Aliquippa Impact: A Tangible Presence
Before coming to Aliquippa, John Jordan, a cohort leader with Aliquippa Impact, spent the beginning half of his life in Atlanta, Georgia and Texas. He is the son of a Baptist preacher, but says he does not fit the mold of a pastor’s rebellious son. He comments, “In reality, I was probably more like a goody-two shoes. I was always in church, not really ever in trouble.” Growing up, he enjoyed playing sports, playing the guitar, and leading worship in youth group.
He attended Toccoa Falls College where he met Joel Repic. It was through their friendship that Jordan became connected with Aliquippa Impact. Repic started Aliquippa Impact’s summer day camp after his junior year of college; it was during its second summer of operation that Jordan served as a day camp staff member.
After graduation, John Jordan began dating Gao Foua and married her a year later. While contemplating what direction to take, the couple submitted resumes to various parts of the country, including Aliquippa. Jordan says, “God basically closed all our doors except for one, Aliquippa, where we both had jobs lined up before we got married.” They moved to Aliquippa in the fall of 2007.
Over the past six years at AI, Jordan has ministered to a group of boys that he calls “the Brotherhood.” He has known these guys since the early years of the day camp program, when they were in 4th and 5th grade. Now they are in their senior year of high school. He comments, “The program with these boys has changed and morphed over the years, but the main constant has been our regular involvement in their lives. After 6 or 7 years of this, we have built some pretty steady relationships with these guys over the years by continuing to be there for them.”
One aspect of Aliquippa Impact that Jordan values is its emphasis on relationships. He believes that it is an important quality in inner city work. Many people who serve the people in this city also have relocated to the community. He points out, “Jesus modeled this incarnational ministry in coming to earth to be one of us. When we move into the city, we are uniting with the people of our city, so that we share in some of the same issues that the people we are serving deal with on a regular basis.” AI is a tangible representation of God’s love. He says, “I believe very strongly that AI is a very tangible example of God’s special compassion for the left out and the left behind. I believe that it’s hard to read the Bible and ignore that God has a desire to reach down and show a special kind of favor and love to those who the world has forgotten. I believe that AI joins God in this work in a very meaningful way.”
There are also tangible results that come from ministering to others. Because of his interaction with youth in Aliquippa, Jordan is able to see some of these outcomes. He says, “I have seen people’s lives opened up to the love of Jesus by the consistent and patient presence of the people of AI and its programs. I have seen people come to follow Jesus. I have seen trust grow between the community and the programs of AI. We have built relationships with those in the school and are being welcomed with open arms by people because they see that we are a consistent, positive presence in the lives of our students.”
Jordan is also currently helping to renovate a building on Aliquippa’s main business avenue that will eventually become a bookstore. He says, “Through this business, we hope to provide another positive place on the avenue for people to gather, and to create opportunities for employment and job training.”