Rod Dreher

You’ve really got to read this amazing story about Melissa Hill of West Dallas. I wrote about her husband Trey a couple of years ago, and how he (and she) had given up a life of privilege to go live in the poor part of Dallas, and minister to kids there. In today’s Dallas Morning News, writer Nancy Churnin explores an amazing gift Melissa (and Trey) has given to two inner-city teenagers. Here’s how it starts:

Darius and Deandre Jones call her MaMelissa and Stepmom and Lady M.
Different words but one feeling: love for Melissa Hill, the quietly busy woman who, along with her husband, Trey, is raising four children along with these teen brothers. With the consent of their biological parents, the brothers moved to the Hills’ home in West Dallas. They left behind a crowded apartment where seven people, including their older brother’s two kids, had squeezed into one bedroom.
The arrangement with the Hills was supposed to last two weeks.
Two and half years later, they’re still there and thriving.
“With all that commotion … I felt I wasn’t going to make it” at his old home, Deandre, 19, says softly in the Hills’ cozy living room, while Melissa is starting dinner in the kitchen. “She is a great mom. I feel I’m on the right road now. Here I can focus on school. I’m going to meet my goals. I believe in myself now. I know I can do it.”
“And I’m out of trouble,” says Darius, 16. “It seems natural to me.”
The journey of Melissa Hill from an upscale suburban life to a struggling area of West Dallas with a multiracial family – she is white, the Jones brothers are black – is not one that she expected. It’s also one she doesn’t regret.
“I look at different directions our lives could have gone that would have been easier,” Melissa says, sitting by Trey at their kitchen table. “We were in Lake Highlands, where I knew all the neighbors and my kids could play outside. We could have volunteered here and there a little bit.
“Here so many things are not comfortable. And yet here I’ve found my greatest joy. You find there’s so much more to life than the little life you had in mind. … In pouring out your life, you benefit.”

Read the whole thing. You also might want to visit Melissa Hill’s blog. These Hills are the real deal, Christians who don’t just talk the talk. One of my great regrets is that I didn’t get to know them better when we lived in Dallas.

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