Community First Village: Week 8

Whirlwind: the only word I can think to describe this week. As I write, I am propped up in our bed in the RV, sore from the drive from Midland, and trying not to fall asleep. I am doing my best to post consistently on Tuesdays so bare with me if this one isn’t quite up to par.

Last Tuesday after serve duty, we loaded up in the car and drove back to Midland to move out of our home; the home we built together as newlyweds and the home where Truma spent the first year of her life. We stopped by Cooper’s in Llano for some moist (fatty) brisket and headed back home. When we built the house, we figured we would probably spend at least ten years there, but we were just a little off.

Our original plan was to buy several acres, build our forever home complete with animals and a garden; we thought were going to live there for the rest of our lives. Providentially, that plan fell through before we broke ground and the Lord saved us from fulfilling the parable of the rich fool from Luke 12:13-20. We sold that land and made plans to build what we considered at the time to be a starter home. At this point we do not envision ever living in anything more than 800 square feet which would feel like a mansion coming from our current travel trailer.

We have some wonderful memories from that house on San Clemente Dr. and the Lord did a massive overhaul of our hearts there. Our first few years of marriage in that house were wonderful and we will be forever grateful for the time we had there. We pray that it will be a place that glorifies God though the lives of the family that will be moving in next month; that it will be a warm place of community and love for them.

The process of downsizing by approximately 90% is not quick or painless by any means but the end definitely justifies the means. We have gone through periods of despair at the amount of stuff we had to sell, donate, or store, and how we ever accumulated it in the few short years we lived there. For me, those times were often followed by guilt that I was being ungrateful for the blessing that house had been for us. Now that we are officially moved out with the gracious help of our family and friends, we can look back at a wonderful chapter of our lives that was not at all what we expected but much better. We have learned a lot through this experience and the Lord is using those lessons to set us on a different course, His course.

Aside from the move-out, God has been doing big things in our lives this week. We had several meetings pertaining to our return to Midland and the startup of The Field’s Edge. There were some things that happened that were far too wild to be coincidence. Several times, Briana and I were simultaneously laughing and crying tears of joy with our jaws on the floor as we caught glimpses of the tapestry God is weaving. I will detail these events later when the concepts begin to become realities. I can’t wait to share with you soon. In the meantime, know that God is at work and we are so grateful to have you keeping up with us and praying for His will to be done in His timing.

The time we got to spend with our family and friends in Midland was so refreshing even though we only got to spend time with them in between packing boxes and trips to the storage unit. We are truly blessed with a family that loves us unconditionally and supports us in this calling. We also got to go to supper with our Sunday School class on Thursday. We have walked through a lot together as a class and some of our deepest relationships have developed as a result. 

When I think about it, I find it a little humorous that we are on mission to learn about homemaking and intentional community in a temporary setting away from our home. I guess that’s how God works sometimes, outside the bounds of what makes sense to us shortsighted humans. He is at work here too, and we are so grateful for our time here. We have been too busy here to be homesick much, but being back home this week, I will admit that it was hard to leave. We are excited for what the next two months hold here at Community First, but deep down we are looking forward to home.

Our time here at the village has been so fruitful. Our hearts have changed and grown and we have made lifelong friends, but our calling is to our friends on the streets of Midland. The first 2 months have flown by here and we know that it is going to be very emotional to leave the friends we have made, but we are excited to get to work cultivating home for our people in Midland.

These feelings were especially amplified when we reunited with our friend Walker on Saturday. Walker had been away for over a year due to past indiscretions coupled with present injustice. He is one of the people who shredded stereotypes and completely changed our perceptions of homelessness when we first got involved several years ago. He, like many of our friends on the streets, has struggled through life without much in the way of family. Walker is a faithful Christian and has a powerful witness of glorifying the Lord even in his suffering. I’m sure people wonder what in the world is going on when they a 68 year old black man with us, holding our baby, but he is our brother, and we want him to be our neighbor soon. By the grace of God he has a good stable place to live for the time being and excellent people caring for him.

We also got to see our other dog Gambler on Saturday afternoon. There is a one animal policy at Community First so we could only bring one dog with us. Leaving one at home is hard. Initially we planned to bring Gambler with us because he is kind of a stinker. We figured it would be easier to find someone who would be willing to keep our better-behaved dog Waylon. Then Waylon tore his ACL and needed special attention so he ended up coming with us. We prayed and prayed for a family to watch Gambler while we were gone and in another act of the Lord, I met LeAnne at a Midland Homeless Coalition meeting. She and her husband are committed to caring for veterans and they are true dog people. They have taken fantastic care of Gambler and he loves them so much. It is great to know that he is well cared for but with him at home, we are missing a piece of our family.

I know that not everyone is called to do exactly what we are in the middle of doing right now. God has a unique purpose for creating you and I encourage you to seek that out. If you are a follower of Christ, the process begins with humbling yourself and laying everything at the foot of the cross saying, “I’m yours, use me”. He may call you to be a witness in your current workplace, He may call you to sell everything and be a missionary in Syria, or something in between. Pray those words at your own risk but know that no matter what God calls you to, He is already there and you can trust Him. The process of sanctification and change that He will lead you through won’t be easy, but He will sustain you and bring you right into the middle of His will if you ask Him to. If you are wondering how to begin, I highly recommend listening to this sermon that encapsulates the calling for all Christians to lay everything on the line and trust the Lord. 

If you don’t have a saving relationship with Jesus I pray that the Holy Spirit will break through your hardened heart as He did mine several years ago. I am overjoyed to tell you that my friend and village neighbor Shorty felt the conviction of the Spirit this past weekend at a retreat they did for the men of the village. After 31 years on the streets of Austin and a lifetime apart from God, he now knows the joy of Salvation. Watch the video of his joyous baptism here.

There is a lot going on and we are doing our best to remain in the present and avoid the anxiousness of thinking too far ahead. Join us in trusting that God is in the future, and He knows exactly what He is doing. Thank you for all of your prayers and support. We love you all!

 

Prayer Requests:

·      Shorty’s new walk Christ.

·      Renewed strength to finish strong.

·      Walker as he seeks his calling.

·      Discernment in decision making for our return to Midland and the Field’s Edge.

·      Quick approval of our 501c3 status.