Russ and Stacy Sweeney and their three children lived in an affluent area in Atlanta, Georgia. Each week they faithfully attended church but felt something was missing. They became tired of “church as usual.”
Together they embarked on a journey of prayer with an intense search of scripture and the writings of Ellen White. They came out the other side convinced that God was calling them to minister to those less fortunate.
Within months, they and their three young children moved into an apartment in the middle of an economically-deprived housing community near downtown Atlanta. Despite their vehicle being stolen several times and the occasional sound of gunfire at night, they continue to model Christ’s method of mingling with people, winning their confidence and showing His love.
I visited the Sweeney’s last year. One of their neighbors told me: “The only time I let my son out to play is when I see Rustin’s kids out there. Then I know it’s OK.”
Each day is an adventure. One day Rustin chased down two guys who had stolen bikes from neighborhood kids. “I’ve set up Tuesday night Bible studies with one of them,” he wrote to me. “That’s how we meet people in our neighborhood.”
Not all of us are called to follow Rustin and Stacy in their type of inner-city ministry. But all of us are called to meet and mingle with people like Jesus. One of Rustin’s favorite quotes from Ellen White says: “We are to do the seeking, striving to place ourselves in direct contact with those needing help” (Testimonies for the Church, volume 8, page 76).
Thank you for your continuing prayers and support for Global Mission pioneers around the world who, like Rustin and Stacy, are putting themselves daily in direct contact with those in need.
To connect with people in Manhattan, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has established a center of influence called Life Hope Center Bryant Park.
Mission 360° features inspiring stories about mission work.
One day while Rajah was holding a Bible study, a mob approached his house, brandishing sticks and swords.