Excerpt of Letter written in 2003 from Former OCO Director, Dante Upshaw
When I (Dante Upshaw) surrendered to the call to be an urban disciple of Christ Jesus, I did not anticipate that following Him would mean serving in the suburbs. The last place on earth that I desired to be or thought that I would be useful was in an upper middle class Christian community. One lesson, of the many, my Lord is teaching me as I preach it to others is don’t keep Him in a box! He is too great and awesome to be limited by our fears and prejudices, even when we mask them behind our ministry expectations. And to think, I almost missed out on being a part of His equipping process for students to the cities of the world.
I am so excited to be a part of the establishing of a new ministry through the Office of Christian Outreach that is committed to mobilizing our campus community to be bridges to the cities of the world. Over the past several years, the urban-focused organizations National City Ministries and Rebuilders suffered a great decline in interest and participation. NCM sent out their last team in the summer of 2000 and we decided to end Rebuilders last spring. This raised considerable concern and led us to seek the Lord for His heart and plan for the urban direction of our office. Last spring, after a powerful BreakAway missions trip to New York City, I felt the Lord impress upon my heart to seek out students in order to establish a new urban ministry. I was humbled and amazed as I watched the Spirit of the Lord orchestrate divine appointments and craft a cabinet of diverse students that felt called to urban ministry. Under the chair direction of Sung Yeon Choi and six other cabinet members, Global Urban Perspectives has taken on the responsibility of raising the awareness of our campus community to global urban issues. Their plan is to initiate programs that will keep our campus in touch with the realities of urban life, and then send out summer teams to cities around the world.
Over this past year we have watched our campus get reignited with a passion to see what God is doing in the city. This has been a challenging foundational year as we have struggled to gain a handle on what will be the identity of GUP. We are so thankful at the same time for the support from administration, faculty, staff and students as we look to take on a task that many would describe as Mission Impossible.
A great reason to celebrate God’s goodness is the fact that we will be sending out the first summer ministry teams for GUP in 2003. I praise the Lord for this group of global urban pioneers! The seven of them along with the cabinet have been fully involved in training and preparation since last December. Your prayers that the Lord of the Harvest would raise up workers for His harvest field have been answered. Please continue to pray for them, and the future growth of Global Urban Perspectives.