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December 21, 2020

Welcome neighbor

Written by  Michael Booth

God is taking EMM in a new direction. EMM is venturing forth into the city — to an ideal location on North Prince Street. Lancaster City is a beautiful place that I have come to appreciate. I am so grateful our God has called me into Lancaster, and I’m encouraged that God has called EMM too.

When I was a student at Lancaster Bible School, I would go with a few other students into the city, sharing the gospel and our faith. Some students were terrified at first because of misconceptions about the city and its people. But I reminded them God was here with us.

Placed in the city

God has called us to be reconcilers and peacemakers. We represent another kingdom—the Kingdom of God. He placed me in the city to demonstrate the love of Christ and to dispense the grace of God. And I believe He has placed EMM in the city for that reason, too.

I wanted to be a missionary, and God called me to be a missionary in a challenging neighborhood in southeast Lancaster City. I love my neighborhood, and I love the people. My community looks like the United Nations. There is such diversity in the city. There are people here from all over the world. This is where God has placed me and where EMM will be.

EMM is bringing a Mennonite beachhead to Lancaster. The organization won’t stay the same once here. There are good people in the city. Be encouraged about all the good things that are happening here. The organization is going to have a lot of fun learning to love this place!

Here for Jesus

The city is changing; there’s a real lack of affordable housing. Lancaster City hasn’t been totally gentrified yet; some have been chased out—but some of us aren’t going anywhere! We’re here for the gospel of Jesus Christ; we’re here to love people and to serve people. What I do in Lancaster is to love people and deal with all the craziness and everything that goes on. It’s all part of city life. The city is a beautiful place. God is here. Jesus is here. Soon EMM will be here, and I’m excited to see what God will do.

Michael Booth is a co-pastor at RiversEdge Fellowship in Lancaster, Pa. He has previously served as a campus pastor at Water Street Mission for eight years and as a prison chaplain at Lancaster County Prison for five years. He is married to Eliza Booth, and they have a son, Kordell.

This article appears in the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of Missionary MessengerSign up to receive more inspiring stories like this one in our magazine.

Published in Articles, Local stories