Still At It

It has been a while since I have written. I’ve started a few posts without finishing them for one reason or another.  I have come to enjoy writing and when I don’t have anything to say that seems profound, I have a hard time being motivated. Also things have just been insanely busy. Realizing that this is a blog to update you on the status of The Field’s Edge and not an essay contest, my apologies for the lack of information and thank you all for checking on me personally.

We had several friends from Midland attend the Symposium for Goodness Sake last month at Community First Village in Austin. They had the chance to experience community life and learn about the model we aim to replicate here in Midland. We had a little debrief session and I was elated to see how fired up they were about it. Energy continues to build behind our project and more and more people are coming alongside us each day. It is truly amazing to think about all that has happened over the past year. God has been very good to us.

Each day after my breakfast run, I get to the office and write down a checklist for things I need to get done. I have yet to actually finish one of the checklists, which sometimes gets discouraging for me. There is so much work to be done and I feel completely inadequate to do it. A lot of what I am working on right now is new to me and my inexperience in budgeting for large projects, fundraising, and other things is stressing me out. I have to keep reminding myself that God truly has done everything up to this point and He will continue to do so. I am just along for the ride. Nonetheless, I often have a hard time turning my mind off because I am either thinking about my homeless friends individually, or planning in some capacity. God knew I needed Briana to keep me sane and grounded and He blessed me with a family to lead so that I will remember that my identity does not lie in my work.

Surprise selfie! Our friend CJ who lives in his car has been volunteering with us.    

Surprise selfie! Our friend CJ who lives in his car has been volunteering with us. 


I had another procedure on my back last week and so far I think it is helping. I am really looking forward to having some relief from the pain I’ve been in and get back to doing things I love, like backpacking. The slew of emotions and situations we’ve experienced this year has been dizzying but the Lord has sustained us and it has been a season of tremendous growth. Every time we think we are going to get a breather, something else comes up and we just look at each other and buckle up for the ride. None of this would be possible without Briana. She is the real power behind the throne and I would be a blubbering mess without her ministry to our family.

We had a mini vacation this past weekend at Community First Village. The annual Village of Lights was so spectacular, but more than that we got to remember what home feels like. This year has been hard—upheaval and constant transition. God removed some parts of our lives that seemed to be permanent, only to emphasize that He is the only real constant. We’ve done our best to establish a sense of roots and permanency but its still hard when deep down we know that we are in a temporary season. Driving back in to Community First we saw the same old characters in their places doing the same things. It is an ever-growing place, but there was a familiar sense there. We were home again. As a Christian, I believe that we are all ever longing for that perfect home like Adam and Eve had in the Garden of Eden, and I feel that longing more now than ever. It was such a welcome taste of home. There was an abundance of hugs and catching up. I feel refreshed and ready to continue in the pursuit of home in Midland.

We have some really big ideas for next year and are hoping to really get to work in the core of our mission. One thing I am hoping to do is find a small piece of land in town to have a community garden, workshop for our microenterprises, and a place to display our tiny house model. This will enable us to begin empowering our homeless friends to earn dignified incomes all while connecting our community heart-to-heart with the homeless. It will also serve as a visual model for what our village will be like. This is something I literally thought of like 10 minutes ago so I have no official plans to make this a reality but Lord willing, we will pull it off.

We are continuing to pursue the closing on our land donation. I should know this since I was in the land game in my previous life, but land deals are complicated and happen a lot slower than it seems they should sometimes. There are bumps and hiccups along the way and always the possibility of it totally falling apart. I had hoped that we would have a deed in hand by now, but there have been some setbacks. Again, Lord willing, we will officially have our land early next year and we can really get going. We have an updated cost estimate from our architects and are ready to begin our capital campaign. Fundraising freaks me out and I am praying for someone with that kind of experience to come along and help us, and also a CPA. Please join us in praying for the right people to join us in our mission along with the following requests:

·      The right land at the right time.

·      Community garden idea.

·      Friends who are suffering both on the street and otherwise.

·      Perseverance in this stressful season of life.

·      Future missional community members.

·      Future board members.

John-Mark EcholsComment