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In Uncategorized on August 9, 2010 at 8:50 pm

A few Sundays ago our church had our monthly picnic in Shady Hill, one of the many trailer parks along the Jeff Davis corridor. Phil and I have been to many a picnic, but there was something new about it this time though- We were late in arriving (not new or unusual), but we actually walked to get there this time instead of driving. This was possible because Phil and I now live two blocks from Shady Hill. I feel incredibly blessed and excited to be living in our new home, because it is the part of a dream that has been on Phil and I’s heart for a couple of years now. We did not want to just “do” ministry in the poor parts of our community. We wanted to live in the community. We wanted our Shady Hill friends to be our neighbors. In the short time we have been here, it has already been eye-opening. I now hear the gunshots (or other random, loud, and sometimes frightening noises) too. I drive home and have to take side streets because three cop cars are blocking my street as they make their arrests.

Cops, violence, and gun shots aside I have to say that I feel safe in our new home. While I am close to Shady Hill, and sometimes the deals are going down on the end of my street, our home’s location is actually quite peaceful. When we go for jogs through the neighborhood (aka our street and the one right next to it) we run past old homes and under trees that stretch up a hundred plus feet above us…reminding us that this story is much older than Phil or I. God has been in this neighborhood for a long time, even though many feel he/she abandoned it. As we run under the trees I get the sense that Phil and I are here in part to celebrate, and point out all the ways that God is still here.

Slowly, very slowing we have begun meeting a few neighbors. Other neighbors seem to be going out of their way to not meet us, but we have plenty of time. We plan on spending time, and putting down roots. As Phil and I spent Saturday outside pulling up weeds and planting a blackberry bush we talked about our dreams for our new, huge, backyard. We have so much we want to do (a family garden, a community garden, a labyrinth…) and at one point I questioned Phil whether it was worth it investing so much in a place we are simply renting. As I walked around the yard though God reminded me that it is our calling as Christians to invest wherever we are, because really we are all renting in the larger sense. We are to sweat, sacrifice, and dream even if we do not see any of it come to fruition, because we are called to be faithful in all we do. And so we will plant blackberry and blueberry bushes, flowers, and vegetables. We will gather stones to create a labyrinth. We will invite our neighbors over to play cornhole or simply sit on the porch and talk.  We will invest and hope that if and when we leave this place, we will have left it in a better state. Either way I know that our investment will leave Phil and I in a better place.

If you are in the neighborhood you should stop by. We have a great, GREAT porch for hanging out. And you will not have to see our bed from the living room couch anymore, which seemed to make some of you think twice about hanging out with us. Haha!

Love and peace and many prayers go out to you my friends…and to the people of this world. We all need it.

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