Restoration Outreach Programs (ROP) is an important and valuable presence on the east side of our city. They have been building relationships with those in the east Colfax neighborhoods for eight years. Their focus is on the neighbors; to love them, just as Jesus commanded.
“I was pushed out of my comfort zone, but that is necessary for growth,” said Evy. This semester two DUS students, Evy and Chloe, stepped outside their comfort zones and encountered God in new ways. ROP equips interns to be leaders not only at ROP, but wherever life leads them next. Evy stated, “All the staff was so welcoming of me and was so eager to teach me the ropes.” Interns gain a wide range of experiences-everything from food bank distribution to ESL classes. Our interns are interacting with people of varying ethnicities, cultures, languages and socio-economic statuses. It’s an experience that is sure to shift worldviews.
The diverse community at Restoration Outreach makes it a unique place in our city. There are individuals from Nepal, Burma, Bhutan and various other countries. The refugees are provided with not only friendship at ROP, but with tangible resources such as a food and classes. Each week there are numerous ESL classes. ROP operates on a model with the mindset of “if you invest, we will invest”, thus individuals pay $1 per class. It isn’t much, but it provides a sense of ownership and participation in the learning process. In addition, ROP is culturally sensitive. Their refugee families who come in for food may have dietary restrictions. ROP is careful to separate foods with meat and the like in order to provide foods to fit all needs.
Our students usually can say it best when it comes to the experience that they have had. The following is a reflection from Chloe:
“Rarely has God shown Himself more to me than during my time at ROP. It is an organization with many hats and many missions. Whether it be through the food bank volunteers, the GED teachers, or the youth group leaders, it is evident the Holy Spirit is present in this ministry, and in those that serve within it. After my first week, I was filled with immense gratitude that God had allowed me to work there, no matter how small of a role I was to play.
When I am home in Texas, the people I encounter typically have a similar background, and embrace the same lifestyle that I do. Through ROP, I have been able to meet people from places like Congo, Thailand, Myanmar, Ecuador, Nepal, and Ethiopia. People from every end of the spectrum.
One of our Denver Urban Semester leaders consistently reminds us to “have the heart of God and the eyes of Jesus.” Restoration Outreach Programs gave me the chance to put these words into action. As an intern there, I have learned the value of seeing and of listening. I have witnessed the power of loving and of teaching.”
All in all, DUS is grateful for partners like ROP who share similar visions for the city; to see the kingdom come. Restoration Outreach Programs is a gift to our city and to the students who are able to experience their programs throughout their semester in Denver.