that I can recommend this place as an awesome mission trip opportunity for a youth group, college group, or even a family.

We were warmly received by Pastor Ryan even though we had no appointment.  And although we didn't get to meet Pastor Chris that day, we did meet up with him on Saturday night.  Pastor Chris is the main pastor, and Pastor Ryan is his father-in-law. I believe that Pastor Ryan told us that there were actually 5 or 6 pastors that worked with Casa De Luz. Pastor Ryan shared some cool stories with us, showed us around and made us feel welcome.  I would enjoy going back some day to volunteer and work alongside of the people there. They really seem to understand the Christian's calling to get out and do something to help others.
The people of Casa de Luz are doing hard things, being obedient to the call, and loving others, loving the broken, the addicted, the dirty, and the lost in Jesus name.

I'm so glad we were able to see what they do, in a very small part, and how they operate.  I will be keeping them on my prayer list as they continue to be engaged in this battle.
Will you consider joining me? Casa De Luz relies on donations from others to keep operating. The people who use their services are often too poor to donate money themselves.  They rely on a volunteer work force to distribute food and other supplies. The pastors and volunteers are often putting themselves in dangerous places to witness to others and they are surrounded and aware of the spiritual warfare going on all around.  
Let's do our part and hold our brothers and sisters in Christ up in prayer. 
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