Mika Exists to build whole relationships IN COSTA MESA
We believe that “poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings. ”(Walking with the Poor, Bryant Myers)
Economic disparities are clearly present in our target neighborhoods but there is also a breakdown in relationships that we believe contributes to the systemic poverty present in our city. These relationships are the ones we have with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation. These broken relationships help explain why many of the problems associated with low-income neighborhoods like violence, distrust of authorities, drug use, high school drop-out rates, teen pregnancies and unemployment are perpetual even though services and resources have been present for many years.
This understanding of poverty has shaped the way we choose to respond. When poverty is defined solely in economic terms, solutions tend to be short term fixes to a larger problem and may lead to dependency on social services. The “unspoken assumption is that when the missing things are provided, the poor will no longer be poor” (Myers, 65). Relief-based approaches, which provide temporary aid to reduce immediate suffering, can perpetuate the cycle of poverty that is found in cities across the country. Organizations already exist in our community to provide services that address more basic relief to the poor, so Mika works to build whole relationships through our core strategies of leadership development and community building.
- action – we live out our faith in Jesus Christ by being doers of God’s Word. James 1:22, James 2:14, Colossians 3:23
- justice – we seek to promote justice as a marker of God’s Kingdom and a reflection of His character. Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 65:17-25
- love – we obey Christ’s command to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Matthew 22:37-39, Colossians 3:12-14
- mercy – we are people who display mercy, grace, and compassion. Luke 10:25-37
- relationships – we believe we were created to live in community. We seek to connect with neighbors, community partners, and the Body of Christ in reconciling personal relationships. II Corinthians 5:18-20
- humility – we know that any success we achieve is a result of God’s work in us and through us in collaboration with our partners. Philippians 2:1-4
- knowing God – we seek to know God in ever deeper ways, believing we are most effective when we are guided by His Spirit and Word. Ephesians 3:16-19, Philippians 3:7-11
In 2003, four people from various local churches and community organizations came together around a single question: what can be done to address the social issues of Costa Mesa in a way that might truly transform the city? These four—Mark Orphan, Laura Johnson, Lindsy Harris and Crissy Brooks—began looking to community development models around the U.S. and the rest of the world, and eventually articulated a vision for change. This vision was grounded in the belief that the neighbors within low-income communities have ideas and assets that can be leveraged to make a positive impact. From this vision, Mika Community Development Corporation was born. Faithful to its founding verse, Micah 6:8, the Mika team committed to connecting neighbors and churches to opportunities to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.
In January 2004, a small team was launched in the Shalimar neighborhood to carry out the Mika vision. Since that time, the Mika team has started 5 Neighborhood Action Committees in Costa Mesa and is currently working with three: Center, Maple, and Shalimar.