Henry Williams is numb. “Nothing tastes good, nothing is funny, nothing is fun.” Williams just lost his 3-year-old son, Messiah, to a drive-by shooting at his home near Franklin Avenue Mission in Flint. The shooting capped off a week of unrest that also included a man getting stabbed and a number of houses that were set on fire in Flint’s eastside.
Messiah was excited about Halloween this year, where he was going to dress up as Baby Yoda. Now his family is remembering him with Baby Yoda pictures throughout the house. Messiah’s grandfather David Hurley said, “He’s missed dearly, I’ll say his name every day for the rest of my life.”
The heartache continues throughout the community and at the mission, which has also lost members to the house fires. Rev. Christian Jones of Franklin Avenue Mission puts it clearly: “When we talk about people getting stabbed, when we talk about members losing their homes to fire bombings, but especially when we talk about little kids getting shot and killed and about gang crime and gunfire—this is demonic oppression.”
Every Sunday the church prays for peace and comfort for the community. FAM elder Michael Spight said, “We got to have faith in God. It’s in God’s hands that everything is going to be alright.”
Rev. Christian Jones wants the people in this community to remember that there is still hope: “We share the Gospel of Jesus, which is the hope, which is the light that no darkness can overcome.”
Franklin Avenue Mission and other urban ministries like it are supported by donations to the Innovative Missional Ministry emphasis of the Here We Stand Campaign. These ministries are the focus of our Giving Tuesday drive on December 1. Please consider donating to support these crucial ministries. To find out more about Franklin Avenue Mission, click here. To volunteer, go to michigandistrict.org/joinaministry.
Photos and video by Jeff Heisner/Michigan District, LCMS