The apostle John tells us that the streets in heaven are paved with gold (Revelation 21:21). One might expect that there would be plenty of available parking, too.
Parking is one of the great tribulations of this imperfect world. Indeed, sometimes a mere parking space will have value far beyond any rational considerations. San Francisco comes to mind. The city fathers there are now planning to spend $95 million to develop street sensors and a Smartphone app, all to aid the poor, churlish souls circling the city’s lots like a flock of screeching seagulls on Fisherman’s Wharf; vying for a half-eaten, long-abandoned crab sandwich.
Every saint knows at least one righteous person who has prayed in earnest for a parking space. Will Rogers put it perfectly, “Politics ain’t worrying this country one-tenth as much as where to find a parking space.”
We’ve got a serious parking problem at our Flint campus. Our ministry is stuck, literally and figuratively, until we can fix it. We need to pave about 15,000 square feet of parking lot. It has reached the critical stage. Depending on how much prep work needs to be done, this will cost around $30,000.
Rarely does the ministry face a financial challenge of this magnitude. In Flint, we inherited a burden we knew would be heavy. The building needed a lot of repair, furniture found, walls removed, walls put in, walls painted, floors replaced. We rolled up our sleeves and, with the help of many wonderful, giving churches and individual volunteers, we were able to completely refurbish the interior of the building, install a new kitchen, a new chapel and make the rooms comfortable, safe and clean for our students. God provided the people and resources for the work as he has always done.
Now we pray in earnest for something we didn’t really factor into the equation when we started, something we now know we can’t move forward without. A parking lot. $30,000.
Brian Burrell, Flint’s Program Director, says it’s the worst parking lot he’s ever seen (and he says he’s parked in some pretty questionable spots). “There are huge craters and ruts,” he says, “especially down the side drive. We’ve filled them the best we can with rocks, but somebody’s car is going to get severely damaged eventually.” He says the problem is acute at night, for instance when the Life Challenge bus returns from a trip to the Detroit Campus. There are also many anxious moments when guests come to the campus, like when we host lunches and open houses. People come unprepared for the harrowing adventure that is our parking lot. “After a rain, you can go fishing in the lot, the craters fill and there is little drainage,” says Brian, “so it’s changing and getting worse all the time.”
Flint Life Challenge needs a parking lot from heaven, not the one we’ve got. A ministry like ours should be safe, secure, well-functioning and clean. A wag once said “anyplace worth its salt has a parking problem.” That may be true for restaurants, but when it comes to setting a table in the wilderness, we believe that “anyplace truly worth its salt should welcome its guests with a safe place to park.”
If you would like to donate to help us raise funds for our new lot, click here.