Susan Wraith, 37, is a recovered heroin addict who lives in inner city Chicago. "You can still see the needle marks here on my arm from where I used to shoot up," says Wraith, standing on a street corner. "I used to sell our food stamps, my kids' toys—you name it—for drugs."But I've been clean for five years now," she proudly adds. Wraith lives with her two young children on Chicago's densely populated Northwest Side. "We need Jesus in this neighborhood," she says. "Every night, somebody's getting shot." Wraith's 6-year-old son, Stevie, was born with heroin in his system. "He's okay now," she says in a raspy voice, shuffling her feet. "I always tell him, 'You've got to have God in your life.' "Wraith says she found God at a women's home a few years ago when she finally came clean. "I've been sliding away from church though," she admits.Southern Baptists hoped to reach people like Wraith last month when they kicked off their Strategic Cities Initiative, an effort to evangelize America's major cities during the next three years. The pilot event in Chicago gathered over 5,000 Southern Baptists, including 2,200 out-of-town volunteers, to participate in door-to-door evangelism, block parties, and clothing giveaways in some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. The turnout was far below initial projections of 100,000 volunteers.
Nestled in the heart of the Humboldt Park neighborhood is the Chicago Grace Place, just around the corner from Wraith's house. A ministry of the Chicago Metropolitan Baptist Association (CMBA), Grace Place was one of the many ministries that attracted Chicagoans on Saturday, July 8, as part of SearchLight, the peak event of evangelism-based activities planned for the summer. Several hundred neighborhood ...1
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