The Difference One Can Make – Hanging Tough in the Tenderloin
Key Bible Verse: “Everyone will know that the Lord does not need weapons to rescue his people. It is his battle, not ours.” – 1 Samuel 17:47
Bonus Reading: 1 Samuel 17:32-37
Leaving his job in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district one day, Roger Huang discovered that he had a flat tire.
While waiting for a tow truck, he watched a group of teens pick on a younger boy and wondered what he’d do if it were his son.
For the next eight years, Roger worked two jobs to support a rescue mission that he leads there. He also started a Christian school.
The 35-block neighborhood has at least 48 liquor stores and 14 porn shops. Some 10,000 homeless pass through it every night. Tenderloin averages three major crimes per hour.
Tired of it all, in 2004 Roger decided to get city leaders’ attention. He sat outside city hall on a hunger strike.
Prodded to action, Mayor Gavin Newsome initiated a “scrubdown”: the police department assigned more officers to walk the streets to detain those suspected of drug-related activity. The public works department ordered more sweepers to clean up.
One city supervisor studied limiting liquor licenses; another introduced legislation to prohibit new strip clubs and porn shops within 1,000 feet of schools, playgrounds, and daycare centers. After 33 days, when he felt the city had made enough progress, Roger ended his hunger strike.
—Rob Moll in Leadership
My Response: What should be turned around in my community? Where could I start?
Thought to Apply: God is always calling on us to do the impossible, [but] anything Jesus did here on earth is something we should be able to do, too.—Madeleine L’Engle
Adapted from Leadership (Summer/04)