Hey Family and Friends –
I hope this update finds you well as the temperature changes and we slip into another colorful Fall. I’m still trying to figure out when all of that will happen here in Miami. It is true that the super hot days are fewer, but the temperature stills seems to linger around 80 degrees on a regular basis. So much has been happening in this past month, I’m working on being concise and to the point, so please let me know if my update is too long.
Moving Day … Uhhh … Month: When Elaina and I arrived here in Miami at the end of August, we camped in the living room of our friends Laurie, Luana, Grace, and Tatiana. For a house with six ladies and one bathroom, there was much less bathroom drama then you would expect. They were really great about having us. By the middle of our second week here, we were able to secure a place to live. For a couple of weeks we also camped in the living room of our new place because our belongings hadn’t arrived yet. Elaina’s family arrived late one evening with a trailer full of our stuff that had been stored in Virginia for the past two months. So many friends came out in the middle of the night to help us unload. Thank you to all who showed us much love in this whole transition!
We are now proud renters of a cute little yellow “shotgun” house on a corner. The house is very quaint (or small), but we both love it. My favorite is our front porch. I learned the joy of a porch while I lived in Chicago in an apartment that had no porch (I know, it’s ironic). My friend/roommate, Heidi, and I would pull our chairs up to the floor-to-ceiling length windows of our 11th floor apartment to create our “porch”. We would invite friends to sit on our “porch” to chat, have coffee/tea, eat, read, pray, cry, people watch, etc. So many memorable friendship and God moments happened on our “porch”. I’m looking forward to seeing how God will use this new porch. If you want to see just how cute our little house is, you can check it out on Google maps by typing in our address: 3593 Franklin Avenue, Miami, FL 33133 (select street view).
The Grove – Where I Live: In a fit of frustration at the thought of spreading cream cheese with my finger (again), I ran over to the Urban Resurrection office on a Sunday morning before church to grab a few pieces of plastic flatware. At this point, our belongings had not arrived from Virginia. The mission was to run into the office, run back home, eat a quick breakfast, and make it to church just a few minutes late; however, God had other plans. I was struggling with the lock on the office door when I heard a voice behind me. It was my new friend and neighbor. She had seen me from the window of her house and came outside. I quickly rushed over to greet her with a hug, and before we could release our embrace good, she began to pour out the details of her despair and thoughts of suicide: she lives with her mom in an overcrowded house because she works a low paying job trying to get back on her feet while her husband completes a residential drug rehabilitation program on the other side of town. She is a believer with great faith, but even we can despair in a moment of hopelessness under such heavy burdens. The tears streamed down her face as we went inside to talk. We talked for quite a while then Elaina arrived at the office worried that I had never made it back home. Given that we had all missed church by this time, the three of us decided to have “church” right where we were. We sang, we prayed, and we studied the Word. In the end we all left feeling encouraged: my neighbor and I established a strategic plan for seeking other employment for her and she told me of a church that she thought I would enjoy going to (I had expressed that I was looking for a church).
In the short time that I have been here in the Grove, God has shown me in so many different ways the value of living where I serve Him. From theological conversation with my new little brother on my front porch to a late night Grove history lesson on the corner with a neighbor to introduction into the neighborhood network by a single mom of fifteen, it is clear that “location, location, location” really does matter when it comes to lasting community development. These encounters can’t be neatly scheduled into the calendar of a commuting worker.
Praise the Lord for AmeriCorps: Michael (ED for Urban Resurrection) was able to secure a full-time AmeriCorps position for URez which I have been able to fit into. For this next year with AmeriCorps, I will essentially be completing many of the same tasks that I would be doing anyway with URez. You guessed it, I get to do what I do best … work closely with my neighbors. With a monthly stipend, health insurance, and an educational grant, AmeriCorps is a big help financially. In order to fully benefit from this opportunity, there is a $4000 fee that needs to be raised. Please pray that God will provide for this fee because neither I nor URez have $4000 sitting around waiting to be spent.
God Continues to Provide: The past month was incredibly tight financially, but God used many friends and family to get the necessities paid (i.e. rent and food). Thank you all for your support. Just a brief financial report: I am currently at 5.2% committed monthly support without the AmeriCorps stipend and 37.2% with the AmeriCorps stipend. If you are able to commit to monthly partnership and financial support, here are some options:
10 people commit to $50/mo
25 people commit to $25/mo
30 people commit to $15/mo
22 people commit to $10/mo
Finances are tight for each member of our team at Urban Resurrection and for the ministry as a whole. One way that you can support the ministry without even leaving your computer is by using an online search engine called “Good Search”. You simply go to the Good Search website (www.goodsearch.com) and enter “Urban Resurrection” in the “Who do you search for” field. From there, whenever you use Good Search to look up anything on the Internet, Good Search will make a donation to Urban Resurrection. You can even check to see how much donation has been accumulated by clicking on the button labeled “amount raised”. I have made Good Search my home page so that everything that I search counts and you could do the same!
Prayer and Wishes: Thank you all so much for all the prayer support that you have sent my way. Please continue to pray for me and our entire team here in Miami. Here are a few specific requests:
2. wisdom in restructuring youth outreach
3. that I would develop a rhythm so that my time is most productive
4. that God would show me how to use my gifts and strengths most effectively
5. the God would provide opportunities to go deeper in relationships with neighbors
A friend of mine suggested that it would be a good idea for me to develop a wish list to share with friends and family. The items on the list are simply things that are hard to afford right now. For those who are interested:
power cord for my laptop
electric hot pot
bicycle tire pump
IKEA gift card
In Conclusion: Thank you so much for taking the time to read yet another long e-mail from me. Grace and peace to you, love and blessings too!!!
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” — Jeremiah 29:11