Some of this year’s Advent partners have a pretty high profile among Indianapolis churches. In this piece, we wanted to introduce you to a ministry partner you may not have heard of, but who we think are doing great work in our city.
The mission statement of LYN (Love Your Neighbor) House is simple: to build “transformative Christ-centered partnerships with neighbors through which economic, relational and spiritual poverty are alleviated.” The nonprofit is based in the Windsor Park neighborhood (just northeast of Woodruff Place), in a building owned by Indy First Church. With that neighborhood as their epicenter, LYN House works with Indianapolis residents on several fronts.
“All of us are living in some sort of poverty,” said Heidi Lyda, the director of LYN House. Economic poverty is the most obvious need they try to address; right now, LYN House primarily ministers in the area through arranging tutoring for school-age children. They also hold summer youth camps, and do job development work when they have the capacity.
But economic poverty isn’t the only form they try to address; some of LYN House’s greatest work has actually come through building relationships that last years.
“Even if people disappear off the fringes,” Heidi said, “They come back and seek us out again.” Someone might come to the ministry for job development help, leave the program, then check back in when they’ve gone back to school or find a job. Heidi said it’s important that people know that LYN House is a place they can come back to, whether they want to celebrate or seek more help.
Heidi shared about one family who first came to LYN House for tutoring about six years ago. Three of the family’s children were enrolled in a year; after they moved out of walking distance, LYN House arranged for someone to pick the children up from their new home every day for tutoring. Heidi said that one of the family’s younger children wanted to be part of LYN House so badly she snuck into the transport van!
Six years in, all the children involved are doing much better in school. An older daughter in the family now works as a tutor when she’s able; a son has helped them start an elementary-age basketball program; the family’s mother even serves on LYN House’s board of directors. The long-term relationships established through tutoring are bearing fruit not only in that family’s life, but also in the lives of others.
Heidi spoke of the patience that LYN House’s model of ministry requires. Building relationships with others takes time and personal initiative; they do a lot of “cultivating” before they see fruit of economic, relational, or spiritual growth grow. They have a big need for committed tutors, and maintaining their job development program taxes their financial and volunteer resources heavily. Because we appreciate the work they’re doing in our Near East community, we’re excited to come alongside them in this Advent season and excited to see how our partnership develops over the years!
For more information about LYN House, check out their website.