Friday, July 13, 2012

Location, Location, Location!

It's taken me about a week to figure out exactly where I live now. I mean, I know my address, and the immediate surrounding streets, but when asked the basic-yet-surprisingly-profound question: "Where do you live?" I have responded with hums and sighs and a lot of muttering. Am I an east- or west-sider? What am I close to? Am I south or north of downtown? Which of the three rivers am I near? Our poor neighbor, Joe, has tried to patiently explain it to me, but from his very male-minded perspective, and I am incurably female-minded. So... Main Street is over there... and... somehow if you can get there, it will take you to our neighborhood.

I finally decided to look at a map. And guess where I am? Right in the middle! Yes, I live in Central Fort Wayne now. I am a mile from the heart of downtown, and am within a short walking distance of the confluence of all three rivers: St. Joseph is to the north, Maumee is to the south, St. Mary is to the west, and they all collide in a lovely greenish-brown spot close by. I have figured out the major roads that are nearby, and which way they go, so now I am pretty sure - pretty sure - I can tell anyone from any part of the city how to get to my house!

Being in the middle is a good place to be if you are wanting to be available and accessible to the community... which I am! And as I put this under a spiritual lens, I think about how much I want to be in the center of God's will too. And I realize that it takes some initiative to get there... God is the one who moves me there, but I have to be willing to be moved. I don't want to be on the fringe, doing the minimum and therefore receiving the minimum blessings. I can't expect to live fully if I just tiptoe around the edge of his plan like a swimming pool, looking in and wondering if it is safe or worth it... I have to jump in with both feet and trust that his promise is true - his plans are good and his will is higher, greater, more wonderful than anything. Lord, take me deeper - further up and further in - until I am dwelling in the center of your will.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 3: The Organic Life

How many mangos does it take to satisfy three African girls? Well, I don't know, but it's more than three... All I know is that buying a bunch of inexpensive fresh fruit and inviting these girls over was a good idea! We still don't have chairs or tables in our house, and no internet, but I'm beginning to realize that isn't such a bad thing. They like sitting or sprawling on the carpet, with a handful of mango, watermelon, and banana, just talking and laughing and sharing truth, love, and life. These are precious moments to me.

I realized this morning that this week I have been happier and more light-hearted than I've been in weeks. I am loving this spontaneous life - being around the neighborhood and available, sparking up conversations on the sidewalks, praying for and picking up kids and bringing them to the house whenever they come to mind. There's a lot of freedom, fullness, and fulfillment in that.

Today's Psalm was 98, and the command for the day was to sing, shout, exalt, and praise the name of the Lord! So... on Day 4 of our new and exciting and organic life, we will obey and see what marvelous things come of it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Day 1: The Organic Life

Hannah and I are moved into our new house now, and this week Moriah and Richard are visiting us from North Carolina. Richard was with our mission team that came up last year, when every day of the week was planned and structured to pack as much work in as possible. This trip is a little different...

Yesterday morning, our little family had Bible study together and were reading Psalm 92, where it says we will proclaim the love of the Lord in the morning and his faithfulness at night. The more I ponder this concept of beginning "organic ministry," the more this verse seems to make sense... what better way to serve the ministry of the gospel than by sharing His love and faithfulness all day and night? We began our morning with no idea what the day might bring, but our skin tingled and our hearts skipped with the excitement of anticipation. We prayed together that we would be ready and eager to serve the Lord, no matter where we ended up or who we encountered, and that He would keep our eyes and ears wide open to the opportunities he gives us... may our lives bring glory to Him, and may people know more of his love and faithfulness.

We decided to take a walk in the afternoon, and just see where it took us. We invited our friend and neighbor, Todd, to join us, and he suggested we invite some of our teenage friends along too. Two of the guys came with us and we followed the sidewalk about a mile or more into downtown Fort Wayne, played in Headwater Park a while and met some homeless people who were in search of a cool and quiet place to rest; we walked over the new Dr. MLK Jr. Memorial bridge and read his quotes about love and hate, peace and life; we swung from the rafters under that same bridge and potentially scared some passing cyclists and runners in the process; we watched the kids at the skate park in awe and explored the Fort and decided the fastest way home was by canoeing down the river. Then we walked home and enjoyed freeze pops, Cheerwine pop, and potato chips, and speculated about the neighbor who lived at the big creepy house across the street with the cat in the upstairs window, and then went over to meet him. It was a fun, impulsive, adventurous day, to say the least! By just wandering, observing, and striking up conversations, we got a good feel for our new community and how we can pray and serve and love here.

We will continue to live out and proclaim God's love and faithfulness all day and night, and see what exciting things He will do with it!