3 months in

Happy New Year!
Three months in. Want to know what we are doing?
We have spent the last several months getting settled in and starting to figure out our roles in this new community. Since being here, we’ve experienced a Hmong funeral that lasts 4 days, a training for Meter Readers on dog safety, met a man who has just been released from prison after 18 years & is struggling to find employment, attended a seminar given by a Jewish scholar about interfaith dialogue & how we can better listen & understand each other (even when we have opposing views), written some reflections, explored our new neighborhood, helped drill a well, walked around the community around the church, helped out in the food pantry, helped host 20/30, and met so many interesting people.
One of the requirements of this program is that we each have a project that we are instrumental in developing. Something that will enhance or expand what the church is already doing, and something that will be sustainable after we leave. As we look to next year we will begin really focusing on our projects.
Beth:
I will be developing a café in the lobby area of Garnett Church of Christ.The idea is to create an environment that allows people from all walks of life to come and inhabit the same space for a little while and to interact with each other. The lobby is one of the most under-utilized spaces inside the building, is centrally located, and is easily accessible from all the areas of the building. Some specifics are to provide coffee, sandwiches, snacks, juice, Internet and a comfortable environment. The main purpose underlying the whole idea of the Event Center in the first place is to open up the building and interact with the community. God continues to bring people to the front doors of the church (either through church things, or event center things.) The dream is that by creating a space that is inviting and accessible relationships can continue to develop here. You can read more about the vision for Cafe Mosaic on this blog post.
Ben:
I will be spending my time learning and documenting the stories of the people that are in the community around the church. The plan is to use audio and pictures to try and convey something about the lives of people…there joys, struggles, and dreams. Honestly I’m not sure what will come of this. I really just want to learn about people,to learn about their lives, and perhaps give them a voice…a chance to just say who they are. This is going to be a stretch for me. I don’t have a lot of experience interviewing people, asking probing questions…stuff like that…so I’m actually a bit nervous about the whole thing. Despite that, I am excited to get to learn how to tell stories well and to get to hear the stories of this community. This is a great chance to get to just learn and experiment with something that i have been interested in for a long time. There is a bit more info on this blog post.

We are both excited about our projects. They are unique and each of them have aspects that are challenging to us. They both involve meeting with lots of people and getting to know lots of people, and that can be intimidating for us. Maybe we sound a little crazy for continuing to say that we are excited by being challenged. But the truth is that while being stretched and challenged in these ways is not always easy for us, we know that they will help us experience more of this life that we’ve been called to: to love all.

In the coming months we will also continue to meet with and help develop a group of 20-somethings called “20/30.” It’s been fun to meet with others our age who are also interested in real, authentic community. We are challenged to figure out how to really develop that with a group of people that don’t really know each other, and it has been a blessing already to see the ways God brings people to this group, and the relationships that are already forming.
We have been honored and blessed by the financial support we’ve raised so far. It truly allows us to do what we’re doing right now and we are well-taken care of, both physically and emotionally here. We haven’t raised the full amount of support that we are able to though, and we have had some unanticipated costs come up recently (like fixing our car after someone hit it in the parking lot & didn’t leave a note). If you’re interested in supporting us, just send us a quick note & we can give you the details.
The past 3 months have gone by so quickly. And we’re sure that the next 7 will pass just as quickly. We trust that they will be just as full of community, growth and learning that the first 3 have!

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