Monday, March 17, 2008
This past week I've had opportunity to observe people and demographics (statistics about people). What I want to report, is "I spy with my little eye..."
And it is BIGGER than a breadbox!
We traveled to Dallas this week to the Baptist General Conference of Texas orientation. There we could have sung the children's song, "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red and yellow black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world." Not really children, but adults of all the colors of the rainbow met to discuss the resources available to us by the BGCT. Russ and I were encouraged by the diversity and refreshed by the mind-share that happened when we all sat down to share stories and ideas.
We spied another people group...this time at the airport. We traveled one of the busiest times of the year in Rio Grande Valley (near South Padre if that tells you anything). Yes. Spring Break. Every flight was full. In fact, overbooked by 10 passengers each flight. That plus Southwest Airlines being grounded on Wednesday due to flying airplanes that were not cleared to fly (some sort of noncompliance issue that was being addressed). Well, you can imagine, this created the perfect environment for unhappy people! Add to that the already drunk college guys who used colorful language and had very few goals other than satisfying their more baser desires. Helped us realize just how many are out there who are willing to sacrifice any sense of life purpose to fulfill instant gratification.
And finally, I want to leave you with those demographics. The BGCT gave us the stats for a 5-mile radius of our church. This gives us so much to pray about and to figure out ways to help our community.
Hispanic: 88.5% (97% in the schools)
African American: 3%
Asian/Pacific Islander: .1%
Median Age: 30.3
Of adults 25+ years, 49.9% with no high school diploma, 24$% are high school graduates, 16.6% have some college, and only 9% have a college degree or higher.
Households by Income Level:
Less than $15,000, 32.4%
$15,000 to $24,999, 17%
$25,000 to $34,999, 13.1%
$35,000 to $49,999, 14.7%
$50,000 to $74,999, 12.8%
$75,000 to $99,999, 5.5%
$100,00 to $149,999, 3.2%
$150,00 and up, 1.3%
Keep in mind, those incomes are by household, not individuals. And some households are holding down 3 to 4 jobs (between husband and wife, and either an adult child or a parent living in the same house).
I spy a people who have a love for family and a strong work ethic. They are loyal and enjoy life. But there is a large section of the population who is looking for something MORE. And a lot of children and teens who are bored and scared. They align with a gang early for protection and affiliation.
We have our work cut out for us, and we're grateful for the resources available through the BGCT.
This summer we hope to offer 3 different children's weeks at the church: Vacation Bible School, Soccer Camp, and Music/Band Camp. We are looking into offering some sort of after-school tutoring program, and computer lab, as well as getting a computer program that helps equip those who want to test for their GED. We have something like nine active teachers in our church, and about five retired teachers.
One word? HOPE!