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The following is a part of our weekly devotional series, which is a companion to the 2013 Foursquare Life Journal. This week’s Bible reading comes from Ps. 123, 128, 130 and 137; Ezek. 40-48; Dan. 5-10; Luke 1-5; and Rev. 21-22.

Growing up in Connecticut, I could have been voted the least likely to live in the city. I love the countryside with its rolling hills and sparkling rivers and lakes. When my husband, Paul, proposed, I made him promise me we would never move to his native New Jersey.

But God had other plans.

Not only did God move us to New Jersey, but 16 years ago He also called us to minister in the inner city of Elizabeth. Then, in 2004, God asked our family to leave the suburbs and move within the city, a block from the toughest projects around.

Through the love of God, we continue to battle problems of poverty, substance abuse, crime and hopelessness in our community. Five years ago, we opened a mission where we are able to demonstrate His love to thousands of families. Our work has expanded beyond our city to our county. We have helped form coalitions that are bringing about changes in the treatment of substance abuse, homelessness and hunger. Our region is changing!

When Hurricane Sandy hit in Oct. 2012, we were able to expand our services to our region and state. Now God has opened the door for us to mentor missions throughout North America. God has given us His love for our community, and He continues to enlarge our borders.

“The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance’ ” (Luke 5:30-32, NASB).

Jesus hung out with sinners. He taught them, forgave them, healed them and loved them unconditionally. Jesus engaged people in their communities. The majority of His ministry was done as He walked through the land. Jesus was intentional in His ministry, sending His disciples out to do the same. Jesus calls us to follow Him to engage and transform our communities.

God has strategically placed you and your church in your community for such a time as this. How can your church help meet the needs of your community?

A final note: It is has been such a blessing to see how God has used our failures and successes to accomplish His will in our lives. Our daughters have overcome the challenges they faced to become strong women of God. For me, it is such joy to do what I was created to do. Thank you, Jesus, for the privilege of serving my dear community!

By: Karen Yuschak, co-pastor of StreetLight (Elizabeth Foursquare Church) in Elizabeth, N.J. Read more about the Yuschak family

Download the yearlong reading plan (PDF, 80 KB), or sign up for the full, online version of the Life Journal. To purchase a Life Journal for your own use, or to place a bulk order for church-wide use, visit Learn more about Foursquare’s 2013 Life Journal project.

is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Orlando, Fla.