OTHERS – Helping in the Harvest: The Grant Family
One of the reasons supporting missionaries and being involved in ministry is so important to me is because my family and I were missionaries. We served in the inner city of Los Angeles with the organization World Impact. My dad taught in World Impact’s Los Angeles Christian School and we lived not far from downtown, near the families we ministered to.
I learned so much and met lots of amazing people during the 2 years we were there. The Grants were one family we met. Todd and Jennifer live in Watts as World Impact church planters along with their 4 kids and now 3 foster kids. When our families got together, which was fairly often, the house was packed.
I recently asked Mrs. Grant about their ministry.
What are some things you do as church planters?
We share Jesus with others through whatever opportunities He gives us. We live in our neighborhood so we can share Christ with our neighbors during our everyday activities. We also teach and disciple believers through Bible Clubs, Bible Studies and one on one relationships. Todd is the pastor of our church and preaches each Sunday. We also minister to our neighborhood through our medical clinic, literacy activities, sports ministries, youth groups, and outreaches. In the fall we will assist in starting an elementary school at our ministry site.
How is a typical Sunday/Church service for you different than a typical Sunday/Church service elsewhere?
We serve breakfast before our first service and lunch after our second service. We don’t expect people to wear dress clothes, because many people in our community don’t have them. Some people dress up, but most don’t, and everyone is welcome no matter what they are wearing. Our congregation is very diverse, and often includes people from different neighborhoods (which means they have crossed gang territories to come), different ethnicities, different counties and even different countries. Sometimes people are struggling with their addictions and may come to church under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many children come without their families. Also, our service usually lasts about 2-2 ½ hours. Our music is diverse too, and may include praise songs and Christian hip hop or rap.
What are some of the challenges you face while witnessing to these people?
Often we encounter people who say they are Christians, but they haven’t really trusted Christ as their Savior and they don’t walk with Him daily as their Lord. They don’t realize that having Jesus as your Savior makes a difference in the daily choices and decisions one makes. Many in our community say they believe there is a God, but they don’t have a personal relationship with Him. They equate being a Christian with being religious. Also, many people are addicted to drugs and alcohol or are caught in generational patterns of sin. These strongholds can only be broken by the power of Jesus’ name, but many people mistakenly believe they must clean themselves up before coming to Christ.
What are some ways you’ve seen God at work in Watts?
We have had the amazing privilege of seeing God work in a number of ways. We have seen Him set people free from addictions, give the homeless a home, provide jobs, provide food, provide volunteers, and change hearts! Todd has had the privilege of marrying 3 couples since PowerHouse was launched and marriage is virtually unheard of in Watts.
What are some things you’ve learned since ministering in Watts?
Spiritually, I’ve learned a much deeper reliance on Christ. I am learning to trust Him more and more each day. My prayer life has been strengthened. I treasure His word more and more.
Practically, I’ve gotten a taste of what it means to live in an urban environment. There are armed guards at our grocery store. Our home was robbed by people in our community. Our fence was broken down and our dog was tasered by the police. Our street has been shut down for hours because of a tactical alert, and we could not get in or out. I’ve seen dead bodies in the street and I hear gunshots on a regular basis. I’ve learned that racism is still rampant in our country. I have seen blatant injustice and hatred.
Personally, I’ve been blessed with great neighbors and wonderful deep friendships with people in our church and community. I’ve been touched by the generosity of my neighborhood. I have learned that you cannot judge a community by what you see on the evening news. I’ve been moved by the joy of worshipping with a diverse group of believers because it gives us a little taste of what heaven will be like.
“Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude...shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty reigns.’”
How to Help
What are some things we can be praying about for you?
Pray that God would continue to move in mighty ways and draw people to Himself, and that He would use us to further His kingdom by equipping us to share His message of redemption boldly and competently.
Pray for our children, that they would all trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior and follow passionately after Him.
Pray for safety and for peace in our community.
Pray that new believers would be encouraged in their faith and would be able to leave old sin habits and patterns behind.
How might someone sign up to receive your monthly prayer letters?
They can email me their name and address and I will make sure they receive them. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there a way to give online to you?
Yes, visit www.worldimpact.org and click on “Give” change designation to “Staff by Name” and choose Grant, Todd and Jennifer
Or you can go to our missionary homepage http://www.worldimpactla.org/missionaries/results.php?NameID=8 and click on “ give”
Are there ways for people to volunteer and come to help you, either for just a day or perhaps a whole summer?
Yes, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer. We love to have folks come for whatever time they can and minister with us. Some of the groups and individuals have done building maintenance, health fairs, VBS, prayer walks, tutoring, life skills teaching, art clinics and a variety of other ministries. Please email us if you are interested in serving here in Watts.
Would it be okay if any of our readers email or write to you?
I would love to hear from your readers.
In Your Community
I asked Mrs. Grant if she ever imagined herself working in Watts. She said, “I felt called to missions as a child, but I had always imagined being overseas. God opened my eyes to the deep needs here in our own nation.” That reminded me that I am a missionary right here in my own neighborhood. There is, as she says, great needs even here in our own backyard! In fact, that is the reason my family chose to move into a suburban-type neighborhood, so that we can be closer to other people.
One of the needs and challenges of my neighborhood is people thinking they are saved just because they are religious. The Grants face the same challenge, so I wondered how they reach people like that. I realized that I can do exactly what the Grants do: We live in our neighborhood so we can share Christ with our neighbors during our everyday activities. As I live my life completely devoted to God, my neighbors will see the difference between the way they are “Christians” and the way I follow God—and they will probably want to know why. It is just like Jesus says in Matthew 5:16.
What challenges do YOU face in reaching your neighborhood for Christ?
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
By Rachel R.