Visions in South Chattanooga
And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb."Revelation 21:23
Alton Park, South Chattanooga is a small community nestled between St. Elmo, Downtown Chattanooga, and Rossville, GA.
The primary features on West 38 Street are the Alton Park Villages (a low-income housing property), the Bethlehem Center, Momma's Restaraunt, a few churches, and two convenient stores.
You won't see any grocery stores, big or small, in Alton Park. You won't find any other restaurants, or even any fast food joints. Alton Park is a food dessert.
Furthermore, city data states that the average household income is noticeably lower than the median household income of the state, and that the unemployment rate is "significantly" higher than the state median. (City Data)
To give you a numerical picture, in 2004, average individual's income (after taxes) was $16,578, compared to the state average of $44,088. That is 38% lower than the income of the average Tennessee resident. (City Data)
The average value of a house or condo belonging to an African American here is $66,5587, according to City Data.
Only 4 of 1st - 8th graders are enrolled in private schools, and only 46 students are enrolled in private undergraduate colleges.
You can see young men roaming the streets day and night looking for a purpose.
As barren as Alton Park sounds, it is rich with examples of God's glory.
Being a Christ-centered mission, we acknowledge that the Lord is the ONLY one who has the power to turn the face of Alton Park around.
He is, as Jeremiah 30:17 says, the one who will "restore health to you, and heal you of your wounds...because they called you an outcast,".We know that God has been, and will continue to restore this community, and the world, because He loves us with a love that caused Him to send His Son Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins.
This is God's mission, and His plan for the world.
Some Recent Blessings
In the last month alone, we have seen God mobilize his people to begin to break the yoke of hopelessness, poverty, illiteracy, joblessness, gang violence, and blind living like never before.
On January 24, 2015, God called at least 30 pastors and community members together in Alton Park, to call on Him in unison with many other groups all over the city of Chattanooga. They poured out their hearts to the Lord asking Him not for justice, but to show mercy on the perpetrators of violence, and gangs in this community. They asked the Lord to keep the children safe, and grow them up in Jesus, that they might know that God loves them. They prayed over our city officials. They asked for wisdom and unity, in Jesus name.
On February 3, 2015, we had the first of many parenting classes to come at the Bethlehem Center. The Lord has shown us we need to empower and mobilize parents to take ownership of their children's futures. They need to know that they have been created with amazing gifts, for wonderful works that can help the world see that when it was created, and when we were created, it was for good. So on Feb. 3, First Things First hosted the first of many parenting classes. Eleven parents showed up to learn how to raise their children, and they will return for the second session on February 10.
On February 4, 2015, God-loving men and women who work all over Alton Park, Saint Elmo, and the city of Chattanooga, showed up to pray and brainstorm about ways to meet the needs of those young men and women in the community that wander the streets aimlessly, hurting to be acknowledged, and taught so that they can teach others.
This is just the beginning. God loves the people here in South Chattanooga with a fierce love, and He is moving to restore their dignity and help them see His love. We ask for your continued prayers as He does. Ask God to send more helpers, and prepare the hearts of the hurting people in Alton Park South Chattanooga. Ask Him to stop the violence, and for the community, and entire city to be radiant with the our Lord's glory.
May the Lord bless you and cause you to see His face.