- My Local
- My Reach
- My Self
Melanie Reimer serves in Whittier, California, a beautiful city just southeast of the bustling hub of Los Angeles. The area has a Quaker heritage and is nestled among the trails and hills that read into the Los Angeles basin. Filled with a small-town feel, Whittier’s Hispanic culture, and its high value of family and religious culture, resounds in the city’s culture and ethos. But often religion and church tradition miss the meaning of true relationship with Jesus—and that’s Melanie’s personal heartbeat for this city to experience.
Scripture challenges us to love your neighbor as yourself, and even the religious leaders questioned Christ asking, “Who is our neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-37) So we have a natural inclination to define “local” and identify our “neighbor” in order to focus our energies with intention. But in scripture, we see Jesus being moved by the Spirit to travel to Samaria and find a “neighbor” in the woman at the well, or meet a cripple begging on the street, or even rendezvous with a church leader at night who is wrestling to understand real relationship with God versus religion and tradition. Each one of these individuals was Jesus’s neighbor—location was not the defining factor, but the leading of the Spirit which connected them. So, Melanie’s “local” is guided by wherever the Spirit leads her to see her “neighbor” whether that be a homeless man sitting at the post office, or a woman in an abusive relationship struggling to have the courage to walk out of it, or the kids and family units that run and play in her local park. “Local” is usually in Southern California, but on a broader level, it's wherever the open door of the Spirit is directing. He knows who is seeking Him and how to bring their paths to cross if His people are willing and available to notice.
Even as relational discipleship and outreach are the core strategies of ministry, Melanie’s "local" is defined by the spiritually lost, those in bondage, the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, those in spiritual prison, the broken hearted, the mourning, those with a spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61), and all those who are searching for truth and freedom.
In the rhythms of ministry, there is always a seeding (outreach) and a watering (discipling) cycle to any real spiritual growth. “Seeding” comes through using creative opportunities to develop and build authentic relationships so that the gospel can be shared with our neighbors. But once someone receives Christ, then the discipleship (watering) season must begin since Jesus himself did not charge us to make converts, but disciples, and mature ones. With a deep commitment to discipleship, it’s Melanie’s heart’s desire that those who come to Christ are intentionally discipled and plugged into the local church, so that they mature in Christ, and become disciple-makers who go back out to continue sharing the gospel.
Over the years, God has allowed her to invest in many Spirit-led relationships with young adult women. Seeding the soil with the love of Jesus Christ by intentional listening and care allows her to become His hands and feet in relationship first. As someone receives Christ as Lord, it then transitions into a commitment to journey through life together in discipleship as they learn to surrender their lives to Christ. Many young adults have grown up in environments of unintentional neglect or sometimes intentional abuses, causing strained emotional health and negative coping strategies in their adulthood. Instead of person-to-person connection, non-relational substitutes (video games, internet, sex, addictions, etc.) have proven to be the medicine for aching souls. Transitioning from high school to college can be an even more difficult time in life without a personal sense of confidence or identity, stable family life, or job security established. These young adults are searching for themselves, answers, and intimacy that can only be filled by God and love through a listening ear. Relational discipleship offers that space to be seen, experience the God of love, and unpack the wounds of the past for deeper healing in Christ.
Through partnerships with the local church, there is also additional opportunity to seed the spiritual soil of our city of Whittier through creative art outreaches. Melanie has a personal love of music and art, and believes art is a great way to connect God’s creation to their Creator (because He has designed us to be creative with Him). Blessing the community with free art lessons and activities in the local park to teach through the Bible chronologically is another means for building authentic relationships with the local neighborhood. It allows Melanie to get to know those who live near her on a deeper level. Pray for this opportunity as she seeks the Lord for its development, direction, timing, and teamwork! Through a focus on creative art outreach and relational discipleship, Melanie prays that young adult women, kids, family units, and all those who are lost and seeking for the Truth; would find Christ.
Melanie has served as InFaith field staff since 2012.
After returning to the United States in 2011, Melanie felt God calling her to serve in one of her supporting churches with their college ministry, which lasted for six years. This call has now spread to young adults in Los Angeles county as the Holy Spirit has opened doors for discipleship, inner healing prayer sessions, and sharing the gospel message through authentic relationships. Being a creative person and having a deep love of music and the visual arts, this call shifts and moves with the Spirit’s prompting, because our God is a creative God too. The call also includes new strategies to engage families and children in her local neighborhood through art projects as they explore the chronological storyline of the Bible in partnership with the local church.
Melanie shares, “I have a desire to see young adults, kids, families, and the elderly come to the saving knowledge of Christ. It's my hope that each new believer becomes a true disciple of Christ, who then disciples others along their journey with Jesus. I pray each one will live with a missional focus and priority in every sphere of influence of their life.”