In seeking to encourage transformation of the South Side and its residents, the works of CLDI are targeted toward community revitalization, outreach, and discipleship. In regard to community revitalization, CLDI is committed to seek the shalom of our city, and in particular, the South Side. Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning wholeness, completeness, wellness, and welfare. As the people of God, we are called to seek the shalom of those we live among, especially among the most marginalized and vulnerable. To do so means that we live with kingdom principles that not only impact our own lives, but also of those we live among, whether friend or foe. In being salt and light, we are to live in such a way that others may see our good works and give glory to God in heaven. Therefore, we seek the welfare of the people, places, and institutions among us – schools, governments, businesses, neighbors and personal affairs – so as to fulfill the two great commandments to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves as we long to point all people to a life of knowing, loving, and following Jesus.
So what does this actually look like? Allow me to share one recent example and introduce you to Jim and Patty. Jim and Patty are long-term tenants of CLDI’s that have rented one of our properties for nearly 9 years… until recently that is. In striving to make the South Side a more livable community, an integral component to encouraging healthy, safe, neighborhoods is increasing homeownership. Homeowners place a greater value on their home, street, thus, community. In Billings proper, 70% of homes are homeowner occupied, whereas the South Side is just 38%! Can you imagine the negative impact this has on our community? With much joy, CLDI (in partnership with our friends at First Interstate Bank), worked to move Jim and Patty into homeownership, and on June 6, 2016, it was made official! I am confident their little corner of the community is all the better, as are Jim and Patty. We congratulate Jim and Patty as they begin homeownership! It is our prayer that as we seek the shalom of the community, those we call friends and neighbors come to know and praise the One from whom all life flows… our Lord Jesus Christ.