GodtownThe song Mighty to Save reminds us that our Savior “can move the mountains.” He has certainly moved mountains in what is known as the Frogtown neighborhood of St. Paul, Minn.

Frogtown is an inner-city area built around University Avenue in the Thomas-Dale neighborhood. It is home to St. Agnes Catholic Church and school and St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church. Frogtown is an enclave for Vietnamese and Hmong immigrants who, in St. Paul, comprise the largest urban contingent in the U.S.

Unfortunately like many neighborhoods, the area has been caught up in the mortgage crisis, creating blighted homes and attracting gangs and other undesirable activities. But it also opened up opportunities for a new neighbor to come in.

Today a building that used to house a Wicca store (a form of witchcraft) is now the main office of Godtown where Alpha courses and charismatic prayer groups are held. Several homes that used to house drug dealers and demonic activities now house single men and women missionaries (separately) involved in outreach ministry. New homes are being renovated to house families and young women who have come out of human trafficking conditions. And a former Frogtown tavern is now the Safe City Project where young people can come for prayer and programs that keep them out of crime activities and jail. The Godtown initiative also includes an Urban Mission Training Program (UMTP) providing hands-on training to people from around the region and other states, on how to do outreach missions and evangelize the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

And evangelize they do! Led by John Tolo, his wife, Jennifer, and his brother David Tolo, teams of people have prayer-walked a 55-house territory in the Frogtown neighborhood, sprinkling blessed salt and praying for God’s protection and that He would move powerfully in the community.

Godtown has become a safe haven for the young people and families in the area who feel connected to a community that loves them. Many come regularly for prayer and to be involved in the mission work. The Safe City Project is a place where the St. Paul police want to send young people involved in minor crimes to do community service and avoid jail time. The Godtown founders have worked closely with the police department and the City of St. Paul to rejuvenate and renovate the area. The Godtown mission has expanded to assist teenage girls that have been unknowingly caught up in sex trafficking and prostitution. The Twin Cities is ranked #12 in the nation for age 18 and under sex trafficking, and #3 for 12-16-year olds, according to John Tolo.

“This generation is filled with a lack of identity because they’re fatherless. That’s an epidemic issue. If you don’t have an identity with a father, how are you going to have a relationship with God the Father?”

Training for a New Generation

UMTP is one way Godtown is expanding its mission to other communities. The outreach and ministry training program engages participants in daily prayer, active mission work and instruction. It uses the ministry model Jesus used as described in the Gospel of Luke, 9:1-6 and 10:1-24, explained John.

“The UMTP mission is to focus and harness the gifts of young people, groups and leaders that are excited about how they can impact their peers, family and community while learning about Christian ministry and missions,” he said.

The program consistently has between 10 and 30 people in training, and often hosts groups from other regions and states.

The organization is hosting an evangelization immersion week in June for anyone interested in training for outreach ministry to impact their communities and be a testimony to the power of God. Anyone is welcome; registration is required (see sidebar).

“God promised in Isaiah that He was going to reveal himself to every generation. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord is going to raise a standard, a battle flag against him, and He’s going to reveal himself and deliver that generation,” said John. “That is His promise. The opportunity is there; are we going to participate?”

Stated David Tolo, “My desire is to see the ones in this generation rise up to their calling. This is a critical generation with which God is doing something huge. There are some that stand against the tide of evil, and then there are people who don’t even know God. A lot of times where things are darkest, the light shines the brightest.”

For more information contact: info@godtown.org text: John Tolo (651) 231-6021, or visit www.onerally.org.






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