A devout Christian recounts how she ended up founding a ministry in Ohio.
Debut author Matthews knew from a young age that she was called by God to become “a missionary in the inner city.” Her faith was extremely strong and, through prayer, she decided to stay in her hometown of Akron to teach children in urban communities. This formed the first step in Matthews’ journey to founding Urban Vision in 1992, a ministry that she now leads with her husband, Rodney, where she works with “brothers and sisters of different cultures, to walk the path of ministry together.” The ministry began with Kids Clubs, run by Matthews, where as many as 20 children came to her house for “homework assistance.” She hoped that helping them to succeed academically would begin to break the cycle of poverty. Often, Matthews questioned her ability to spread the Word of God, thinking that she was “just ordinary Jodi,” yet she felt confident that God had “given me a voice to declare the Word of the Lord to the next generation in our little corner of the world.” Matthews’ experience has taught her that, “working with children in the city…so many of them just needed love, attention, and the Truth of God spoken into their lives.” This work deftly shows how the author’s unshakable faith has guided her on an admirable path of helping people—especially children—who need guidance, support, and a safe space to learn and pray if they wish. Though it’s clear that Matthews is deeply religious, this absorbing and heartfelt book focuses on the worthy programs she has founded in her ministry, such as a Bible study for mothers and literacy programs for non-English-speaking children. Whether or not readers share the author’s belief system, they should appreciate how deeply committed she has been to her community for more than 25 years. Furthermore, Matthews has managed to deliver a richly detailed, eye-opening look at how Christian ministries can positively impact communities without attempting to convert readers to her religion.
An inspiring account of Christian faith that should appeal to readers hoping to learn more about how ministries can support children and families economically and academically.