Saturday, September 14, 2013

Entering In and Venturing Out

I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.
-Henri Nouwen

It's beginning to sink in that I will be 


with six people I didn't know before two weeks ago, people I barely know even now but whom I will get to know intimately by this time next year. 

I joined Mission Year because I want to live and love intentionally, and I wasn't sure what that looked like. 
I'm starting to get an idea. 

It looks like late nights sitting up talking between bunk beds. 
It looks like talking through logistics of entering into our neighborhood as God's fellow workers.
It looks like laughing in the dining room.
It looks like crying on the couches in the living room because we're too exhausted to find the words we want to say.

It looks like meeting people where they are at, regardless of where I am at. 

It's becoming aware of a whole lot of ideas, traits, habits, philosophies I want to cling to, and holding them with an open palm. 
It's holding back when I want to jump in.
It's jumping in when I want to hold back. 
It's discerning. 

My team is beautiful and diverse. And we will work through it all. 

I wish I had more words to tell you, a better way to describe what I've experienced in just the past week alone, but words seem so inadequate right now. My head is still swimming and my thoughts are trying to find solid ground. 

The word of the month is VULNERABLE. There is strength in vulnerability. I'm maneuvering my way around the word. 

We have a tight schedule during our time in Mission Year. Each day is full from morning til evening: family (team) devotions, work at our volunteer sites, family meetings, curriculum, getting to know our neighbors, doing laundry at the washateria (that's it's actual name) across the street, making family meals and also reaching out to invite our neighbors into our homes for meals and fellowship, city wide meetings with the other two teams here in Houston, and other sporadic events as time goes on. 

This is the entire city-wide team of Houston. We are split into three smaller house teams.

The six people I didn't know before last week are my family. Even if I don't feel that way now, I know they are my family for the next year and will be treating them as such. We've already experienced that we will need a lot of grace with one another. I know my tendencies that upset and bewilder others, and I consistently need grace from those who do not function in the same way I do, and vice versa. We're learning. 

Tomorrow we will be visiting our new church for the first time and looking for ways we can get involved. We begin our volunteer jobs the week after. 

IMPORTANT: Starting today, we as a team/family are on a strict technology fast. No phones, computers, ipods, wifi, etc. Nothing. Fridays are our Sabbaths, so we can use technology ONLY on Fridays. So, if you are emailing, texting, or calling me and wondering why I'm not responding, it's because of the fast. 

The purpose of the fast is for us to recognize our relationship with technology and what impact that has on our face to face relationships. We are choosing to give up technology so we can build deep relationships with our housemates, our immediate neighbors, and our city, without leaning on technology. For example: if I had my smart phone and I was lost, I may be tempted to simply goooglemap my location and figure out where I'm going. If I don't have that technology available, I will have to ask a neighbor or someone nearby who seems to know the area. 

It will be an intense six weeks for sure! 

Here's a neat picture of all the team members who are spread out across America, doing exactly what I'm doing in Mission Year: living and loving intentionally. 

Here are the states we are representing here in Houston: 

I appreciate your prayers for both me and my housemates as we begin this journey. Please pray for grace, for God to move powerfully within all of us, and for love to win in our neighborhoods, in Houston, and in our own hearts. 

If you'd like to partner with me in this journey, walking with me as I venture through Houston's Fifth Ward, loving God and people, you can donate to my journey by clicking the "Donate Now" button on the side of the blog. Thanks for your love! 

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