DayBreak—an after school program and Saturday outreach ministry—began as all good things begin. A few people saw a need that God had been preparing their hearts to meet. One of those few was Julia Harper.
In 2000, a group of people held a carnival as an outreach to the children of their community. Julia Harper was among those who had been praying and looking for a way they could minister to kids in one of the neediest communities in the city. “God was exposing me to the people He was grooming me to serve—He was preparing my heart to serve.”
In the midst of a season in which Julia felt as if God was calling her to focus—stop and listen to His voice—DayBreak happened. “I wanted to serve. I thought I’d be a teacher; I never in my wildest dreams thought DayBreak would be the means God used for me to serve,” she says.
What exists today, in the form of DayBreak Ministries, is a program for inner-city kids—specifically children who live in Lincoln Heights—that offers after-school programming, tutoring, and Bible studies. DayBreak is designed to give neighborhood kids a place to play, study, and have a meal.
While it is a staffed organization, volunteers make the work happen. Most of the volunteers who serve with DayBreak are single 20- or 30-somethings who have the time and ability to use resources at this stage in life. “God has ordained our volunteers to be here, and He then makes sure that they have all they need,” Julia says. “They’ve been used powerfully, not because they look like they fit the part, but because God has a plan for them to be here.”
As for fears, Julia is at ease in what some would view as a dangerous environment: “I’m called to be here. God has hemmed me in on every side. If something happens to me, then I know that God’s hand is on me and He’s allowed that to happen because He’s going to further ministry through it.”
She reflects on what has become of the stirrings in her heart: “I had no idea what this was going to turn into.” She listened to the Lord and acted on it—the rest is history.
Find out more about DayBreak Ministries and follow their blog at daybreakkids.org.
This profile is an excerpt from the short-term study Get Uncomfortable.