On a monthly basis, I am fortunate to share life with a wide range of individuals who are doing spectacular things in their world. Often, I leave these “let’s catch up” meetings filled with inspiration and a renewed perspective that shapes the way I view myself, the world, and the work that I am doing in the world. One of the great people I have the chance to share life with is my yoga teacher, Stefanie Tovar.
Stefanie is a gift that is shining her bright light in Texas, offering therapeutic, self-loving yoga practices while bringing peace to the hearts of her clients with her melodic bhakti voice and music. Her gifts and leadership transcend off the mat and stage and into the community. In the spring of 2017, Stefanie founded a 501c3 non-profit organization called Hanuman Homies. Since then, along with many projects, her organization has been securing funding and staff to provide weekly yoga at Jonathan’s Place, a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides a safe and loving home to children who have been victims of abuse, abandonment, and/or neglect. 
As I recently connected with my yoga teacher and friend, she shared many things that she was learning while on this journey. As she has partnered with people and organizations, she has begun to realize that many good-hearted individuals are entering into communities having pity on the people they are serving. They have an approach like, “How can we help them on their quest to restore a sense of self-dignity?” Stefanie believes that as we enter into these spaces, we enter as students. Though we may enter into these spaces seeking to provide healing, it is we ourselves who find healing. The point then is for us—those who have a heart to “save” those who are in unfortunate situations—to allow the community itself to save us.
As I ponder the words Stefanie shared with me, I’m reminded of one of the attributes that I love about the local church. The local church has a heart to be immersed and a part of her local community. I enjoy witnessing, participating with, and being informed of the sacrificial work churches are doing all over the world. The church, in spite of all of her criticism, is in fact the light of the world. If the church is going to be relevant and a part of the societal transformation, she must be informed and shaped by her local community while being anchored in the truth. While the church continues to exist in this ever-changing society, may the church be reshaped, resolved and re-“saved” by this generation. May our approach be to enter into these beautiful spaces for the sake of living among our friends in order for of us to grow and be saved together.