Those who need the most assistance in Orange Mound are often the least visible to those who might help. Any one of us can put develop blinders to the needs. Anyone in need can be blind to the resources that exist.
Throughout our community you can find boarded windows and double-bolted doors enclosing darkened rooms with adults and children living inside. Orange Mound is behind enemy lines. The majority of our neighbors are single moms with 3 to 5 children.
They are not visible at all except to those who live there and those who see clips of crime on the news. Adversaries prowl the streets on hot summer nights, and disengaged grown-ups sit on hot porches during the day. Even they are unaware of the rich history of the neighborhood’s birth and prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The original professional, commercial, and residential up-scaled land plots now appear as a battleground. Once tree-lined streets with proud homes, the scene is now barren and bald. Infrastructure is patently disorganized.
It is a stretch to compare a house to a foxhole, but many in our neighborhood are sitting out life in their shallow dugouts blind and cut off to the many resources available. They have become desensitized to their surroundings while waiting for the rescue that government agencies and politicians have promised. Red Zone, OMOM, Christ Community Health Services, and Neighborhood Christian Center have all nobly shown up with supplies and reinforcements, but most of our citizens are shell-shocked and still afraid to peek above the ground level or through the crack in the flimsy front door.
We at The House where My Cup of Tea is percolating believe "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us" to preach that the victory is in sight and D-Day has arrived. Good news is here for our neighborhood and specifically for our female employees. We have established a beachhead in 38111, and we offer a cup of iced tea to the thirsty, healthy meals to the hungry, and an income stream to the diligent. There is shelter and a landscaped front yard has replaced the high weeds. A welcome mat offers a safe and secure first step for all who are ready to climb out of their foxholes onto a path of hope. We offer training, internships, and employment to any Orange Mound woman who will risk the challenge of being open to possible and probable change. We are establishing our employees as standards of righteousness on our 1/3 of an acre for the present and future times of peace. Transformed by tender care and deep healing, our ladies are no longer shy and apprehensive. They are a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. They are providing a secure shield of protection for their families and are armed for benevolent pursuit. As the Lord says through Isaiah 61:4, it is THEY who will rebuild the ancient ruins, and THEY will restore the places long devastated, and THEY will renew the ruined city. What the drug wars, male attrition, and urban neglect have succeeded in ravaging, the envoys now in place are ready to defend, and they are wearing boots and lipstick.
They too were once broken-hearted but are now stalwart. They were once timid and quaking in the battle zone but are now officers in the initiative. Strong women inspire more women to be strong. No committee or ministry or well-meaning program can do that alone. It is God’s job to transform the indigenous, and He uses the unlikely to do His marvelous bidding. Our Orange Mound employees at MY CUP OF TEA are family and a demographic that anyone would classify as a triple minority: poor, Black, and female. They, however, are warrior-ambassadors and undaunted, brimming with pluck. They are fearless and resolute. They care about their neighborhood and are proud to be on guard in it.
Once an eyesore, the corner of Semmes and Carnes has become a stake in the city square of shalom. Come and see what the Lord has done at My Cup of Tea through the women who are bringing stability and safe keeping to the war weary residents of our community. Enjoy a sip of one of our world-class teas and take a tour. You will catch the refrain of the chorus of conquest we are singing.