Friday, January 4
The Presbytery of the Pacific
Oportunidad is a Christian outreach ministry serving the mostly Latino-a community in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It is the passion of Julia Garcia, who emigrated from Mexico and now serves as a ruling elder at United University Church (UUC), a Presbyterian and Methodist union congregation located on the campus of the University of Southern California. Julia was in need herself but heard the call of Christ to address not just her own needs but the needs of the wider community.
Oportunidad’s clients are homeless. They come to the U.S. seeking a better life for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, most find life in the U.S. to be much different than they dreamed. As non-English-speakers with minimal skills and no proper documentation, they find not prosperity but poverty and end up living in alleys or under bridges. They sell their services as jornaleros (day laborers). Many turn to alcohol and drugs to “medicate” their pain.
In 2005 UUC became Oportunidad’s fiscal agent and began to help with its feeding program. UUC’s pastor, Rev. Frank Wulf, started a weekly Bible study, and Oportunidad clients began attending Sunday services. Last year UUC launched a bilingual service and is now known as “the church of Oportunidad.”
Recently several clients cooked pots of lentil soup for hungry people in the park. They gathered clothing for those whose clothing was falling apart. They collected toys for the children of homeless families. When asked why they did this, they responded, “Jesus helped us. We need to help others in his name.”
God has blessed this ministry of limited resources and humble origins with great abundance!
The Presbytery of the Pacific serves 11,565 members of 49 congregations.
Let us join in prayer for:
Elder Thomas O. Fleming Jr., member, PMA Board
Elder Noelle Royer, member, PMA Board
Rev. Linda L. Culbertson, general presbyter
Rev. Wendy Tajima, stated clerk/associate general presbyter
Rev. Bill Hazen, assistant to the general presbyter for pastoral care and leadership support
Rev. Heidi Worthen Gamble, mission advocate for hunger, poverty, and peacemaking concerns
Kathy Porter, director, resource center
Douglas Rozendahl, director of financial services
Veronica Sanchez-Morales, executive assistant
Betty Simen, bookkeeper
Young Adult Volunteers
Kendra Jo Allen and Karena Malmgren,community development interns, Hollywood DOOR site
Let us pray
Dear God, we thank you for the miracle of the loaves and fishes. We thank you that we continue to experience the miracle of abundance when we offer what we have in Jesus’ name. Amen.